Social Issues in the Contemporary Issues: Environment, Poverty and Food Security Part I: Environment and Natural Resource

Management 1.1. Environment 1.1.1. Definition The Mariam Webster Dictionary defines Environment as the complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival. Ecologists define environment as anything that affects an organism in its lifetime. The word "environment" is most commonly used describing "natural" environment and means the sum of all living and non-living things that surround an organism, or group of organisms. Environment includes all elements, factors, and conditions that have some impact on growth and development of certain organism. Environment includes both biotic and abiotic factors that have influence on observed organism. Abiotic factors are non-living things that affect an organism such as light, temperature, water, atmospheric gases, minerals, elevation above sea level, wind and rain. On the other hand biotic factors are living things that affect an organism. You are daily affected by several biotic environmental factors like your classmates, the foods you eat, the trees you want to shade and the disease organisms are some of them. Environment often changes after some time and therefore many organisms have ability to adapt to these changes. However tolerance range is not the same with all species and exposure to environmental conditions at the limit of a certain organism's tolerance range represents environmental stress. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished by components:

Complete ecological units that function as natural systems without massive human intervention, including all vegetation, microorganisms, soil, rocks, atmosphere and natural phenomena that occur within their boundaries. Universal natural resources and physical phenomena that lack clear-cut boundaries, such as air, water, and climate, as well as energy, radiation, electric charge, and magnetism, not originating from human activity

The natural environment is contrasted with the built environment, which comprises the areas and components that are strongly influenced by humans.

1.1.2. Components of Natural Environment The Natural Environment is composed of four spheres. These are:A. The Lithosphere: In the earth the lithosphere includes the earth’s crust (5 – 40 km made
of solid lighter rocks) and the uppermost mantle, which constitute the hard and rigid outer layer of the Earth. It is Surface of the planet that forms the continents and the ocean floor. The Lithosphere is made of crust and the upper mantle is 100 km thick. The following figure depicts the Lithosphere and other parts of the earth’s interior.


and water. as well as all the nonliving (abiotic). It is irregularly shaped envelope of the earth's air. and land encompassing the heights and depths at which living things exist. physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact. It is sustained by grand-scale cycles of energy and of materials—in particular. water and sunlight. The biosphere can also be called the zone of life on Earth. The Biosphere:is the global sum of all ecosystems. nitrogen. water. The fundamental recycling processes are photosynthesis. carbon. certain minerals. a closed (apart from solar and cosmic radiation) and self-regulating system.Figure 1. respiration. Disruption of basic ecological activities in the biosphere can result from pollution. soil. oxygen. The Biosphere and its Components 2|Page . An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area. The Lithosphere and the Earth’s Interior B. Figure 2. such as air. and the fixing of nitrogen by certain bacteria.

The components of the hydrosphere have been seriously affected by the water-polluting activities of modern society. 3|Page . Hydrosphere.023% of the Earth's total mass. movement. With the use of sensitive instruments from space. describes the continuous movement of water on. discontinuous layer of water at or near the Earth’s surface. It reaches near or over 600 kilometers (372 miles) from the surface of the Earth. It includes all the water on Earth (ocean. This mixture of gases is commonly known as Air. The envelope of gas surrounding the Earth changes from the ground up. Figure 3.5 million square miles). Approximately 75% of the Earth's surface. the total water budget remains in balance. The Hydrological/Water Cycle D. above and below the surface of the Earth. Although the components of the hydrosphere are undergoing continuous change of state and location. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultravioletsolar radiation. Four distinct layers have been identified using thermal characteristics (temperature changes). ice. and density. and the twinkling of stars. The Hydrosphere: the combined mass of water found on.5%). which is about 0. About 20 × 1012 tons of this is in the Earth's atmosphere (the volume of one tons of water is approximately 1 cubic meter). The following figure shows the water or hydrologic cycle. is covered by ocean. an area of some 361 million square kilometers (139. groundwater held in soil and rock. the beautiful multi-colored sunsets and sunrises. chemical composition. The total mass of the Earth's hydrosphere is about 1. It includes all liquid and frozen surface waters. and over the surface of a planet. warming the surface through heat retention (greenhouse effect). and reducing temperature extremes between day and night (the diurnal temperature variation). and atmospheric water vapor. we are able to get a better view of the functioning of our atmosphere. The hydrologic cycle or H2O cycle.4 × 1018tones.C. Early attempts at studying the nature of the atmosphere used clues from the weather. under.Virtually all of these waters are in constant circulation through the hydrologic cycle. and water vapor in the atmosphere). also known as the water cycle. so we are only able to see what occurs fairly close to the ground. The average salinity of the Earth's oceans is about 35 grams of salt per kilogram of sea water (3. The Atmosphere: is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity.

