Bioregionalism is the phenomenon of understanding the process of environmental ecosystems in a way justifiable to the human cultures. It is a way of merging various human territories into what the universal territory holds in the form of global environment, which is only possible through human motivated effort towards environmental problem solving.
Environmental ecology has long before the Second World War has left reasons for us to manipulate the causes to study this subject. However, it occurred just after the anti-war peace movements of the post world war that the bioregional activists started realizing the hazards in the form of environmental crises caused by wars, human overpopulation, air and chemical pollution, and overconsumption.
The primary cause of our current environmental woes rests with the negation of bioregional process that we often do by not responding to the political and environment power relations of global economy. Bioregionalism requires a complete grasp of local and global integration of economic resources that in this era of capitalism should not have been ‘limited’.
By limited, I mean reserved talks that in this globalized era must not be encouraged. Unfortunately globalization does not go hand in hand with bioregionalism. Both are inversely proportional to each other’s needs and contribute to each other’s development respectively. For example, cheaper energy is not permitted by globalization and expensive energy is not allowed in bioregionalism.
So, we must remain open in our bioregional expressions to break the ice regarding what globalization has to offer us in context with policies and measures. What we are in our closed bioregions is not what today’s globalized era wants from us. In this manner we are isolated within what ecology does not want us to reckon. Isolated in terms of not integrating our ecological affiliations with that of our culture, or when we consider our ecosystem to be a separate entity, though it is not.
Our ecosystem is a part to be stemmed out of our larger landscape that means environmental activities like watershed, rainfalls, culture that makes us close to the nature, local community knowledge, environmental history, and climatic concerns. Environmental activities are not understood by us the way they are supposed to have been analyzed. This ignorant attitude has only left us in dark where habitat destruction is obvious in the longer run.
Thus, in order to preserve our environment and ecological stability, it is necessary to focus on the hazards that are caused by the “commercial, industrial and agricultural globalized developments, natural resource extraction, tourism and war, because all these initiate a new chain of ecological and cultural disruptions” (Mcginnis, 1999, p. 122).
In my opinion, the most significant aspect to analyze the threat of bioregionalism goes against the globalization phenomenon. If we talk about better health, we are not talking about the opportunities which in this case global health specialists are capitalizing on. Similarly, the more pollution factor, the least will be the cleanliness benefitting the global health trends. The more industrialization of the weapons of mass destruction, the more would be the production, the greater destruction caused by the warfare.
The concern arises why human warfare in this modernized age is a concern? Just because of the fact that we have chosen globalization over bioregionalism. We have put an end to all our communication modes along with the patience to bear aside. Since there is no communication understanding, we are more prompted to adopt the warring than to give in any room for peace.
Thus, weapons of mass destruction not only destroy humanity in the wake of warfare, but also disrupt our ecosystem. This is highlighted by many theories of globalization that asserts that our environmental problems possessing able solutions are not limited to overflow through national boundaries and borders.
Communication barrier with no understanding on either side is a common drawback that goes against bioregionalism. This applies to global climatic change, which is already unable to cooperate with our increased globalization trends, thus, leaving room for the water, air and environmental pollution.
The main philosophy behind bioregional assumption is the geographical characteristic that asks explanation of physiographic ‘boundaries.’ Unlike humanly sketched political borders, it is difficult to define a hierarchical legitimacy in halting the spread of environmental causes and issues. For example, pollution is difficult to be dealt with as long as there is human existence. Globalization extension beyond borders has given rise to the economic and political relationships with that of technological cause.
This on one hand has produced tremendous capitalist results, while on the other it is making global world a future plight for us, where everything on earth will be materialized. What would be left with us will be the destruction in the wake of greenhouse effect, climatic severity in the form of increased volcanic disruptions, and tsunamis.
What the globalized trend has made us today is not the answer to the problems of bioregionalism. Instead, globalization itself has raised the concerns that make environmental NGOs to rake over the environmental crises. Thus, it is not wise to turn a blind eye to “the physical realities of environmental, resource, and biodiversity issues by not considering natural divisions within physiographic regions” (Thayer, 2003, p. 19).
Globalization has given rise to environmental awareness, leading to think about the consequences of the international trade and environmental conservation. The role of transportation in the environmental crises management has helped us in thinking about the policies that govern ports.
