Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Relationship Between Culture and Pollution

by Anton Antonio
June 7, 2015

Most environmental problems are anthropogenic (meaning: man-made) and products of man’s activities.  However, environmental problems can also be caused by culture… man’s traditional beliefs and attitude and society’s values system.  The development of certain cultural traits is rooted and heavily influence by man’s need to survive.  The need to survive, on the other hand, compelled man to control nature.  Domesticating fauna and flora during the Neolithic Age is proof of man’s desire to conquer the natural world.

Man’s discovery of fire is the element that brought about the early beginnings of pollution.  Advances in technology, especially during the industrial revolution, moved the production of pollution even further and faster.  The rise of science and technology in the 18th Century had little concern for the environment as the greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change were still not in the consciousness of man.  Modern economics and capitalism, which are based on profits as the primary consideration and motivation, did more harm and damage to the environment and natural resources utilization.  And as all these culture-building activities continued, pollution also continued to increase.

For a better understanding of the relationship between culture and pollution, the following articles may be worth reading:
  1. "Acculturation” by Antonio, A. C. (2015)
  2. “Cultural Assimilation” by Antonio, A. C. (2014)
  3. “Cultural Determinism” by Antonio, A. C. (2015)
  4.  “Culture and Environment” by Antonio, A. C. (2014)
  5.  “Culture and Society” by Antonio, A. C. (2014)
  6. “Culture: An Adaptive Mechanism” by Antonio, A. C. (2015)
  7.  “Effects of Pollutants” by Antonio, A. C. (2014)
  8. “Interrelated Component Parts of Cultures” by Antonio, A. C. (2014)
  9. “Pollution” by Antonio, A. C. (2014)
  10. “Significance of Culture” by Antonio, A. C. (2015).

The concept of sustainable development introduced in the last decade of the 20th Century has significantly changed worldviews on human responsibility towards the environment.  Such paradigm shift has also triggered a change in the cultural systems all over the world.  But changing cultures should translate to real changes in the way people treat Mother Earth.  If not, pro-environmental mindsets like this will be useless narratives about the relationship between culture and pollution.

Just my little thoughts…

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