Global environmental politics is a relatively new field of study within international relations that focuses on issues related to the interaction of humans and the natural world. As early as the mid-19th century, scholars wrote about the role of natural resources in global security and political economy. It was only in the 1980s and into the 1990s that global environmental politics began to establish itself as a distinct field, the focus of study expanded to include global environmental problems such as ozone depletion, climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and desertification. It has emerged as a centre of interdisciplinary work that integrates research from a range of fields, including geography, economics, history, law, biology, and numerous other subjects. The result is an intense series of academic debates in International Relations and cognate fields about what to study, for whom and with what policy implications for governance are broadly conceived.
1. Cultivable land is scarcely expanding around the world, while a significant amount of existing agricultural land is losing fertility. Fisheries have been overharvested and grasslands have been overgrazed. Water bodies have been depleted and polluted to such an extent that food production has been significantly hampered.
2. According to the United Nations Development Programme’s HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2016, 663 million people in developing countries lack access to safe water and 2.4 billion lack access to sanitation, resulting in the deaths of more than 3 million children each year.
3. Natural forests, which help to stabilise the climate, moderate water supplies, and house the majority of the planet’s biodiversity on land, are being cut down and people are being displaced. The destruction of habitat in species-rich areas contributes to the ongoing loss of biodiversity.
4. Coastal pollution too is increasing globally. Though the open ocean is comparatively clean, the coastal waters are progressively being impure mostly because of land-based activities. If unchecked, intensive human settlement of coastal zones across the world can result in additional deterioration within the quality of the marine environment.
5. A steady decline in the total amount of ozone in the Earth’s stratosphere (commonly referred to as the ozone hole) poses a real danger to ecosystems and human health.
AWARENESS & APPROACH
The developing awareness on environmental problems in the area of world politics turned firmly consolidated at United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. This was also called the Earth Summit and was attended by 170 states.
The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) also provides that the parties should act to protect the climate system “based on equity and following their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” The largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries. It was also acknowledged that per capita emissions in developing countries are still relatively low. India, China and other developing countries were, therefore, exempted from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol 1997 is an international agreement setting targets for industrialised countries to cut their greenhouses gas(carbon dioxide, methane, hydro-fluoro carbons, etc.) emissions, which was agreed in Kyoto, Japan, based on principles set out in UNFCCC.
These kinds of movements are the most vibrant, diverse, and powerful social movements across the globe today, as they raise new ideas and long term visions of what we should do and what we should not do in our individual and collective lives.
The forest movements of the South, in Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, continental Africa and India are faced with enormous pressures. The Philippines, where a vast network of groups and organizations campaigned against the Western Mining Corporation, an Australian-based multinational company.
Increasingly anti-dam movements are pro-river movements for more sustainable and equitable management of river systems and valleys. The first anti-dam movement was launched in the North in the 1980s, namely, the campaign to save the Franklin River and its surrounding forests in Australia.
Global environmental politics is a two-dimensional figure in which environmentalists want to safeguard the environment and government representatives want to develop their country, which is impossible without causing some level of environmental damage. As a result, we have highlighted the issues in this post and hope that all readers would do their part to help the environment. We hope that environmentalists and politicians can reach a common ground where they can both save and thrive.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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