Similarly, port areas are considered to be the “functional organization of activities and operations that are designed specifically to attain high standards of environmental protection and the goal of sustainable development” (Pinder & Slack, 2004, p. 191).
Effective environmental management in this era of globalization requires high tech based evidences on which to base upon the key decisions governing ecosystems. Such decisions must rest upon some criteria marked by the key performance indicators so as to ensure the achievement is reliable and practical.
Globalization has become so much of our daily lives that we cannot deem to assess our performance without reckoning its significance. Therefore, environmental practice requires effective monitoring procedures that do not negate globalization or transportation weaknesses that come in the way of globalization.
Instead, it requires assessing “both the efficacy of management and the quality of the environment itself, the trend that most of the seaports within Europe have been developing towards this level of environmental practice” (Ibid, p. 191). These trends are policy based answers to the growing threat of environmental concerns and technology based.
Policies that are helpful to limit the globalized effect of the increased machinery based needs. Technology, of course cannot be set apart from what the machine generated environmental performance can be monitored with the environmental management systems.
How does it work?
Each traffic controller whether seaport or airport is geographically unique for it geographically possess a central position in providing and maintaining a significant source of data for the commercial analysis. Furthermore, it is governed by a set of principles that are limited by the considerations of political ownership and culture. It is this political uniqueness that makes up legislation.
This is a clear indication of how the environmental management tools along with auditing machines are utilized in detecting the sartorial nature of specific circumstances that take place on every port and harbor. In order to avoid the risk factor, maximum assurance is to be taken by shaping up legislation driven policies and user friendly solutions.
Similar to the traffic controller is the concept of bioregionalism that does not go after a materialistic market. It underlies no hidden physical or economic motives to opt human resourcefulness in order to “respond to impending shortages and existing problems with new expedients that, after an adjustment period, leave us better off than before the problem arose” (McConnell, 1999).
In order to see about the ecological destruction of the machine based civilization, it is necessary to first analyze the disadvantages of globalization that goes beyond creating weapons for wars. War, economic crunches, and capitalist competition are some of the menace that globalization has brought to us.
So, first of all, it is necessary to settle down the regional issues that lie inside the territories. This indicates that the first attempt in resolving the bioregional issue is to place bioregional deracination, the concept that envisions the humanity as one, no discrimination among habitat.
No discrimination among habitat is further accompanied by a homeland, where habitats are free to transform into commercial, industrial and agricultural developments, but without ecological disruption. It is through the disruption caused by the globalization era that today we face so many plights to humanity that are themselves a freefall call in a disaster.
Our ecological system, our earth that is protecting us is being torn apart through our deeds and actions. Thanks to the violence of corporate globalization that has torn apart our ecological eco system and has combined with the war on earth. No alternatives are being thought of to cooperate and live with universal brotherhood because every effort to maintain peace and order in this world would be an effort against war.
That would mean market non-sustainability. No weapon market would be flourished and social and economic upheaval would be a common imperative. “These alternatives need to combine our making peace with the planet and our making peace among people from diverse cultures” (Albritton, 2004, p. 53). The reason is that we are dependant upon each other and it is not possible to root out the real terrorism, violence and war if we need to sustain bioregionalism in the world.
Securing the environmental and ecological conditions is what matters to secure our people’s fate. “People’s security does not lie in larger military budgets, bigger bombs and stronger police states. It lies in ecological and economic, cultural and political security. Rebuilding these multiple securities can recreate peace, justice and sustainability” (Albritton, 2004, p. 53).
The threat of war to bioregionalism requires that various legislative policies should be renewed encompassing punishment and accusation, in which culprits are being taken care of by international powers. What fans globalization is the prevalence of mafia-style economies, boosted under the threat of economic and cultural warfare proposed by international interventions?
This situation sketches out a gruesome political economy dependant upon its capability to phase in various sorts of intra-state wars. This can be seen in United States where a complex economic crunch witnesses a multidimensional interplay between its local, regional and international forces, but also in between its regional territories.
This situation in which a super power deems war as a necessary weapon has two reasons to figure out its economy. First of all the growing era of unemployment that keeps on growing with every passing day, and secondly the consequence that people has to bear with the deceased economy, the brain drain, commonly take place in third world countries.
