Pol. Sci. 422
Conceptualizing Global Environmental Politics
This essay will respond to the central problem facing global environmental politics insofar as the resolution of such problems as global warming, the hole in the ozone layer, the loss of biodiversity, and many other transnational environmental issues rests upon some sort of consensus among extremely diverse groups. These are considered global problems not only because of their apocalyptic potential but they are also unique in that the "terrain where they occur [is] property that could be claimed by everyone or by no one. They [are] global also in that no nation [is] fortunate enough to be insulated from their effects"(Guha 139). From this worrisome background, the starting point of this essay begins with the question that Ramachandra Guha leaves the reader in his conclusion of the global history of environmentalism: he asks "one world or two?" In other words, Guha challenges the reader to wonder whether humanity will be able to cooperate on a global scale to avert environmental disaster, or if we will be forever mired in the North vs. South debate with "the industrialized and mainly affluent countries of the North [on one side] and the industrializing and mostly still-poor countries of the South [on the other side]"(Guha141). This essay will examine the ways that Guha has already worked towards constructing a theoretical consensus among global environmentalists with an aim towards conceptualizing what global cooperation might look like.
Take, for example, Guha's pairing of the environmentalism of India's Mahatma Gandhi
with the "back-to-the-land" movement in the "North." This is significant for two reasons. First, Guha argues that Gandhi
and the earliest of modern environmentalists in 19th century Britain are united by their shared disgust of the Industrial Revolution and a corresponding " focus on manual labor, [an] elevation of the village as the supreme form of human... [continues]
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