Mesosphere: starts just above the stratosphere and extends to 85 kilometers (53 miles) high. c. The tropopause and the troposphere are known as the lower atmosphere. is in this layer. it is the region of rising and falling packets of air. The tropopause separates the troposphere from the next layer. There is considerable recent concern that manmade flourocarbon compounds may be depleting the ozone layer. Stratosphere: starts just above the troposphere and extends to 50 kilometers (31 miles) high. The stratopause separates the stratosphere from the next layer. The formation of this layer is a delicate matter. with dire future consequences for life on the Earth. Almost all weather is in this region. The troposphere is where all weather takes place. due to the absorption of ultraviolet radiation. b. This part of the atmosphere is the densest.The air pressure at the top of the troposphere is only 10% of that at sea level (0. In this region.1 atmospheres).Figure 4. The temperature in this region increases gradually to -3 degrees Celsius. the temperatures again fall as low 4|Page . the temperature drops from about 17 to -52 degrees Celsius. As you climb higher in this layer. since only when oxygen is produced in the atmosphere can an ozone layer form and prevents an intense flux of ultraviolet radiation from reaching the surface.Ninety-nine percent of "air" is located in the troposphere and stratosphere. this part of the atmosphere is dry and less dense. The ozone layer. where it is quite hazardous to the evolution of life. which absorbs and scatters the solar ultraviolet radiation. Compared to the troposphere. Components of the Atmosphere a. Troposphere: starts at the Earth's surface and extends to about 15 kilometers (9 miles) high.

Some contemporary environmental sociologists like Goldblatt (1996). and Carbon Dioxide (CO2. Sunderlin (2003) defines and conceptualizes three key paradigms -individualist. This layer is known as the upper atmosphere. as they absorb energy from the Sun. The chemicals are in an excited state.01%). Figure 5. 0 . To a certain extent these pioneer sociologists had something to say about nature and society although it is more of implied than direct and was embedded in their philosophical debates of the time in which they were writing. Oxygen (O2. 21%).3. 1%). Weber and Marx respectively.1. managerial and class. along with the stratopause and mesopause.727 degrees Celsius. 0 . Classical Sociological Theorists and the Environment One possible source of inspiration for contemporary sociologists seeking to engage with environmental topics is the canon of classical social theory. Thermosphere or Ionosphere: The thermosphere starts just above the mesosphere and extends to 600 kilometers (372 miles) high.1%). The temperatures go up as you increase in altitude due to the Sun's energy. 5|Page . "greenhouse" gases or Ozone (O. Jarvikowski (1996) and Buttel (2000) discard the legacy of these early sociologists to contemporary environmental sociological understanding claiming it lacks conceptual and theoretical framework to understand the complex interaction between nature and society.1. Temperatures in this region can go as high as 1. are called the middle atmosphere by scientists. notably Durkheim. and Argon (Ar.0. The mesopause separates the mesosphere from the thermosphere.3. Sociological View on Environment 1. On the other hand. The regions of the stratosphere and the mesosphere. d. Chemical reactions occur much faster here than on the surface of the Earth.7%). there is a rich and expanding work more inclined to pick concepts and ideas about the environment from the classic sociological thinkers and apply them to current environmental crisis. Composition of the Atmosphere: The atmosphere is primarily composed of Nitrogen ( -93 degrees Celsius as you increase in altitude.01-0. 78%). Weber and Marx. 0. Composition of the Atmosphere 1. A myriad of other very influential components are also present which include the water (H2O. each of which is derived from the classical sociological literature of Durkheim.

