ON ENVIRONMENTALISM AND GREEN THINKING

ON ENVIRONMENTALISM AND GREEN THINKING

The mental transformations created by the Industrial Revolution and thoughts that came with the Enlightenment bring the idea that it can be imposed on nature by means of instrumentalizing the mind and that the nature is a resource store and also legitimize nature destroyed, exploited, make it possible wholesale destruction by the development of nuclear weapons, environmental pollution causing mass deaths and relation among all these problems and consumption-society encouraged with production-consumption patterns, provision of the modern society changing the individual and social life has accelerated the processes of alienation by means of existing technologies, speeding up the process of degradation of ecological balance and the depletion of local energy resources.

Along with the the destruction of nature also laid the ground forthe environment-sensitive social movements. Although there have been views of respect for nature throughout history, that environmental problems enter the policy agenda was only at the end of 1960s. We can say that the environmental movements as a reaction against industrial society and problems caused by it are primarily based on the 68 movements. The Hippies' philosophy of romantic return to the nature, uprising of the 1968 student movement against the advanced industrial society and its values are one of the most important sources of the environmentalist approach. People have become more sensitive about the environment; these initiatives, which emerged only as civil movements in the beginning, have gradually entered the process of politicization.

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1968 Movements created awareness and reaction about "Environmentalism”

If it is mentioned the process on green movement’s development as a political party; in England, the establishment of the Green Party is based on the party called "People" established in 1973. Later in 1985 the name of the party has changed as the "Green Party". In the Federal Republic of Germany, Die Grünen (Greens) was established in 1980. The German Greens who entered the 1983 "Bundestag" elections obtained 28 seats in the federal parliament with 5.6 % of the vote. This is regarded as a touchstone in the political scene of the Green movement.

The Green movement in Turkey has also become swiftly politicized and in the years that can be said very early phase of the green parties in Europe, in 1988 it accelerated with the establishment of the Green Party; but a successful process has not been able to develop since the political structure of Turkey has not reached a suitable level of life for democracy culture necessary for developing Green Movement.[1]

The concept of "environmentalism" is considered on the basis of two main ideas as a view that incorporates environmentalism as an ideology into a separate field from other ideologies, and a view that puts environmentalism into a more instrumental qualification that other ideologies can internalize. The first view is based on the concept of "dark green" or "radical green", which is called "green ideology" or "ecologism", and the other view is an instrumental viewpoint based on more technological developments in the capitalist system to improve system’s functioning. This latter view is also referred to as "environmentalism". Environmentalism is more about protection, storage and conservation of nature and environment. Environmentalists are not considered as "green" because in essence they are not opposed to industrialism.[2]

At the basis of the "green movement" lies ecological thought; The concept of "ecology" was first proposed by Ernest Heackle. Together with ecology science, natural equilibrium and the protection of natural beings are emphasized. The history of ecology is built by thoughts of scientists of the 19th century who base their thinking on Malthus's famous population argument. The importance of this approach, which is described as conservative approach, from the viewpoint of the green movement is that emphasizing the scarcity of resources. Malthus’s famous argument, despite the increase of population in the geometric sequence, nutrients increase in the form of arithmetic sequence, also plays a central role in the green theory.

The report "The Limits to Growth" presented to the Club of Rome also provided ecologic materials by examining the relationship between industrial growth and environmental problems and the events of depletion of natural resources in terms of population, third world and resources

The "ideology" concept is eschewed by some of the advocates of the green movement by considering the elements of the principle and values that constitute a definite foundation of the concept of "ideology", the unquestionable truths, and the elements of the state's ideological manipulation devices that restrict independent thought.

