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Module 1: Ecologism

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Ecologism – Lesson Summary

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Ecologism is about our relationship to the natural environment and our involvement in it.

Today, ecologism is a complex ideology, all versions of which share the belief that nature is an interconnected hole, which includes all species, including humans, and the inanimate world. Ecologism itself is divided into two main strands:
• shallow ecologism
• deep ecologism

Shallow ecologism is about doing most of the things we already do, but modifying them, so that we minimize the harm we cause to the environment. Deep ecologism requires enormous changes in the way we live, say, restricting or ending commercial farming for meat production.

In any case, irrespective of whether any issue or policy comes down to shallow or deep ecology, if we do not change our ways, and quickly, we may be left with no option but the enormous changes required by deep ecology.
Ecologism is about an ecocentric perspective of the world, and life, an interconnected whole, and the various elements in the living world are also interdependent. Ecologism encompasses four main ideas:
• Ecology,
• Holism,
• Sustainability,
• Self-Actualization, those are the four.

The basic principle of ecology is that all forms of life, whether the plants or animals, depend on systems of living and non-living things. Holism is about rejecting attitudes which see nature as no more than an economic resource for human use, or perhaps another kind of resource solely for human use.

Sustainability reminds us of the destruction of many of the resources, the natural capital, which we’re exploiting to support our current ways of life, including economic production. Environmental Ethics is about thinking of generations yet unborn and of doing all we can to ensure that animal and plant species will survive into the future. Self-actualization involves rejecting the dominant economic and political models

Ecologism does cut across all existing ideologies, resulting in the following terms:
• Eco-fascism
• Eco-conservatism
• Eco-socialism
• Eco-feminism
• Eco-anarchism

We need to be careful about articulating fascist conceptions: what we say must not involve or raise fascistic implications. Eco-conservatism requires that we literally conserve rather than destroy. The polluter pays principle, you do the damage and you pay for is consistent with eco-conservatism

Eco-socialists think that capitalism is inherently destructive of the environment, because for capitalism, human labour power and the natural environment are no more than resources to be exploited for profit. For eco-feminists, men, male-designed and male-dominated institutions are the major threat to nature. Eco-anarchists may differ from other ecological or environmental movements because they reject the idea of the state.

Natural capital is the stock of renewable and non-renewable resources, plants, animals, air, water, soils, minerals, and the kinds of things we use and that provide benefits to us. These benefits include the air we breathe, the water we drink, wildlife, animals we eat, the wildlife that maintain healthy ecosystems.

Nature is a trust fund of which we are the beneficiaries. If we keep using too much of that natural capital, we will run out of it and experience diminishing returns. We need a natural capital protocol, a framework designed to help create accurate and reliable information so that businesses can measure their values, impacts and dependences on the natural environment, the natural capital.

Natural capital, according to George Monbiot raises three main problems:
• The sheer incommensurability of the kinds of things we try to map onto commercial value or market value
• The fact of pushing the natural world even further into the system that is eating it alive.
• The deliberate ignorance of “power” by the natural capital