on occasion even superseding a sensible choice of goals or alternatives. Durkheim is quite firm in asserting that social phenomena cannot be explained through individual lens. a social fact is ‘any way of acting. morality. self-interested pursuit of market domination.e. most notably that arising out of an increasingly complex division of labor. West (1984) emphasized that Weber analyzed concrete examples of the struggles over natural resources. Durkheim himself frequently utilized biological concepts and metaphors in presenting his theory of societal transformation. Catton (2002) proposes that Durkheim’s theory was very much an attempt a solution to what is essentially an ecological crisis of rising population paired with scarce resources. even as that land became more productive thanks to technological innovation. Increased scientific and technical knowledge brings with it a fresh orientation in which nature exists only to be mastered and manipulated by humans. The legal system operates like a technically rational machine. Industry and government are controlled by a bureaucratic apparatus. to one of organic solidarity. where the social bond is a function of interdependence. Increasingly. the purpose of which is to attain a high level of efficiency. this is a reflection of his determination to elevate social facts over ‘facts of lower order’ (i. Together. This vigorous defense of social facts by Durkheim is a reaction to biological and psychological reductionist of his time that reduces the explanation of certain social phenomena to biological and psychological factors. whether fixed or not. According to him the central rule of sociology is the determining cause of a social fact must be antecedent social facts not in individual consciousness.A. occupational specialization meant that the competition over arable land was lessened. biological and psychological). Max Weber A second sociological pioneer whose work is said to possess an ecologically relevant component is Max Weber. B. This theory was inspired by Darwinian evolutionary model that was popular at the time. The environmental connection in Weber’s work was identified by West (1984) and Murphy (1994) in his different works. capable of exerting over the individual an external constraints’. An expanding capitalist market economy leaves little room for anything beyond the calculating. Rationalization is composed of several dynamic institutional components. what Weber called substantive 6|Page . These constraints are normally manifested in the forms of law. Emile Durkheim Of the three founding figures Durkheim is probably the least likely to be recognized as environmental commentator. customs and even fashion. For Durkheim. In large part. these components promote a pervasive logic whereby efficiency reigns supreme. for example the control of irrigation system. In The Division of Labor in Society (1893). it would have been disastrous if everyone had continued to engage in agriculture. beliefs. he describes the evolution of modern societies from a state of mechanical solidarity where in social solidarity is a product of shared cultural values. As societies became larger and denser. For Murphy the key concept to be extracted from Weber’s work is formal rationalization.