Porritt, who wrote the general election manifesto of the British Green Party, emphasizes the following: "There is no godpath requirement to say that the activities of a political party must be based on a fixed ideology. Even I write the manifestos of the Green Party it is even hard for me to say what our ideology is. Our policy, I think, is a fairly simple mix of pragmatism and idealism, common sense and power of sight. If this is an ideology, it is quite different from the ones that dominate our lives today. "[3]

Ideas that environmentalism is not an ideology, contrary to ecology, and debates in line with these ideas lead us to the question of what should be described as ideology. Ideology is one of the concepts that most profoundly infiltrate into the daily life of philosophy. Nevertheless, in almost every use of the term, the concept of ideology has different meanings. It will be briefly mentioned here because it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss what "ideology" is in the long run.

Çoban, focuses on the fact that there is a lack of methodology of environmentalism’s claim of being a different ideology than the existing ideologies, and that the relation of ideological elements of environmentalism are not shown, that is, the articulation of these elements. Again, Çoban points out that the thing that distinguishes the environmentalist ideology from the others is that it has its own formulation including design that combines these compounds to produce a different function. In another expression, environmentalism is different from other ideologies, which means that the point is the way in which it integrates within these elements.[4]

The authors who have developed ideas on green ideology like Dobson, are actually referring to the articulations on which Çoban focused. In Dobson's work there is even claims to offer a social prescription in the direction of "green ideology". It would deeply be a lacking assessment to evaluate the ideology by evaluating to what degree of it fits in with its basic, reduced, and most general definition.

Dobson makes a "core value" analogy between different ideologies. The two "main arteries" he uses for this purpose are liberalism and socialism. Liberalism has the concept of "freedom" as the core value, and socialism is the concept of "equality". Dobson also emphasizes that these ideology nuclei are open to debate, and even falsifiable. As an ideology, ecology claims that the core value is "ecocentricism". In fact, by putting eco-centering into the “center”, Dobson is trying to put a more ethical and philosophical axis reducing instrumental oppressionon of environmentalism on green politics in a sense.

As it is understood from Dobson’s efforts to explain the green ideology, there is a confusion over the goals of the green ideology beyond the question of articulation of the elements of the green ideology, as Çoban asserted. This issue is addressed in the evaluation section of this article.

Then, what are the elements that make up the Green Ideology?

ELEMENTS OF GREEN IDEOLOGY[5]

Eco-Centerist Thought: Eco-centrism is one of the basic principles of the green ideology. We see a structure of thought based on the concept of "Deep Ecology", which is ethically grounded by Arne Naess. Deep ecology precisely rejects anthropocentric dualism, which separates and differentiates nature and man from each other. It treats man and nature as parts of "one" and "whole". In this movement, it is supported that natural resources "have an intrinsic value ". Individuals based on this idea are the subject matter of reaching "ecological consciousness".

Limits to Growth: Green ideology questions industrial society, especially the phenomenon of glorifying the rise of production. The green approach generally agrees with the argument that industrial growth and population growth are reasons for approaching end of humanity. "The Limits to Growth" asserted by the Club of Rome became one of the pillars of ecology. According to this thesis, based on Malthus's famous population argument, advocates that the finite sources can not respond to eternal motives and that the pressure on the sources should be reduced by considering future generations. At this point, environmentalist ideology criticizes the socialist system as well as the capitalist system. The problem is related to the "growth economy", which is fundamental to both systems.

Ecological Society: In ecological society model,it is envisaged biomimetic models taking nature as an example emphasizing locality and small scale; a sense of harmony with nature and other living creatures, a balanced distribution of population on the whole earth, co-operative life and work, and a spontaneous solidarity. In this society it is a subject matter of a life design in which there is no arbitrary authority, no oppression, no coercion and no hierarchy, decisions are taken on compromise, direct democracy is applied and volunteerism is essential.

Science and Technology: Ecologists are not hostile to per se technology, and believe that various advanced technologies are fundamental to the development of an ecological society. It should be careful when using technology; and reducing consumption instead of recycling consumed should be the primary goal.

Green Economy: Green economic policy is about self-discipline and social justice. According to Porritt, the green economy points to the right choice between what we have now and what we need in the near future. Accordingly, it is a precondition that a broader redistribution of wealth, land and means of production, a more constructive, personally satisfying job opportunity, a more collaborative framework for all people, and a change of consumption habits. In the thought of ecology instead of production for change and profit, it is replaced by utilization of modes of the production and the production relations based on it.

