Saturday, May 14, 2011

Is environmental concern just a first world, middle class concept?

As the title suggests there is some belief that concern for the environment (and things that fall under this umbrella term) is just something the middle class, wealthy and first world countries can be concerned about. I have mixed feelings about this but came to some realisation the other day that if you're fighting hard to put food on the table and provide clothing and shelter for your family, the fact that there is a hole in the ozone layer, the soil from productive farmlands is running in the ocean, the climate is warming, etc, etc is really of little concern to you.

I think this is an important frame when considering the environment, other people's impacts and their ability to address these and also how you approach such concepts with other people. If you want to bring awareness of environmental impacts and betterment for future generations to other people of different backgrounds, ethics, wealth, race, country, etc you have to have an awareness of other people's circumstances.

Asking people to buy organic, fair-trade, locally produced food or other goods and services may not be an appropriate way for all people to address their environmental footprint or not meet their relevant circumstances. Perhaps alternative approaches relate to teaching people about soil conservation, appropriate farming techniques, how to address government, working with their systems and circumstances to make a difference. It just might be a different approach to the one that you take in your home, neighbourhood or country but doesn't make it any less worthy.

Obviously there is a bucket load of environmental issues and this concept is likely to be applicable to them all, just perhaps with different approaches (isn't that the key message). Food for thought. Pin It

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