he observed ‘constitutes the fundamental basis on which life is sustained and growth and reproduction can be possible’. this is called Ecological irrationality. this organic relationship was being seriously undercut by the practice of capitalist agriculture. When this concept is applied to nature. even if this is in no way substantively rational from ecological point of view. large scale mechanized farming. In short. humane. Marx and Engels saw the solution as the overthrow of the dominant system of production. As the industrial revolution proceeded through the eighteenth and ninetieth centuries. Formal rationality thus dictates that the most efficient action is to clear-cut an old grown forest. This means the more we try to run things according to the principles of disproportionate calculation the more we open the door to a swarm of unwanted negative effects. Karl Marx From the three pioneers of sociological thought. capitalism. this relationship seems to follow distinctly anthropocentric direction which means humans achieving mastery over nature. Marx and Engels argue for the establishment of a new harmonious relationship between nature and human. was held responsible for a variety of social ills from overpopulation and resource depletion to alienation of people from the natural world with which they were once united. rural workers were removed from the land and driven into crowded. This is exactly what is still happening. in no small part because of technological innovation and automation. This has been called a Promethean (pro-technological. Marx and Engels although they were marginally concerned with environmental degradation per se but their analysis of social structure and social change has become the starting point for several formidable contemporary theories of the environment. in the later works of Marx. However. Murphy also identified two distinctive concepts highlighted by Weber which have relevant to contemporary environmental crisis. Marx and Engels believed that the social conflict between the two principal classes in society. land owners were accused of unkindly robbing the soil of its key nutrients by declining to recycle them. C. especially where monocultures (a single variety of a single crop grown for commercial purpose) prevail.rationality. By the 1860s. According to Foster. Marx in his latter issue employed a concept of metabolism to describe the complex interaction between society and nature. 7|Page . anti-ecological) attitude towards nature. For example. that is the capitalist and the proletariat (worker). It is manifested in a wide range of destructive consequences from sensational technological disasters such as nuclear accidents to routine pollution events such as industrial dumping into rivers. a single factor. environmentally unalienated social order.these are intensification of rationality and the magnification of rationality. Most notably. Nowhere is this evident than in ‘capitalist agriculture’ which puts a quick profit from the land ahead of the welfare of both humans and the soil. Marx used to be an advocate of organic farming methods and critical of chemical agriculture. it is Karl Marx that has provoked the most extensive response from present day environmental interpreters. Metabolism. not only alienates ordinary people from their jobs but also leads to their estrangement from nature itself. capitalism and the establishment in its place a rational. polluted cities while the soil itself was drained of its vitality.

environmental policy making and the development of environmental quality as a social problem.1. Klausner. Max Weber and Emile Durkheim) have written something about man and nature it was not definitive. edited the Annals of Academy of Political and Social Sciences on ‘Society and Its Physical Environment’. politicians and capitalist producers share an ‘ethic’ which accentuates capitalist accumulation and economic growth as the dual engines which drives progress. Following the energy crisis there was a considerable sociological interest in analyzing the impact of the energy crisis on people 8|Page . the concept of the ‘humanization of nature’ was proposed. however. However.3. These works applied mainstream sociological perspectives on environmental topics.In contrast Marx’s early work. Concerns with societal causes of environmental pollution were supplemented by a focus on social impacts of pollution and resource constraints. By this time sociological interest in environmental matters had been re-ignited primarily by the rising popularity of environmentalism and environmental movement. In the beginning the sociologists’ work emphasized on environmental movements. especially analyses of the importance of claim-making activities in generating social interest in environmental degradation. applies at all political level from global system to the local community. 1. public attitudes towards environmental issues. It was largely in response to the widespread popular attention to the environmental problems that led to the development of environmental sociology in the 1970s. This concept suggests that humans will develop a new understanding of and empathy with nature. he did not clearly put whether this new understanding would be used for increasing human’s might on nature (for example eliminating species that threaten human health or to enhance the power and capacities of non-human species (eco-centric approach). as sociologists paid more attention to environmental issues some began to look beyond societal attention towards environmental problems and start focusing on the underlying relationship between modern society and their environment.2. These efforts gradually led to the establishment of an environmental sociology as a distinctive field on its own right. Although the widely acknowledged founders of Sociology (Karl Marx. a sociologist and a clinical psychologist. The major catalysts being Carson’s bestselling exposure of the damage of ecosystem due to agricultural pesticide use in a publication entitled Silent Spring. It was in 1971 by Samuel Klausner the concept Environmental Sociology was explicitly used in his book On Man in His Environment. Contemporary Marxist theory emphasizes not only the role of capitalists but also that of the state in fostering ecological destruction since elected politicians and bureaucratic administrators serve the interests of capitalist investors. This. Towards the Emergence of an Environmental Sociology 1970-2005 The field of Environmental Sociology emerged from the intellectual and social ferment generated by movements for social change and reform on the environmental issues. In short Marx’s early works are too complicated and contradictory on ecological concerns to be the basis of a full-fledged theory on environment. Public servants. they argue. apocalyptic predictions contained in The Limits of Growth by Meadows (1972) combined with the energy crisis of the 1973-74. This was labeled as ‘sociology of environmental issues’.

