Perspectiveof Belonging and Environmental Degradation
Perspectiveof Belonging and Environmental Degradation
Environmentaldegradation is among the key factors that have prevented the worldfrom attaining the key prerequisites of health promotion as outlinedby the World Health Organization in Ottawa Charter. Most importantly,the lack of a sense of belonging has played a critical role towardsthe loss of stability of the eco-system, which has frustrated effortsto protect the environment and promote human health. Stability ofthe ecosystem refers to the ability of nature to regenerate throughresilience to constancy, and then to persistence, even afterdisturbance or stress (Roberto & Ganade, 2001). This paper willdiscuss how barriers to belonging have caused environmentaldegradation and climate change.
Howbarriers to the sense of belonging has contributed towardsenvironmental degradation
Thereare two major types of barriers to sense of belonging that have adirect impact to the current issue of environmental degradation.First, the difference in the level of economic development betweencountries has created a sense of “us and them”, where developingcountries as perceived as a global wasteland. This has been confirmedby the logic that developed countries (such as the U.S.) produce thelargest volumes of waste each year, and yet the developing nations,especially the African countries that bear the largest burden of theclimate change. Developed countries have already exhausted theircarrying capacity for the environment, which makes them treat thelow-income countries wasteland (Stern, 2004). Consequently, the lowincome countries and the poor members of the society fail to feelthemselves as part of the global population. This has reduced thepossibility of cooperation among nations to develop solutions for theenvironmental degradation.
Secondly,human beings tend to feel superior and not part of the natural world.A feeling that human beings are different from other components ofnature has resulted in the development of a parasitical behavior thathas encouraged people to overexploit the resources. According toCaselin & Kros (2011) the parasitic behavior is evidenced byexploitation of resources with the objective of expanding industries,which leaves a trail of pollution as the major byproduct ofindustrial development. In addition, the lack of a sense of belonginghas created a notion among human beings that other components ofnature exist to serve the interests and facilitate the wellbeing ofhumans. This misconception has culminated in excessive mining,deforestation, and excessive hunting, among other human activitiesthat lead to environmental degradation and destruction of othercomponents of nature. The ultimate impact of the misconception heldby humans is imbalanced ecosystem and climate change that isassociated with an increase in non-communicable diseases (such ascancer) and other natural calamities, including famine and floods(Caselin & Kros, 2011).
Inboth types of barriers members of the society from the lower classessuffer more irrespective of whether they live in developed or thedeveloping economies. This is because the low income families aremore likely to live near the sites that have been contaminated by theupper classes that benefit from industrialization and exploitation ofthe natural resources (Stern, 2004). In a similar criticalobservation, Stern (2004) noted that women have been excluded fromissues of environmental justice, which has created another barrier tothe sense of belonging. The failure to include the low-income membersof the society and women in matters of environmental justice isassociated with the failure of the current measures to contain theissue of environmental degradation. Consequently, environmentaldegradation has persisted as if there were no laws to regulatedisposal of waste and exploitation of resources by capitalists, whohave no regard for the poor countries and low income countries.
Howefforts to improve belonging might address environmental degradation
Thesense of belonging can be developed in two ways. First, the onenessbetween humanity and other components of nature is critical inaddressing persistent environmental degradation. This type of onenesswill help human beings to understand the relationship andinterdependence that exists between them and the environment (Caselin& Kros, 2011). By appreciating the fact that human activities(such as overexploitation of resources) have short-term benefits andlong-term negative effects to the environment and humanity, humanbeings will be able to take the necessary measures to reducepollution. Secondly, enhancing ones among members of all classes willcreate an opportunity for collective engagement in finding solutionsto the pressing issue of environmental degradation. Deforestation ismainly associated with low-income economies while industrializationis associated with upper classes, which means that each one of themhave a role to play in reducing environmental degradation (Caselin &Kros, 2011). Capitalists will develop effective methods of disposingindustrial waste, as the low income classes conserve forests.
Thelack of the sense of belonging between the low-income and upperclasses and between humans and the rest of the components of naturehas frustrated efforts to protect the environment. The upper class,which has a capitalist mentality, exploits resources and disposeswaste without considering the negative impacts of its actions tolow-income classes and the environment. The lack of oneness betweenhumans and nature has created a notion that nature exists to servethe interests of humans, which has resulted in overexploitation.Environmental degradation can be addressed by restoring oneness andthe sense of belonging among all parties.
Caselin,B. & Kros, M. (2011). Fostering a global identity: Climatechange, environmental degradation and the emergence of a hypotheticalother. SocialCosmos,10 (1), 163-173.
Roberto,C. & Ganade, G. (2001). Species functional redundancy, randomextinctions and the stability of ecosystem. Journalof Ecology,89, 118-125.
Stern,I. (2004). The rise and fall of the environmental Kuznets Curve.WorldDevelopment,32 (8), 1419-1439.