Apartheid! This word generally reminds us of Africa and the discrimination and ill-treatment given to the Black Race (Negros) there.
What does Apartheid actually mean?
Cormav Cullinan, a prominent personality of South Africa is of the opinion that Apartheid means separateness. Separatism is the source of all disharmony and violence. It leads to vicious behavior and hostility. The stronger party recklessly exploits the other party and harms it ruthlessly. This is what the Whites did to the Blacks in Africa.
Now, why not try to apply this term in a broader sense? This sort of discrimination and separateness exists in many forms around us. It exists between men and women, rich and poor, high class and low class, etc. But it is not just between people. It exists even between people and the environment. This is the focal point of this article.
Separatism between environment and people can be termed as Eco-Apartheid. This refers to the idea that human beings are not a part of environment. This is a belief which human beings strongly believe in and follow. They think of themselves as superior beings, who have the right to rule over the nature and can exploit it at their will. This idea has led to the destruction of nature, with least concern for its importance.
This conflict against Nature, which is still ongoing, first began with this idea of separatism. It began when the living, pulsating Earth was transmuted into dead matter to facilitate the Industrial Revolution. Mother Earth came to be seen as raw material, dead matter and empty land. This shift of perspective - from Nature as a living mother - to that of inert, dead and controllable matter - suited the activities of entrepreneurs very well.
Scientific revolution and the rise of modern science created dominating images of science and man, and portrayed Earth as just unrefined stuff, waiting to get processed and refined by man. This image replaced the image of the nurturing Earth and created a smooth pathway for the exploitation of nature. Nature is just treated as raw material, which needs to be subjected to conquered and processed by man in order to make it useful and valuable.
This attitude towards nature can be credited to Francis Bacon, called “The father of modern Science” by many, who said that
“Science and the inventions that result do not merely exert a gentle guidance over nature’s course; they have the power to conquer and subdue her, to shake her to her foundations.”Thus he created a dominating image of the scientific revolution. From then on, activities carried out on Earth became more based on the idea of Anthropocentrism i.e. Man-Centrism. These in turn lead to an increase in consumerism, greed, conquest, accumulation and violence.
Now, what is to be done to save the Earth?
First, we need to shift our viewpoint from Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism. We need to overpower this phantom of separateness of humans from nature. We need to realize that we are an inseparable part of nature; hence we cannot damage nature without severely damaging ourselves.
Nature Democracy needs to be established. We need to recognize the Rights of Nature.
This refers to:
- The freedom of all species to evolve in the Web of Life.
- The freedom and responsibility of humans, to recognize, secure and respect the rights of other species.
Nature is the best teacher for man. Biodiversity of nature teaches freedom, co-operation and mutual giving. There is a unifying principle of life in the diversity of Nature. It is this unity in diversity that is the base of environmental sustainability.
Diversity without Unity becomes the source of conflict. Unity without Diversity becomes the place for external control. So, humans need to unite with nature and follow this belief of Unity in Diversity.
Published: November 14th, 2014