This many believe is the general school of thought that “the age of globalization is characterized by a gradual erosion of state authority, as in an industrialized world this development can be associated with the liberal substitution of military strife by economic competition, this idea does not apply to the social reality in large parts of the world” (Jung, 2003, p. 2).
One might ask the link between the proposed topic ‘Bioregionalism’ and the political histories that we envisage in the form of contemporary globalization. There is a link that defines “environmental degradation to be a product of localized and bounded political economies and histories that are often dependent on biology and geography” (Mcginnis, 1999, p. 101).
So, if we wish to call upon the root causes of ecological destruction, we must see our ecological states and phases in context with the political economies and histories that reveal that whenever war had been chosen to be the ultimate solution of ‘securing a territory’ it only has resulted in a political and economic chaos.
Political histories are the best medium for providing us an insight of how to build a legislative framework or a policy guide for addressing the dilemmas of our planet earth. The problems are further aggravated by the ‘globalized phenomenon’ backed by the emergence of creating latest weapons of mass destruction. The revenue produced by the global market, instead of spending on the donations, is utilized in warfare in the name of ‘foreign military assistance’, thereby acting as a catalyst in war economies.
Is it feasible?
When the Second World War was over, a common perception that emerged in the public was about the magnificent advantages of science and technology. People get convinced that science and technology has been advanced to the extent where any limitations could be placed on the warring strategies and thing is possible in the wake of war.
This perception not only influenced the general public who remained aloof from the technological transformations at a global level, but was also felt by the governmental actions and policies. Every developed nation experienced such stimulations which arise at a result of the ‘baby boom’.
This generation went less skillful and knowledgeable in terms of ecology and was more interested in the dramatic wartime successes. The developments of laser weapons, radars, communication modes, antibiotics, and atomic bombs gave a unique understanding to the naive who believed that these advancements have been possible only through war like developments, and that it is good to secure the territories through nuclear strategies.
Soon the foundation of scientific understanding tumbled down when in every nook and cranny destructions of such weapons were witnessed. The final blow to the weapons was blown on the initiation of ‘war on terror’ where lessons were there to realize the economic and ecological devastation by the general public and government leaders.
Modern day ecological destruction is primarily due to increase in military weapons, arms, and ammunitions. Each year military budget keeps on increasing and comes up with scores of reasons to justify the significance of war.
This is not right to our ecosystems because war entrepreneurs in the context of present day ecological disturbances do not consider the notion that the zones of conflict are created by us. Regions do not consider that it is at the same local pace proliferating the national and global economic players who multiply their wealth by investing in the threat of peace at the cost of not only millions of lives, but at the cost of our earth’s disruption.
On the way to justify various excuses for promoting the military business, a new war ‘war against terror’ has been initiated. This on one hand eradicate the terrorists, on the other it creates theme at even greater speed. This illustrates the rate at which terrorists are alleviated, is doubled when they are investigated, thereby creating terrorists at a significant rate.
Thus, the analytical distinction between formal and informal economies is governed by all sorts of war and weaponry and the tools used in ‘war against terror’. This is further encouraged when anti-terror law enforcement gets the official internationalization stamp by various socio-political institutions, negating any bioregional strategies of their non-democratic allies.
A healthy community with least ecological threats is what is needed in the current society which has no room for any war. Thus, the ‘just war’ doctrine which suggests that “war must be controlled by a code forming a framework for evaluating decisions to kill for advantage and defence” (Klumpp, 2009) does not work any more. There is a need to think about emergence of the nation state which thinks about the ecological well being above all war and threatening states.
Environmentally, war is condemned and should be condemned at all levels. However, to many of socialists, negating war is a hopeless goal. I do not hold such opinion because we humans possess the ability to think about the hazards and destruction that the war causes. Instead of minimizing the environmental harm, we can think about the attempts to stop the root cause of war. That lies in open communication and coming straight to the problem.
Unlike “the military attempt to minimize civilian casualties and damage to the infrastructure (e.g. water supply, sewage treatment, power plants, hospitals, and other civil services) of the nation-state under attack” (Cairns, 2003) it is better to take necessary steps to put a halt on the global warfare phenomenon.
