Social Ecology: A look at humanity and nature

Social Ecology: A look at humanity and nature

The world of the 21st century faces the ruins of its past and present. War has become a normal state, poverty and hunger marginal news that no longer merit headlines. Many people have lost the meaning and significance of being human, and the word society means only isolated individuals subsumed under a state that manages their interpersonal relationships. Given these developments, environmental issues seem to be secondary – incidental to many, something for environmentalists to worry about.

But the ecological crisis has become the most urgent challenge of our time, because it touches and impacts all areas of society. The ecosystem has been wrecked to such an extent that much of the damage has become irreversible. A large part of life, both human and natural, has entered a stage of crisis. On this note, Abdullah Öcalan writes: "A policy that promises salvation from the present crisis can only lead to a proper social system if it is ecological.”

It is necessary to outline such an ecological social system and to develop a policy that can overcome the ecological and social crisis as a whole: a policy that not only fights the symptoms, but that recognises that the ecological crisis and the societal crisis are intimately linked. In order to solve the ecological crisis, we must change the social relations of power and domination fundamentally.

If we take this as our starting point in the search for new ways to live, we must also be able to answer the question of how and why societies have ended up in opposition to nature. From a historical perspective, we must be able to identify the decisive moments of social change that led to the break between nature and society that we see today in capitalist society. To speak simply of humanity and not of concrete mentalities, systems, and rulers, only hides the causes and leads us to false premises. It conceals the contradictions that lie behind the categories of humanity: the antagonisms between oppressed and oppressors; men and women; old and young; light and dark; and the rich and the poor.

To be successful in building a new social-ecological society we have to conceive of the human being as a life form that, with its creativity and creative power, can make a great contribution to the improvement of the entire natural world. Even more than that, it is our obligation to accept this potential in ourselves, and to believe in it. It's clear that solving the ecological crisis, and moving towards a social ecological society, cannot be left to science and technology alone; it is also the task of a critical theory that is able to overcome the division between humanity and nature.

Many thinkers - Abdullah Öcalan, Silvia Federici, Friedrich Engels, and Murray Bookchin, in particular – have played an important role in contributing to such a theory, with their analyses of social power relations and historical developments, their understanding of nature and humanity, and their firm belief in the viability of an ecological, free society.

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kasama_libsoc
Feb 13 2020 13:18

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  • To be successful in building a new social-ecological society we have to conceive of the human being as a life form that, with its creativity and creative power, can make a great contribution to the improvement of the entire natural world.

    Internationalist Commune of Rojava

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