Political Ecology can be defined as the politics of the environment which incorporates many disciplines including geography, anthropology, sociology, development studies and environmental history. It emphasises the relationship between politics, economics and nature.

There are five main fields within Political Ecology which make it one of the most complex doctrines in relation to the environment. My interests are with the human subject, identity, political objects, conflict and exclusion which collectively fall under the term of environmental justice. I am particularly interested in consumption and the individual and how mind sets and culture feed into the excessive rate of consumption in the ‘free world’, especially my own culture.

The recent media coverage on single use plastic waste can be used as evidence of an attempt to change consumer mind sets on their patterns of consumption. I’m not convinced this will be enough as images of a polluted oceans dominate our televisions screens. My fear is this will be counter productive. What is needed is the beauty that is at threat of destruction, not just in our oceans but our forests too, the clean air we need breathe and the water that is a human right. A recent news report of a young girl who walked to school on the south circular (one of London’s busiest roads), who died from an asthma attack is a stark reminder of how dirty our air really is.

 

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