the pervasive deterioration of the environment and its frequent media coverage that brings the attention to the public. These was due to the increased scale of environmental problems from localized ones (like air pollution) to more of regional ones (acidic rains) and even global ones (ozone depletion and global warming). incorporating of the course and the launching of the Masters Program in the field. Bophal. increased risk for environmental problems worldwide and its increased impacts on the welfare and health of 9|Page . acidic rain. The dominant theme was ‘we are entering an era of ecological limits’ shown in the Social Science Quarterly (September. India (1984). In addition. global warming and rainforest destruction become global agendas. As in the 1970s in 1980s the focus of research was on the impact of the environment on humans (as mediated by perceptions. More recently environmental sociology has shifted attention from identifying key factors of environmental degradation and destruction to discovering the most effective mechanisms of environmental improvement or reform which will help to pave the way forward to more socially secure and environmentally friendly arrangement. The 1970s ended in high momentum for environmental sociology in terms of membership in the Environment and Technology section of the American Sociological Association. These coupled with the wide public attention towards worsening of the environmental quality due to the earth summit and environmental devastations led to the revitalization of an interest in environmental sociology. This newly developed paradigm refuted the argument for energy scarcity by depicting that it can be avoided by restraining government intervention in the energy market and the idea of limits of growth lost its currency. gave way to new paradigms that criticize the limits of growth. In addition. However.of different income strata while some attention was given on the social mechanism that led to the energy scarcity. 1976) devoted to ‘Scarcity and Society’ which got contribution from many environmental sociologists. collective definitions and community networks) rather than human impacts on the environment as an extension of the limits of growth hypothesis. This new field of study was at the same time emerged in Europe and later in 1990 in Japan and Korea. deregulation and small governments. Chernobyl (1986) and Love Canal (which began at the end of 1970s). arguments like population growth was also gained credence since human ingenuity is the ultimate resource. Before starting to decline in the mid 1990s. which includes Three-Mile Island (1979). in the decade due to major environmental hazards that happened. By the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s the environmental quality was widely seen as worsening where by issues like ozone layer depletion. a sociologist called Catton emphasized his research interest in the 1970s on the theoretical concern with overpopulation and declining fossil fuels which come together in his influential book Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Social Change in 1980. Following the dominant political paradigm of the 1980s in the United States which give attention to free enterprise. there was a growing attention towards sociological investigation of the nature and role of environmental hazards on the modern societies. decreased enrollment in environmental sociology. These dominant thinkings of the 1980s restrained the momentum of environmental sociology and resulted in the decline in membership in Environment and Technology section in ASA. decline in publication on the field and low job vacancies for environmental sociologists.

and fossil fuels) that are essential for living. With the waste repository function. Ecological Explanation: Competing Functions of the Environment The ecological basis of environmental destruction is best described in Catton and Dunlap’s ‘three competing functions of the environment’ (see figure 6).3. Figure 6. Competing Functions of the Environment Living Space Living Space Waste Repository Supply Depot Supply Depot Waste Repository Global Carrying Capacity 1900 Current Situation Furthermore. and political economy explanation of ‘trreadmill of production’ and ‘societal-environmental dialectic’. water. sewerage. transportation systems and other essentials of daily life. i. ecological explanation-‘three competing environmental functions’. urban sprawl or expansion of the urban area towards the rural 10 | P a g e . often impinging upon the other.e. I. 1. Exceeding the ability of the ecosystems to absorb wastes results in health problems from toxic wastes and in ecosystem disruption. For example. its theoretical contribution to the discipline Sociology and to the environmental social theories was minimal. Similarly. placing a garbage landfill in rural location near to a city both makes that site unsuitable as a living space and destroys the ability of the land to function as a supply depot for food. the environment serves as a ‘sink’ for garbage (rubbish). each of these functions competes for space.3. Theoretical Approaches to Environmental Sociology A.1. Explanations for Environmental Destruction In this section we will discuss two major approaches to the environmental destruction and degradation. Their model specifies three general functions that the environment serves the human beings: supply depot. Although many researches are conducted in the field. Overuse of these resources results in shortages or scarcities.people. Living space or habitat provides housing. industrial pollution and other byproducts. forests. congestion and the destruction of habitats for other species. the environment is a source of renewable and non-renewable natural resources (air. Overuse of this function results in overcrowding. Used as supply depot. living space and waste repository.

