Neoliberalism and Climate Change: The other side

While I earlier posted about neoliberalism and economic structure opening new markets for environmentally friendly products that will propagate strong environmental action, I feel compelled to present the ‘other’ argument. The one that argues that nature holds dignity and needs to be viewed through value-based outlook. So here it is.

Climate change presents us an opportunity to re-evaluate our perception of nature as an economic resource. Nature has an inherent value that does not involve economic terms of markets and business.. There is no doubt that climate change is going to influence our lives and those of future generations in an unprecedented scale. However, it is important to note that climate change also provides us an opportunity. Opportunity to go back to the roots, and maintain a symbiotic relationship with nature. With the advent of capitalisation and industrialization, environment has been misused and our relationship with nature has become purely economical. It is time to show care, concern and respect for the environment that selflessly sustains our mankind. Environment and nature has an inherent dignity that cannot be compromised as the way the way we use our resources is not only going to dictate the future and success of our future generations but also the relationship we share with one another today. Environment forms the basis for human relations and we cannot help alleviate this crisis by placing a monetary value on nature and looking at as a commodity. We do not finish our duty towards environment by merely becoming better consumers of environmental goods. Assuming that nature we can repair nature through current global market forces is imprudent and almost laughable. Environment today demands more. It demands duty, respect, responsibility, care, stewardship, and community management. This calls for a massive revamping of our mindsets and attitudes regarding environmental benefits. It is fundamental that we expand our horizons beyond the trifling economic world. Imminent problems of today provide us an opportunity to rethink our current troubled and non-symbiotic relationship with nature.

Rethinking involves reviving old and forgotten perception of nature. One of which is stewardship. Stewardship calls on protecting environment through sustainable practices. It provides a sense of stakeholdership, with an array of people involved: donors, volunteers and practitioners. It supports positive environmental change especially for the underprivileged and ignored members of socioeconomic strata. One other practice that can be revived is community based management of environment. Community based systems have performed exceptionally well in adding to the health of their respective local environments. It allows locals to decide and participate in the practices they deem best for their locality. This is in contrast to governing bodies that dictate the “sustainable” practices without knowing the historical, cultural and social context of the place. Moreover, community based systems amplify the simple efforts made by individuals.

As Mark Sagoff, an influential author and ecologist points out, the way we interact with nature directs our interpersonal relationships, and community action promotes better interaction between humans and environment. Environmental issues provide us an opportunity to revise our perception of environment. Thereby, these value-based choices will provide a chance to rewrite our current economic plagued society.