Renewable Energy Use: The maximum use of renewable resources and the protection of non-renewable resources are important.

The Decentralized Administration: The Greens give a great importance to the subjects that the majority of today's economic and political activities should be reduced to a local scale and democratic participatory mechanisms work better at the local scale and emphasize on differences. In a green regime, decisions should not be taken from the upper level unless an urgent and comprehensive solution is required.

CONCLUSION

Ecologists criticize the phenomenon that man feels himself as if he were an existence out of nature. The green ideology shaped by “ecology” the basic philosophy of which bases on Haeckel's "monistic" “pantheist” view, opposes to the idea that, as being on Cartesian interpretation of Descartes, the human-nature relation based on the mind-body duality and the Newtonian "mechanical universe" but in green discourse human beings and nature are treated as if they were opposite to each other. If human beings are a part of nature and are to be evaluated in the context of environment-human relation in the "whole", should not human activities be evaluated in this regard?

Green Ideology, which bases itself on the thesis of the limit to growth, criticizes the concept of the Gross National Product (GDP) which the growth economy uses it as a measure of progress. It is stated that the Gross National Income has almost headed for the last roundup as a measure of progress and measures the goods and services produced in the money economy, many of which do not benefit people.[6] While the concept expressing growth in the economy like GNP is criticized on the one hand, alternative concepts based on the same principle as GNP are put forward. For example, it is mentioned a measurement called ANPs (adjusted national products) considering environmental and social costs. Then at this point will the greens make a mistake of measuring the immeasurable one which they criticize and monetary valuation of ecological values? It is also a different paradox to produce a solution that does not go beyond just revising the GNP model which they criticizes.

If it is mentioned about the “decentralized management” which is one of the basic arguments of the green ideology, it is said that when economic and political activities are reduced on a local scale, smaller and more independent, populated communities emphasized on diversification will emerge. In the process of coping with environmental problems, which is a big part of the green society ideal, to what extend “planning” and “co-ordination”matters needed to achieve long-term policies can be overcome in "green decentralized administration"?

One of the equations that must be resolved in the green thought is how people give up the material, social and political gains of what is now called "prosperity" that they have or want to have.

The guiding means for people to constitute an ecological society and the conditions for ecological awareness must be put in a clearer and more convincing manner. Otherwise, green thought criticized as utopian can not go beyond justifying this criticism.

REFERENCES:

Çoban, A., “Çevreciliğin İdeolojik Unsurlarının Eklemlenmesi”, Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Dergisi, Vol.57, No. 3, 2002.

Dobson, A., Ekolojizm, (çev.) C. Yücel, Yeni İnsan Yayınevi, İstanbul, 2016.

Ertuğ,, C., Yeşilden Griye Adım Adım Türkiye, İş Bank Yay., 1.Basım, İstanbul, 2001.

Porritt, J., Yeşil Politika, çev. A. Türker, Ayrıntı Yay., İstanbul, 1988.


[1] Ertuğ,, C., Yeşilden Griye Adım Adım Türkiye, İş Bank Yay., 1.Basım, İstanbul, 2001.

[2] Dobson, A., Ekolojizm, (çev.) C. Yücel, Yeni İnsan Yayınevi, İstanbul, 2016.

[3]Porritt, J., Yeşil Politika, çev. A. Türker, Ayrıntı Yay., İstanbul, 1988.

[4] Çoban, A., “Çevreciliğin İdeolojik Unsurlarının Eklemlenmesi”, Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Dergisi, Vol.57, No. 3, 2002.

[5] Dobson, A., Ekolojizm, (çev.) C. Yücel, Yeni İnsan Yayınevi, İstanbul, 2016.

[6] Porritt, J., Yeşil Politika, çev. A. Türker, Ayrıntı Yay., İstanbul, 1988.


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