Ecological Economics: From the Viewpoint of the Marginalized Sections (Second Prof. R. Misra Birth Centenary Lecture)

P. S. Ramakrishnan


Dedicating this article to my respected teacher, the late Professor R. Misra who enabled me to be reflective in my thinking processes, I try to advocate here that there could be diverse ways of looking at the rapidly emerging inter-disciplinary, rather trans-disciplinary subject area of ecological economics. I have tried to argue that there could be diverse approaches to this area of study, determined by the socio- ecological, economic, cultural and even political climate under which one looks at the issues involved. The developing world perspective could be different from that of the developed as much as the diversity in the socio-ecological systems under consideration – developed vs. developing world, urban vs. rural, and/or the degraded rural systems vs. biodiversity rich rural systems, etc. Emphasizing upon the viewpoint linked with very ‘traditional’ marginalized societies living in biodiversity rich areas such as in a forested environment, who are dependant upon biodiversity contained therein for meeting with their livelihood needs, biodiversity conservation linked sustainable development becomes the major issue. Emphasizing upon the marginalized traditional societies and looking at their problems in a comparative way with more endowed sections of the rural communities living in the developing world as in India, apart from detailed socio-ecological research analysis that would held in decision-making, as in the case of the traditional societies living in the north-eastern hills of India, I have narrowed down to the viewpoint that energy and money as two currencies used for input/output analyses could be two comprehensive measures for evaluating socio-ecological systems structure and functions. In the ultimate analysis, the argument is for ‘working with ‘nature’, emphasizing upon conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity in all its scalar dimensions. Here lies the key towards addressing a range of sustainability concerns with concerns for human security, all accentuated by increasing environmental uncertainties and linked food security, emerging from ‘global change’ as an ecological phenomenon and ‘globalization’ of economies.


Sustainable Development; Traditional Knowledge Systems

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