Sunday, March 20, 2011

Whose nature?

When we discuss environmental destruction. we should keep in mind that exploitation of nature is also a question of whose nature. Different groups are affected by destruction of nature in different ways, and normally nature of the weaker is destroyed while the nature of the rich is preserved. This leads some to believe that the rich "care more" for the environment or that it is first when there is a certain wealth that humans "can afford" to care about nature, but this mixes up cause and effect to a large extent. The rich can exploit the nature of the poor and even export their waste to the poor, while the poor has no other option than exploitation of nature, be it in the form or their nature resources or in the form of their own labour. There are more "stuff" moving to the rich from the poor than the other way around; many dirty industries have moved to poor countries. To some extent the whole trick of modern civilization is about exploitation of nature; exploitation of historical production, of which fossil fuel is the primary example; exploitation of the future nature, by dumping waste. But it is also the history of a few people exploiting many other people. The fight for saving the environment and for a more just world are therefore intrinsically linked, it is basically the same fight.

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