Critical Reflection on Eco-Phylosophies and Environment

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Critical Reflection: Why do you care about environment?

The world is an ever changing and ever evolving entity and humans who reside in it have seen their perceptions change drastically over the years. Issues that were considered to be unimportant at one point of time are now the major focus of various countries around the world. This reflection will discuss how through various experiences of my life my attitudes towards environment kept evolving, it will also link various eco-philosophies to those experiences. Furthermore, this reflection aims to build the argument that, eco-philosophies in different mind-sets are not enough for environment. It is known that eco-philosophies can help create policies but different mind-sets belonging to different school of thoughts create confusion and result in creating ineffective policies that not only lead to wrong implementation of them but create more and more differences and this reflection will end in discussing that there is a need to create a more holistic approach that encompasses various school of thoughts.

I remember sitting in a circle around my grandfather surrounded by my other cousins. He was had travelled all over Pakistan various times due to his job. Our grandfather used to tell us stories about his travels, the people he met, the things he had seen, the nature and the connection he had felt to God while travelling. How he saw the world and nature through his lens and explained a socially constructed view. William Raymond (1980) described that idea of nature to contains extra ordinarily amount of human history. My grandfather’s stories revolved around how he had to hunt to eat in northern regions, how he cut down wood to create fires for his friends were all examples of how they used nature as a resource. He once said that because he the northern region reminded him of wilderness rather than beauty. William Cronan (1996) said that if human beings need to change the way they think about wilderness and that no direct link exists between wilderness and nature. He claims that 'if we allow ourselves to believe that nature be wild then our very presence in nature represents it fall'.

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After listening to my grandfather’s experiences I was motivated to travel around Pakistan. I have travelled through most of the northern and southern region and have met people from different ethnicities and cultures. The most interesting part of it all was their stories linked to nature and how they made me feel part of something bigger than myself. My mother and I visited Kalash a place in Chitral that has Dardic Indo-Aryan indigenous people. They have their own songs and epic stories and rich culture. They have their own festivals and rituals. People who do not belong to their tribe are welcomed in by fire ritual and a dance. Their rituals and burial sites are unique. They celebrate starting and ending of harvest season and have stories about each and every ritual. Their leaders are respected. There is no gender discrimination there but they have some traditions and customs in regards to women that have to be followed.

What I find interesting throughout the literature found on environmental philosophies is that theorists have created a fine distinction between human and nature. For example, anthropocentric environmentalism sees themselves to be rationalists and conceptualise everything in terms of human’s relationship with environment whereas ecofeminists or deep ecologists ground their argument on a more emotional understanding of environment. During my schooling I identified more with the anthropocentric recognition of environment and believed that since we require nature for our survival we must ensure its protection. By living in the developed cities we mostly forget the importance of nature because our schooling and our environment make us think of these concepts as resources rather than living beings that have a right to exist. We take their existence for granted. Nature then is seen to be a resource that needs to be consumed rather than something to care for. The more money one has the more resources one can attain to attain a better lifestyle.

Another interesting experience I came across was the challenges people of Hunza faced in conserving Khunjerab National Park. Universe arises from life and laws of nature are fine tuned for the existence of life. Biocentrism is a concept that views of the world where life and consciousness are bottom lined to attain an understanding of the logic of universe and it revolves around our consciousness related to a physical process

What I find the most interesting about relating to many eco-philosophies is that none of them a holistic framework. Environmental philosophies frequently borrow their overall angle from the theorist's implicit philosophical, political, social, economic and religious identifications. It has been established that contemporary environmental problems are not simple; they involve interweaved issues of public health and social justice, attitudes towards nature, and deep disagreements about matters of science, policy, rights, and ethical obligations. These complexities apply to various areas in contemporary environmental debate: drought, changing weather patterns, the loss of habitat and species, and the burden of caring for environmental refugees, the effects of consumerism, and the health problems associated with various forms of pollution (Jamieson 2001). These problems fall separately into clusters of interconnected puzzles that are incapable of having a solution within the scope of any single discipline or framework and are usually referred to as wicked problems (Norton 2005, Brennan 2004). Furthermore, many of these issues are based on matters of fact. The resolution of such conflicts and ambiguities demands increased interdisciplinary cooperation between philosophers, political theorists, legal experts and scientists. Such a cross departmental approach would be consistent with the contemporary trend toward making philosophy more empirical and with Bookchin's suggestion that ecology is both an integrative and a reconstructive discipline.

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