In the modern world, many governments look at the economic value of an aspect of the environment when making policy decisions.
Even some environmentalists share this view to some extent. Their arguments usually center around nature having value to humans,
implying that destroying nature is unwise and against the interests of humanity.
However, other environmentalists argue that every part of the ecosystem has intrinsic value. This means that although living things may have no monetary value to human beings, they have significant worth in other ways.
Living creatures and their habitats still have such values as love, truth, and respect, which, though they cannot be quantified in terms of money,
are very real values that people should take into account.
The theory of intrinsic value contradicts some versions of utilitarianism. Some utilitarian philosophers argue that only humanity's happiness should be regarded in ethical decisions.
Those who believe in intrinsic value would say that though an endangered species or a rainforest may not provide any use or value for people, they have inherent worth nonetheless.
The supporters of the theory of intrinsic value would largely agree with those utilitarians who say that the happiness of all creatures must be considered in moral debates.