Contesting the U.S.-centric bias of modern environmentalism, this essay uncovers an “old“ paradigm of environmentalism found in the medieval Islamic tradition, the Islamic Ecological Paradigm (IEP)—which, in many respects, is tantamount to many ideologies of modern environmentalism. According to IEP, human beings are a part of, and not above, nature, and have the responsibility to preserve nature. Many paradigms of modern environmentalism have largely embraced this ideology, though they do not necessarily trace their origin to IEP. This essay also analyzes Muslim environmental activism today by focusing on how its proponents are inspired by modern environmentalism while grounding their activism in IEP. Despite substantial variance and occasional tension, the author argues that both modern environmentalism and IEP can form an ontological alliance, an alliance that is of paramount importance to addressing environmental problems that transcend physical and cultural borders.
Certification Regimes in the Global Agro-Food System and the Transformation of the Nature-Society Relationship
Ecological Modernization or Modernization of Ecology?
Md Saidul Islam
Recent years have witnessed a proliferation of environmental certification regimes in the global agro-food system—a trend characterized as an example of the ecological modernization approach—which emerged largely because of the rise of consumer sovereignty and the neoliberal push for environmental and social “quality” in food production and processing. Based on a robust analysis of global aquaculture, the article argues that the environmental certification regimes privilege some actors, species, and cultures while marginalizing others. While the fundamental tenet of the ecological modernization approach is to shape capitalism by ecological principles, I argue instead that through environmental certification, ecology or nature itself is largely shaped, transformed and restructured to fit into and thereby serve neoliberal global governance and accumulation in a normalized manner. The example of certification regimes is therefore more like a “modernization of ecology” rather than ecological modernization.
Md Saidul Islam and Si Hui Lim
Home to 60 percent of the world's population, Asia accounts for 85 percent of those killed and affected globally by disaster events in 2011. Using an integrated sociological framework comprised of the pressure and release (PAR) model and the double-risk society hypothesis, and drawing on data obtained from the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT), PreventionWeb, and the IPCC special report on extreme events, this article offers a sociological understanding of disaster development and recovery in Asia. The particular focus is on seven Asian countries, namely, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Rather than treating disasters entirely as “natural” events caused by “violent forces of nature”, we emphasize various ways in which social systems create disaster vulnerability. We argue that existing disaster mitigation and adaptation strategies in Asia that focus almost entirely on the natural and technological aspects of hazards have serious limitations, as they ignore the root causes of disaster vulnerabilities, such as limited access to power and resources. This article therefore recommends a holistic approach to disaster management and mitigation that takes into consideration the various larger social, political, and economic conditions and contexts.