Rather governments enact environmental policies and procedures that are complex. and the conflict among these competing functions of the environment has grown considerably. However. extends beyond the focus on living space to include environmentally relevant functions of supply and waste disposal. resource shortages are not handled by reducing consumption or adopting a more modest lifestyle rather by opening up new areas to exploitation. invest highly in infrastructures like roads. for example the value of preserving existing unique species of plants and animals. soil erosion and pollution. This model. airports. He labeled the political economy of environmental problems and policies of the capitalist society as ‘treadmill of production’. States have the responsibility of balancing the exploitation of these values because of its facilitating role as capital accumulation and economic growth and its role of environmental regulator. However. In recent years. and ‘exchange values’ which characterize the industrial use of natural resources with profit seeking motive. Schnaiberg outlines the nature and genesis of contradictory relations between economic expansion and environmental disruption. the model failed to portray the social actions involved in this competition of environmental functions that have an implication for the overuse and abuse of environmental resources. which causes massive ecological damage in the form of flooding rainforest destruction. ambiguous and open to exploitation by the forces of capital production and accumulation. II. The treadmill of production explanation has the advantage of locating present environmental problems in the inequities of humanly constructed political and economic systems rather than abstract conflict of environmental functions. usually governments are engaged in ‘environmental managerialism’ in which they attempt to legislate a limited environmental protection laws and policies to avoid criticism but not significant enough to limit environmentally degrading growth. The treadmill of production is a complex reinforcing mechanism whereby politicians respond to environmental crisis created by the capitalist mode of production by encouraging yet further economic expansion. First this explanation is a neo11 | P a g e . this explanation did not get the status of a paradigm (fundamental model) due to two major reasons. Schnaiberg detects dialectical tension between ‘use values’. Political Economy Explanation: the ‘Societal-Environmental Dialectic’ and the ‘Treadmill of Production’ Drawing on the strands of both Marxist political economy and Neo-Weberian Sociology. The authors of this explanation have portrayed its application to the developing countries context. For example. in order to reproduce developed countries’ industrialization. the overlap. It refers to the inherent need of the an economic system to continually yield a profit by creating consumer demand for new products even exceeding the limits of growth of the ecosystem or the ‘carrying capacity’. unlike the mainstream sociology theories like human ecology. the model also shows the increasing overlap among the competing functions of the environment since the year 1900. In addition.area reduces the amount of arable land that can be put into production while intensive forest tree logging threatens the living space of native (aboriginal) peoples living in the forests. and so on. However. hydroelectric power dams. Third World Countries.

