Ecological World Views

Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Blog, Environmental Issues | Comments

Ecological World Views

By HYDER OWAINATI  Published May 1, 2012

Exploring an Environmental Mindset

In explaining my worldview on the environment I must first explicitly state that the core principle of my perspective involves acknowledging the fact that there is a severe environmental problem currently being faced attributed solely to human activities. We as human beings have exploited and harvested natural resources without restraint. This has led to severe environmental degradation and a disruption of the natural balance of the Earth. Consequently, this involves acknowledging human beings and nature as two distinct entities that are linked solely by the fact that we share a common living space – our planet. Human beings have essentially conquered nature solely to serve our needs whereby we are no longer a component that contributes to a natural balance but rather one that helps disturb it. In addition, my worldview is based on the principle that environmentalism and efforts to preserve the Earth are aimed at maintaining our existence as a species rather than for saving our natural ecosystem. Essentially, we must develop a system that allows us as humans to contribute to less distortion to the natural processes of our planet. This involves utilizing education and modern technologies to develop a more controlled and efficient model of economic growth to achieve goals of sustainability, enduring short-term losses for long-term gains. Green building-technologies, increased utilization of renewable resources as well as expansion of public transportation facilities are achievable steps that must be undertaken. Governing authorities in developed societies must ensure such activities are assumed through legislation, which requires increased transparency and regulation of corporate activities. Some believe government regulation will lead to major disruptions in economic activity as well as a more utilitarian government, however, a shift to more regulated governing systems can be achieved while maintaining freedoms. Although freedom of unlimited consumption may be lost, freedom of speech, access to education and healthcare as well as freedom from discrimination can and should be maintained. In fact, the increased regulation of economic activities could not only result in an improvement in the environment but also lead to a decreased disparity of social classes reminiscent of some countries (such as in Sweden). Allowing corporations to act freely in order to attain maximum economic benefits is a model that will not achieve long-term benefit and cannot be maintained.

However, it must be acknowledged that while there are significant negative ecological effects resulting from our current fossil-fuel dependent systems, it has allowed for radical advances and progress in every aspect of our contemporary society. The development of technologies related to the production of food, automobiles, computers, healthcare, just to mention a few, are products that have produced huge advantages to our lives which have not only allowed us to conquer the nature environment but the very concepts of space and time. Yet, if we continue with this model we will globally suffer from severe long-term consequences that will help towards our destruction of our many achievements as a species. Conspicuous consumption of fossil fuels, massive deforestation and the annihilation of much of the natural landscape due to urban sprawl and billions of tons of man-made waste lead to long-term ecological consequences.

My worldview of utilizing education and modern technologies to develop an efficient model of economic growth is largely credited to my father. As an engineer and environmentalist he has always explained­­­­­ to me that money and consumption are not the roots of happiness. He emphasized the importance of sustainability and how it can yield social, economic and environmental benefits that can be preserved over time, avoiding the instability of the modern economic system and the social harm it can often produce. By employing technologies that benefit from local natural advantages, such as solar energy in the Middle East and employing new strategies (such as smart growth, which limits urban sprawl in cities) large steps can be taken to ensure that future generations do not suffer from consequences derived from the activities of their predecessors.

I do believe that in order to achieve considerable progress in confronting and tackling the ecological crisis we currently face, serious transformations in our world views must take place.

Market capitalism and commodities have become the means to how much of contemporary first-world societies conceptualize and interpret the world around them (Loy 278). Commodities have evolved to become inanimate objects that increasingly capture our love and attention. The closer we attach ourselves to such material goods, the further disconnected we are as human beings and the more removed we are from our natural environment. Our consumerist culture has led to an exponential spike in demand of material products, greater exploitation of resources as well as an evasion from sustainable practices. Our natural ecosystems are suffering as a direct consequence of our actions; whereby we must change how we as human beings conceive and value our world in order to alleviate our negative influences on the environment.

Nevertheless, as coined by Weiming, I believe that our culture is currently experiencing an enlightenment movement in the field of (Weiming 1). We are collectively grasping the implications of our activities in greater numbers. Progressive ideas are increasingly exchanged through discourse, exposing the reality that our planet has a limited carrying capacity that  environmentalism cannot support our current model of ever expanding economic growth. In accordance with the Tao of Liberation, resistance by communities against the domineering industrialist worldview does exist, stressing ideas of environmental justice and equity (Hathaway & Boff 58). Opposing outlooks that concede the everyday loss of extensive areas of forestland and fossil fuels – requiring thousand of years to be naturally incarnated (Hathaway & Boff 20) – in order to supply the unquenchable human demands motivated by existing world views and misguided values. Sustainable practices can allow for manageable growth where people become far more interconnected, rather than divided according to the commodities they own and the privileges that they enjoy. A healthier planet and people can be achieved through a change in world views.


  • Loy, David R. “The Religion of the Market.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 1997. Web
  • Weiming, Tu. “Beyond the Enlightenment Mentality: The Humanistic Spirit in the 21st Century.” Zhejiang University and Harvard University, 2009. Web.
  • Hathaway, and Boff. “The Tao of Liberation: Unmasking a Pathological System.” 2009. Web.







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