“The United Nations is processing more than US$70 billion in claims for environmental damage in the invasion of Kuwait through the Gulf War” (Cairns, 2003). That indicates the lesser destruction incur to ecology and our environment, the lower the cost for creating a wiped out economy.
Solution rests with the implementation of science in policy matters and policies in scientific matters. This can be illustrated through many examples of how it can be achieved to some extent. Environmental science should be analyzed and studies with the coalition of government policy.
“The creation of the Survey of the Coast in the early years of the nineteenth century stimulated the science and technology of geodesy; the resulting charting of the coastline and coastal waters led to the installation of aids to navigation and contributed to the growth of a profitable maritime industry” (Fleagle, 1999, p. 199).
A larger part of the process required the implementation of regulations that involved coastal shipping and the coordination of the working of the Coast Guard that went in hand in hand with the enforcement of legal jurisdictions.
Another illustration of the Signal Corps of 1870 reveal how public safety was considered as the priority in implementing the usage of telegraph system to transmit weather reports that later became National Weather Service. “Because these applications involve many national interests and the missions of several agencies, the Weather Service necessarily becomes engaged in policy issues requiring negotiations with other U.S. agencies and with international organizations and other countries” (Fleagle, 1999, p. 199).
This provides us a glimpse and explains how it could be possible if government policy discourage and support peace based reaching decisions, necessary to demote warfare. In order to promote ecological based scientific awareness, there is a need to ensure that policy decisions are based on institutional mechanisms. Following points should be considered to analyze the necessity of warfare, conducted by governmental support.
First, specification of national security missions; second, assessment of present ecological functions; third, assessment of impact of the war on ecology; fourth, the rate of ecological disruption between the expected and the unexpected; fifth, various modes of the resources likely to be involved in research; sixth, regulation controlling public and governmental concerns and the probability between negotiation and the rate of compromise.
So the policies must be devised in such a manner that prevents war at the utmost. Long term envisioning of future science policy is required which sees issues in the light of all possible advices and the lessons that have been learnt from the past, particularly from the war-torn societies.
Science and technology should be limited to produce only such machineries that are not a threat to human existence, not even at the cost of destroying in the name of national security. There is a need to ensure various advisory committees are being properly monitored with justification at every level.
Most significant is the need to understand the problems that are likely to appear when policies are implemented in the way to prevent war. This requires various measures such as introducing additional content in the syllabus of institute and universities to enable our youth see about the future global changes. This would enable them to have a broad spectrum of how we might encounter challenges in the next decades if effective measures were not implemented in the short span.
Thus, this is the time that we expect the same efficiency from our elected government to recognize the notion how much it is important to take action in putting halt to the coming global change. Institutional structure must be examined from top to bottom to sift out any defects and weaknesses it has in the course of implementing a renewed global change policy.
“Programs of environmental assessment should be established at universities and national laboratories with the support of the major environmental agencies and with coordination of the Science and Technology policy” (Fleagle, 1999, p. 218). This will make our youth understand how to cope up with the upcoming ecological challenges that are the consequences of science and technology.
Albritton Robert, Bell Shannon, Bell. R. John & Westra Richard. (2004). New Socialisms: Futures beyond Globalization: Routledge: New York.
Cairns Jr. John. (2003). War and Sustainability. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology. 10 (3), 185.
Fleagle G. Robert. (1999). Global Environmental Change: Interactions of Science, Policy, and Politics in the United States: Praeger Publishers: Westport, CT.
Jung Dietrich. (2003). Shadow Globalization, Ethnic Conflicts and New Wars: A Political Economy of Intra-State War: Routledge: London.
Klumpp. F, James. (2009). Argumentative Ecology. Argumentation and Advocacy. 45 (4), 183.
McConnell. R. A. (1999). Population, Environment Globalization and the Survival of Civilization. Mankind Quarterly, 40(2), 155.
Mcginnis, Michael Vincent. (1999). Bioregionalism: Routledge: London.
Pinder David & Slack Brian. (2004). Shipping and Ports in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Technological Change and the Environment: Routledge: New York.
Thayer, L. Robert. (2003). Lifeplace: Bioregional Thought and Practice: University of California Press: Berkeley, CA.