Giddens defines these two types of risks as external risks and manufactured risks. For example nuclear radiation which cannot be seen. modern risk judgments are made on the basis of “expert knowledge”. Both approaches believe share that environmental protection is a basic responsibility of the modern society. On the other hand. B. which consequently resulted in the development of new varieties of publicoriented scientific experts (for example in conservation biology) and the changing nature political monopolies to more bottom-up decision-making as evidenced by the entry of the ’green’ parties to parliament. Manufactured risks are marked by a high level of human involvement in both producing. crime. etc) to the paradigm of a ‘risk society’ in which the risks and hazards produced as part of modernization.e. tasted or touched. poverty. These led to the critique of science and progress. Subsequently. notably postmodernism and cultural sociology. notably pollution. and mitigating such risks. In early development of the industrial societies. reflexive modernization thesis and ecological modernization. The theory argues that whilst humans have always been subjected to a level of risk . He further argued that contemporary risks are different from past risks since 1) they cannot be detected by human sensory rather only by sophisticated scientific instrumentation. the treadmill explanation has been somewhat static to the manufacturing economy of the capitalist era that does not consider the shift of Western countries to towards information age. Reflexive Modernization According to Beck Western nations have moved from an ‘industrial’ or ‘class’ society in which the central issue is how socially produced wealth can be distributed in a socially unequal manner in a way that minimizes negative side effects (like hunger. However.such as natural disasters . Perspectives on Environmental Improvement In this section we will discuss perspectives for environmental reform or improvements i. modern “manufactured” technological risks are “intangible” and cannot be smelled. Marxist thinking has been overshadowed by new theoretical flavor. altering the course of modernization itself.Marxist explanation of environmental destruction. are exposed to risks such as pollution. Risks attached to events such as chemical spills and radiation poisonings are the testament to the failure of social institutions. This increased critique of modern industrial 12 | P a g e . newly discovered illnesses. These incidences have led to public distrust in industry. that are the result of the modernization process itself. I. risks such as industrial smog were observable and obvious. Second. however. social concerns have led to the increased regulation of the nuclear power industry and to the abandonment of some expansion plans.these have usually been perceived as produced by non-human forces. notably science. According to Beck risk has become much more distributed than was formerly the case. however. heard. For example air pollution affects everyone equally disregardless of their income status. 2) they transcend generations. government and experts. and 3) they preclude causal attribution and compensation for victims. Modern societies.

reflexive modernization means: the disintegration of the certainties of industrial society as well as the compulsion to find and invent new certainties for oneself and others without them. Modernization gave greater role for individuals. responding to the inability of industrial society’s institutions to insure and compensate victims of modern risks. Hence in order to actively shape the modernization process individual agents must free themselves from structural constraints. Increasingly.practices is said to have resulted in a state of reflexive modernization. As such “the authoritarian decision and action state gives way to the negotiation state. this results in the loss of implementation power. In addition. But it also means new interdependencies. Reflexive modernization leads to a greater individualization.. especially toxic pollution and ionizing radiation. is obliged to reflect upon our personal experience and make our own decision how we wish to live. values or modes of action in these organizations. Individualization and globalization are in fact two sides of the same process of reflexive modernization (Beck 1996:14). then means shaping society from below. This social transformation to risk society involves the “unbinding of science” through a broader sub-political critique by “citizen science.. Viewed from above. According to Beck. which arranges stages and conversations and directs the show (Beck 1996:39). Politicization thus implies a decrease in the central rule approach.” Nongovernment organizations (NGOS) and civil societies proliferate. As Beck has written: sub-politics. modern institutions (such as states and research institutes) appear organized by the narrative of “irresponsibility” and must engage in a discourse over society’s capacity to deal with the “side effects” of modern technology. illustrated by concepts such as sustainability and the precautionary principle that focus on preventative measures to decrease levels of risk. However. individuals are free to break free from the scientific constraints (the construction of risks) and choose their own lifestyles. subcultures and social ties. 13 | P a g e . the theory is criticized for its extreme optimism in the civil societies while there are undemocratic interests. Each of us. As Beck has written. the shrinkage and minimization of politics. as it reaches a certain level individual agents will be less constrained by social structures. This societal response to this shift in concern to large number of technological catastrophe involves the process of “reflexive modernization” expressed through Beck’s individualization narrative (Beck 1992). “Choice and calculation” become more viable for people in the modern world as the restructuring of social conflict along risk cleavages coincides with the reorganization of social forms to include new sub-political groups. Beck believes. the theory was criticized for its self-contradiction-it argues that the planet is in increasing peril due to an escalation of objectively verifiable global risks on the one hand and insisting that risks are socially constructed and do not exist beyond our perception on the other. even global ones.

