The Ecological Concept of Resilience: Problem with Overconsumption, Deforestation, Pollution

The climate of our planet changes from time to time. Most of the changes happened due to human activities. These changes lead to different devastating consequences for the world ecosystem. Climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, changes in the hydrological cycle, biodiversity loss, natural resource depletion, and deforestation become the most environmental concerns issues. With the ever-growing affair, the word “sustainability” become a buzzword. If we want to understand sustainability it is necessary to understand the formation and development of the concept of sustainability. Sustainability means planning for the future and avoiding all the threats that put our future generation in danger.

The early modernity during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which began with protecting forests by analysis of indigenous society from Easter Island to the Maya for understanding when this society collapsed. This was the time when many societies face problems with soil erosion, deforestation, urban air pollution, and desertification. In Europe, a lot of deforestation occurs during this time. Michel Williams estimated that during 1700-1850 this time European cut 25 million hectares of woodland and 40 million hectares of grassland. The first consciousness occurs by John Evelyn in his book Sylva where he gave information about tree species and the conservation process. Carlowitz who worked in the mining industry in Saxony, understand the relationship between local industry and timber and the fact that if deforestation was not stopped then collapse was created. Carlowitz's book, “Sylviculture oecomica”, which gave vast information about strategies for yield forestry, mismanagement, causes of deforestation, and natural resource depletion. The sustainability of Carlowitzs book aimed to save Europe from economic and social disaster. According to Grober word, Carlowitz sketches the modern sustainability discourse. Sustainability which is a balance of three pillars environment, economy, and society which were found in Carlowitz's study where he showed care about trees mean environment, discussing industry means economy, and wealth and power of the Saxon elite means society. So the concept of sustainability, the three Es from the beginning: economy, social and ecological sustainability. Germany's adapts forest management dates back to the 1760s.

By the mid-nineteenth century, the free-trade economy emerged in Europe. The ecological and demographic crisis that we are facing today is started from the industrial revolution which is created by mismanagement of industrial pollution, use of fossil fuels,s and deforestation. The use of technology makes people live longer, on the other hand, destroys the global ecosystem and creates climate change. The industrial revolution creates a huge income gap between the rich county and developed countries which create global inequality. There was much writing which informs people that simply living was much more sustainable then using a lot of technology. According to Friedrich Engle by the industrial revolution which creates changes in norms, laws, and structure as a result worker class suffer the most. Engels was the first writer who rises awareness about unsustainability and health issue that is created by industrialization. Thomas Malthus, Johns Stuart Mills, David Recardo, and William Stanley Jevenson also wrote about the negative impact of industrialization growth.

During 1960 -1970 the main focus goes on pollution which is created by human activity which as bad impacts on the human body and ecosystem. In Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring where he wrote about toxic pesticide use in agricultural land which make huge changes in government policy for banning or limiting the use of toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals flow through the ecosystem and by taking toxic water and food every life of the earth is affected. Because of this chemical humans are affected by cancer. In the human body, DDT is found by taking beef. Not only human DDT is also found in the bird's body which thinning of eggshell so eventually in effects maturation. by 1995 all the chemicals are discussed in Silent Spring had banned in the United State and in the western world. Paul R. Ehrlich's book, 1968 The Population Bomb where he mentions the threat of famine, war, starvation, and catastrophe environmental destruction, and science and technology can be fixed this problem. He also raises awareness about the overpopulation problem. He inspires the Zero Population Growth organization which is created for stabilizing the world population at a sustainable level. “Silent Spring” and “The Population Bomb” bothe books raised public awareness of the linkage between the three Es systems. At the beginning of 1970, the overconsumption of fishing and the El Nino phenomena created economic, social, and ecological disasters. In developing countries, deforestation, soil erosion, and soil degradation have interacted with poverty. the world is divided into rich welfare states and poor developing countries. Economic insecurity and inequality created political and social instability and environmental problems. Social insurance began in Europe in the 19th century and its aim was to create economic security and social and political stability.

The World watch Institution, the Rocky Mountain Institution, and the United Nation introduced sustainability between 1970 and the 1990s. many scholars described what is a sustainable society, and what it looks like. In this period the three Es become the model of sustainability. The process of sustainability is slow but successful. At the beginning of 1970, the UN was involved in the sound use of the environment, and in 1972 the UN make a conference where the sustainable concept was briefly discussed. In 1980 UNEP organized the International Union for the conversation of Nature (IUCN) where 700 scientists from 100 countries involving writing “help advance the achievement of sustainable development through the conservation of living resources”, which is the first international document about sustainable development and it shows environmental consciousness by stick protection and also maintains important ecological processes to using sustainable use of species and ecosystem. In 1987 there was another sustainable development occurred by Brundtland's report also known as Our Common Future which defines how people can meet their social needs without hampering the future generation's needs and it tries to develop the concern between the three Es system. Aldo Leopold, founder of wildlife management who also formulated sustainability as a fair distribution between the present and future generations. He was the first who described the multidimensional character of ecosystem interaction between organisms. this is the aspect of biological conversation and practice.

At the present time, many steps have been taken for sustainability. The concept of sustainability begins with forest management and the 1960 to 1970 trend toward ecological overshoot. The focus on energy consumption, population growth, harmful ecosystem, and agricultural system. These issues were also addressed in the present time with many other concerns. Education, health, urbanization, architecture, transportation, and energy power, all are connected to sustainability. Numerous types of methods and tools are used for measuring sustainability, for example, Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA), Carbon Footprint, Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA), Energy Return on Investment (EROI), UN Human Development Index (HDI), and the Human Poverty Index (HPI). Several types of degrees and training programs started to grow to teach these new methods and measurement tools. Some potential instances toward sustainability are the organic industry and organic labeling, in 2010, 11% of fruit and vegetables sold in the United States were organic. From 2008 to 2010 the growth rate of LEED-certified buildings was 14% which means a reduction of carbon dioxide emission. The challenge of the twenty-first century is to discover sustainable ways to power our society without using fossil fuels. In 2008, 12.9% of energy is produced from renewable resources. Most of the renewable resources are biomass, hydropower, wind, ocean energy, and solar power. According to IPCC, from 2008 to 2009, approximately 300GW of electricity was produced by using renewable energy.

The growing problems for our future are climate change, greenhouse emission, destroying the biosphere, soil erosion, species extinction, ecological problem, resource shortage, and the gap between rich and poor, and all this concern needs attention otherwise there will be devastating consequences. For a growing sustainable society, many thinkers have a vision for low carbon production, a power down, and an ecologically sound economy. The challenge for our green future not only creates new ideas but also makes it happen. The ecological concept of resilience means coping with present conditions and planning for the future by ensuring genetic diversity in our agriculture system, recycling waste, low rate consumption of resources, etc. Jeffery Sachs showed that climate change will affect the entire world, maybe it is not affected in the same time, so developed countries should help the developing country which could create global stability. Overconsumption needs to be stopped and must adopt an energy-decent society which has low consumption.


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07 July 2022
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