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Ecology as Political Radicalism




The conservation of the natural environment did not become a major element in practical politics until relatively recently. But only in recent years Ecology or Green parties have been represented in European legislatures and presented a political program. Governments have been involved with environmental issues from the earliest times. In England royal forests like the New Forest were protected as an economic and strategic resource (timber for the navy). In the United States the ‘unsettled’ lands of the west were viewed as federal property.

The green movement is unusual in deriving a philosophy from a scientific discipline. Ecology is the science that studies the relationship between organisms and their physical environment. The interdependencies between the different species on the planet and the impact of climatic and geological influences are clear to us but were not obvious to earlier generations. With the development of an industrial urban civilization, it has become clear that human beings are changing the environment in potentially dangerous ways.

During the Rio Earth Summit of June 1992 political leaders from all over the globe discussed world resources (especially non-renewable energy sources); the phenomenon of global warming; the dangers of chemical, biological and radiation pollution in the atmosphere and oceans; the destruction of animal and plant species. The various wings of the green movement see these problems as the dominant political agenda for humanity in the early twenty-first century.

Ecology or green campaigners usually suggest that both capitalist and communist ideologies are part of the problem. The ecology of the planet is reduced by commercial agriculture and industrial pollution. All issues from industrial investment and consumption to tourism can be viewed in an ecological light.

There are divisions within the movement: the romantics and the scientists. On the ‘romantic’ side, the stress is on back-to-nature ideas such as homeopathy, vegetarianism, naturism. On the ‘scientific’ side, the stress is on projections of economic and ecological disaster. There are new divisions: the ‘light anthropocentric’ that stresses the practical problems for human beings and concentrate on individual problems, and the ‘deep ecology’ that calls for a total change of attitude by humans to all other species.

There may be major problems in educating large electorates in the need for measures which are opposite to the consumerist trends of the modern world. As a result a lot of green political activism can be found in pressure group activity, not in political parties.

 

 

1 Give Ukrainian equivalents for the following words and expressions.

Natural environment, navy, interdependency, species, non-renewable, pollution, campaigner, homeopathy, naturism, disaster, pressure group.

 

2 Complete the sentences.

1. Governments have been ...

2. The conservation of the natural environment ...

3. The green movement ...

4. The ecology of the planet ...

5. The interdependencies between ...

6. The various wings ...

7. Ecology or green campaigners ...

8. There are new divisions ...

9. There may be major problems ...

10. All issues from ...

3 Comprehension questions.

1. What are Green and Ecology parties concerned with? What is their role in politics today?

2. What is the scientific basis for the green movement?

3. What wings are there in the green movement? What is the difference between those wings?

4. What problems do ecology and green campaigners try to solve? Who in their opinion is responsible for the current ecological situation?

5. Is green activism represented in many political parties?

 

4 Say if the following statements are true according to the text.

1. The conservation of the natural environment has always been a major element in practical politics.

2. Governments have always been interested in environmental issues.

3. The green movement is unusual.

4. Ecology is the science that studies the relationship between men and animals on the planet.

5. During the Rio Earth Summit of June 1992 political leaders from all over the globe discussed the policy of Green party.

6. Radiation, pollution in the atmosphere and oceans are global problems nowadays.

7. Ecology or green campaigners usually blame capitalist ideologies and support communism.

8. Green movement is unified.

9. ‘Deep ecology’ that calls for a total change of government.

10. Large electorates want to follow green movement and forget the consumerist trends of the modern world.

 

Fill in the blanks, using the topical vocabulary of the Unit.

 


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