The Value of Life is an exploration of the actual and perceived importance of biological diversity for human beings and society. Stephen R. Kellert identifies ten basic values, which he describes as biologically based, inherent human tendencies that are greatly influenced and moderated by culture, learning, and experience. Drawing on 20 years of original research, he considers:
- the universal basis for how humans value nature
- differences in those values by gender, age, ethnicity, occupation, and geographic location
- how environment-related activities affect values
- variation in values relating to different species
- how vlaues vary across cultures
- policy and management implications
Throughout the book, Kellert argues that the preservation of biodiversity is fundamentally linked to human well-being in the largest sense as he illustrates the importance of biological diversity to the human sociocultural and psychological condition.