Science, Society and Environment
Application of Fox’s continuum values and their implications based on relationship between nature and society
Science, society, and environment are three components of a person’s life. No matter what part of the world an individual lives in, he or she will experience science, have a certain environment and a society all around him. These three components are also embedded within an individual. An individual forms society along with other individuals while simultaneously creating an environment by combining the society with nature.
Nature and Society
It wouldn’t be wrong to state that human society contrasts nature. In order for a human society to flourish and develop, nature has to be exploited. Exploitation of nature means benefits to human society in form of natural and other resources that are solely dependent on Mother Nature. While the two entities are largely at contrast, it is very important for the society to behave as a part of nature for its survival.
To develop a better understanding of nature and society, it is important to understand both nature and society individually. Nature does not only comprise of the world that we live in, it comprises of the whole universe. There are parts of nature that are exposed to us and then there are other parts of nature that still remain a secret. Nature that has been exposed about is referred to as nature that is known to us and nature that has not been exposed yet is nature that is unknown to us (Nan-Sheng & Guangwu, 2012). Another category is of nature that is somewhat known to us such as starts, constellations etc. Their existence is observed but details remain undisclosed. Nature that is known to us is further divided into three parts that are:
Mother Nature that refers to nature that has been discovered by man but existed naturally such as moon, mountains, etc. (Nan-Sheng & Guangwu, 2012).
Humanized Nature that refers to nature that is being exploited by man for his benefits such as agricultural products, orchards etc. (Nan-Sheng & Guangwu, 2012).
Last but not the least Man-Made Nature, this can be referred to as artificial nature, something that is made from components of nature but did not exist naturally such as vehicles, machinery etc. (Nan-Sheng & Guangwu, 2012).
It is now important to develop a basic understanding of society as well. Society is also divided into three forms that are:
Productive forces — Forces that exploit nature (Nan-Sheng & Guangwu, 2012).
Productive relations — Intermediary between the productive forces and the super structure (Nan-Sheng & Guangwu, 2012)
Super structure — Structure that forms an overall human society (Nan-Sheng & Guangwu, 2012).
Society is inherently dependent upon nature for its survival. However it would not be wrong to state that the relationship is two-fold due to the fact that although society is continuously exploiting nature by conquering it for its survival and benefits, it is continuously influenced by nature during the process of development. Without nature, the society could not progress or even form due and without society mankind’s survival will be next to impossible. Society is also capable of damaging nature that, in the long run, will be fatal for the society itself.
Relationship between nature and society is prevalent since the beginning of life. It started with mankind forming groups to hunt for food and progressed into what we call today as civilization. It would be foolish to single out any of these entities as both of them are interdependent.
Identifying an Environmental Issue in Australia
Australia is a beautiful country but unfortunately suffers from a vast range of environmental problems. However, one of the major environmental issues that Australia is currently facing is that of deforestation. The chosen environmental issue is deforestation because deforestation not only causes a decrease in the forests but also has a negative impact on the water. It is important to note here that Australia is already suffering from a lot of water security problems. An additional issue related to deforestation is that a forest once cut leaves the soil infertile. Australian soil rarely has the ability to re-grow.
To assess the size of the impact that deforestation has caused in Australia, it is important to know that more than 7% of Australia’s agricultural land has been negatively affected by deforestation.
Applying Fox’s Continuum to the Environmental Issue
Basically Fox’s continuum is a continuum that maps environmental issues in accordance with what various kinds of environment philosophies. Environment philosophies have been derived to develop a better understanding of what environment actually is, how it affects our society and how it affects nature. These philosophies also consider the interlinked relationship between society, nature and the environment as discussed earlier in the paper. To know how the fox’s continuum will be applied to the environmental issue of deforestation, it is important to understand all the philosophies described and the continuum and to understand the continuum as a whole. The figure of the continuum is drawn below.
So based on Fox’s continuum, there are four environmental philosophies that are discussed below in detail.
Instrumentalism is an environmental philosophy that is anthropocentric i.e. more human centered. This philosophy has its strong beliefs in the importance of human beings and grants them the right to have unrestricted access to the resources available. The philosophy also stresses upon the fact that nature is robust but on the other hand it considers human beings as the king of all species and the rest as subordinates.
This philosophy basically stresses upon the complexity of nature and the fact that even though resources are there to be exploited, they must be managed and used in a way to provide maximum yield or output for the human beings while avoiding the threat of scarcity of resources. It would not be wrong to state that this philosophy is in line with the management principles of business. It is also important to note here that this philosophy is also human centered / anthropocentric philosophy.
While moving towards this philosophy, we will find that the focus has now been shifted to nature. This philosophy is eco-centric or nature centered philosophy. Although it doesn’t deny the importance of human beings, it focuses on the fact that human beings are a part of nature and other beings such as animals and plants etc. also have due importance for the human beings in order to sustain the human survival. As mentioned earlier in the paper, if a society of human beings has to survive it has to adjust to the nature. Human beings exist in natural systems that work independently of their needs. Therefore, even though nature is exploitable for human interest it is important for humans to alter themselves according to the natural systems, because the fact remains; only the fittest will survive.
This philosophy is the extreme of eco-centrism and nature centrism. It can also be referred to as green spirituality because the philosophy stresses upon the transformation of our consciousness to sustain and identify with the nature. The philosophy highlights a hidden fact that if human beings are violent to nature, they are actually being violent to themselves due to the reason that nature is actually acting as a system that protects them and provides them with resources to help them survive. The philosophy stresses upon the need to respect nature due to its importance in human lives.
To apply the continuum to deforestation, we have to consider the timeline. Deforestation taking place highlights the human centered environmental philosophy, instrumentalism. Due to need of land or other personal needs, people start cutting forests regardless of the after effects. The implications of this will be discussed later in the paper. Solution to deforestation being sought proves that we are advancing towards the eco-centric philosophies. However, it’s not a jump, the first step was moving towards Managerialism and then to Intrinsic Rights and finally to the Deep Ecology. The environmental issue hasn’t completely reached the deep ecology yet.
Implications of Fox’s Continuum of Values
The implications of Fox’s Continuum values are discussed in detail for each philosophy below.
Due to instrumentalism prevailing in the minds of the Australian citizens, deforestation took place due to which the Australian agricultural land and water resources suffered greatly. The people believed in exploitation of nature or nature’s resources regardless of the fact that in doing so their lives will be affected negatively in the long run and their homeland will be severely destroyed.
The age of realization, when people began realizing that deforestation will ultimately lead to lack of natural resources is when the people started believing in the environmental philosophy of Managerialism. They still believed in exploitation of resources for their personal benefits but they also believe in management of exploitation of the resources so that they can use the resources for their benefits for a longer period of time.
The age of…