However. The theory of ecological modernization was criticized by treadmill theorists for its sampling of industries which are applying cutting edge technologies for production and assume its diffusion widely. Ecological modernization is a reasoned position against the extreme environmentalist who preaches de-industrialization and capital apologists who prefer business-as-usualapproach. especially by substituting statistical probability for ‘prove-beyond-a-doubt’ causality in legal suits against polluters. Spaargaren and Mol mean an ecological switch of the industrialization process in a direction that takes into account the maintenance of the existing sustenance base. the chip revolution and the nuclear power that they assumed would bring ecological harmony were not environmentally friendly as it was assumed. annual environmental reports. With all these criticisms the ecological modernization theory has become an important lens through which economy-ecology relationships of industrial societies can be viewed. For example. Ecological Modernization By ecological modernization. The ecological modernization theory contains three main strategic elements.II. However. which was a notorious polluter in the past. sophisticated and clean technologies. a research in Dutch chemical industry. 14 | P a g e . which is made possible due to new technological innovation and diffusion. ‘end of pipe’ technologies associated with chemical and manufacturing industries.introduction of new technologies. according to the critics. It ‘indicates the possibility of overcoming the environmental crisis without leaving the modernization path’. According to Huber. environmental audits and environmental certification systems. a reorientation of environmental policy to the ‘prevention principle’ (seeking a better balance between stopping pollution before it happens and cleaning it up later on) and ecological reorientation of environmental policy. The theory ignores Third World Countries and focuses on the economies of Western European nations which are to be ‘ecologised’ through substitution of micro-electronics. gene technology and other clean production processes for the older. these industries apply such green measures in response to state regulation and social movement action through misreporting and false assessment. and 3) the ecological switcher of the industrial system through the process of ‘super-industrialization’. responding to consumer pressure has adopted large number of green measures. These are a far reaching conversion of the economy to harmonize it with ecological principles. 2) the construction of industrial society. The ecological modernization is in favor of large-scale restructuring of production-consumption cycles to be accomplished through the use of new. an industrial society develops in three phases: 1) the industrialization breakthrough. Currently the advocates of the theory claim that capitalism has evolved in a greener direction or ‘responsible capitalism’.

like a very hot summer. terrain. ice storms. The climate of a location is affected by its latitude. 1. winds.1. is the average of weather over time and space. and altitude. flooding. sleet. Climates can be classified according to the average and the typical ranges of different variables.1. Weather There are really a lot of components to weather. which is the present condition of these elements and their variations over shorter periods. atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods. excessive heat. 15 | P a g e . rain. heat waves and more. like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms. cloud cover. Climate and Weather C. atmospheric pressure. as well as nearby water bodies and their currents. taking into consideration the variability in time of these averaged quantities. day-to-day. Climate Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature. thunderstorms. hydrosphere. hour-to-hour.4. however.4. rainfall.It is typically characterized in terms of suitable averages of the climate system over periods of a month or more. weather can change from minute-to-minute. hail. The difference between weather and climate is that weather consists of the short-term (minutes to months) changes in the atmosphere. and season-to-season.1. wind. most commonly temperature and precipitation.1. A region's climate is generated by the climate system. In most places.1.4.3. Climate can be contrasted to weather. An easy way to remember the difference is that climate is what you expect. snow. Weather includes sunshine. humidity. An example climatic classification is the Bergeron and Spatial Synoptic Classification systems that focus on the origin of air masses that define the climate of a region. and biosphere. mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities. freezing rain. and weather is what you get. land surface. which has five components: Atmosphere. blizzards.Weather is basically the way the atmosphere is behaving. steady rains from a cold front or warm front. Climate Change 1. Climate. D.

 Climate Change 16 | P a g e .

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