An essay on political ecology

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Political Science, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


Introduction: Today, environment is globally facing extensive challenges including climate change and global warming, soil erosion, reduced biodiversity and hence lack of resilience and ecological balances. This has been caused by improper use of environmental resources in the context of economic growth and development based on imbalanced population growth, world market inequities and world economic patterns and also unfair distribution of wealth in the in the most part of the world particularly in the third world countries. In this respect two views, one based on western vision of development and other on the Marxist attitude have been evolved which brought up arguments and conflicts in political societies and developed conflict analysis and interpretations, related to the causes of the present environmental degradation and problems. In the late 1960s, which was a turning point, in attrition towards the global environment, these paradigms were also developed and resolutions based on the attention economic, social and political aspects were evolved. In that period different disciplines associated with ecological principles such as political ecology, political economy and environmental economy were structured and philosophical approaches on the interactive impact of human with environment was also introduced. On this respect with expansion of challenges related to the present world environment, analysis based on the political ecology and approaches for solving problems are needed. The purpose of this article is to analyze the global environmental challenges from the point of view of political ecology and present the existing views from the political and social dimensions in this field.
Material and methods: The nature of this type of studies are mainly based on the literature and documents available and also consultation with the experts. There for in this study this approach was employed and available integrated method was also taken into account. On the other hands since the study of political ecology is rather new availability of the appropriate documents and other related literature was a challenge.
Results and discussion: Now political views on the detrimental effects of human on the environment based on the ecological principles was the reason for development of political ecology. Basically, ecological science is a political one which is sometimes also called subversive science (Sears, 1964). In the early 1970s political analysts were tired of the interpretation of environmental problems, which were political but population inappropriate technology and weak management were accused for this, therefor in this respect political ecology was developed (Blaikie and Brookfield, 2015). With no doubt integration of natural and social sciences broadens our understanding of the need for sustainable development, but unfortunately the political side is normally ignored and practically ecology is depoliticized. Although sustainable development is a tight segment of the process of interrelationship between human and the environment, most scientific sources lacks political elements. Political ecology emphasizes on the political elements and emphasizes on the political actors, conditions and consequences, interplay of diverse social and political forces and their interrelationship with the environmental changes as the same role as ecological science plays in the interpretation of the relationship between the living organisms and their ecosystems.
Conclusions: for growth and development no matter what the views and ideological paradigms are, whether as a capitalism economy or Marxist prospective, today global environment is endangered with serious challenges. For facing these problems, a worldwide unity in policy and decision making is required whereby a so called "think globally act locally" principle could be achieved. On the other hand, approaches proposed should be holistic based on the ecological thoughts in the frame of the main components of society, economy and the environment.


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