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Plato And The Politics Of Climate Change

The emergence of neo-liberal globalization in the 1980s has altered the socio-political, economic and environmental discourse across the global spectrum. Basically, it was the rise of Green politics, Green parties and skulking civil society concern about the ecological disaster that gave birth to the discourse of environmental politics. As a major field of the contemporary comparative politics, the major focus of environmental politics is on the policymaking and strategies to tackle global warming. Moreover, as discourse, it encompasses two major premises that shape the foundation of the environmental politics. First and foremost, environmental politics examines the connection between human realm and the natural world. Secondly, as a major subject of the contemporary political discourse it emphasizes on the ideological debate over ecological issues.

As an illustration, with in-depth examination of the ecological degradation and environmental apocalypse, the major focus of the environmental politics is on conservation and preservation of the natural outlook of the mother earth. It was the end of the world with shocking disaster at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which brought the discourse of environmentalism to the forefront. As a result, the broad range of the environmental issues such as air pollution, water pollution and land pollution had given birth to the Green parties across the West in the 1970s. Hence, the emergence of the Green parties across the West have further emboldened the major themes surrounding environmentalism in the 1980s.

In this respect, over the course of two decades, the major themes of environmental politics such as climate change, global warming, ecological degradation and the loss of biodiversity have exacerbated the environmental debate. Perhaps, these major themes were developed into major environmental narratives across the West by illustrating their impacts on the human realm through films, songs and literary discourses. In the broader context, the popular environmental narratives across the media and political landscape have also brought the discourse of neo-liberalism and globalization to the forefront. It is because, according to Green politics experts, globalization has kept the internationalization of trade on the top priority while despising its impacts on human environment. Perhaps, this is what has brought the debate of social justice and environmental politics at the crossroads.

In contrast, it is the close relationship between human society and environment, which brought the issue of social justice and political constancy at the center of the ecological discourse. However, the concept of social justice elaborates the human conduct in changing and transforming the natural world. In this respect, the basic premise of the social justice theory focuses on correcting the conduct of human actions by making human behavior more environment friendly. Moreover, according to the ecologists and environmental theorists humans need to change their behavior towards the natural world in order to tackle climate change and the ecological degradation. Most of the ecologists establish their political arguments concerning environmental crisis by using the theories of social justice advocated by the ancient philosopher Plato.

Basically, the whole context of Platonic philosophy concerning social justice surrounds the human nature and behavior. Moreover, the theory of social justice advocated by Plato in his book ‘The Republic’ lays much emphasis on social ethics and morality to regulate the human nature and actions. Perhaps, it is only through the social justice theory of Plato, we can explain the relationship between social justice and political stability. Moreover, the close connection between the social justice and political stability has clearly explained by Plato in first two books of the republic.

In both books, Plato clearly distinguishes between the Just and unjust societies from the standpoint of politics and peace. Although, the philosophy of ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle does not directly discuss the environmental politics. However, the distinction between the ‘just’ and ‘unjust’ societies explicitly explains the dynamics of social justice in contrast to human behavior. Moreover, it is the moral and metaphysical philosophy of Plato in the Republic, which anticipates the concepts such as regulation, maintenance and sustainability from the moral and ethical standpoint. For instance, in the book II of the Republic, the discussion begins with Plato’s brother, who challenges Socrates to explain to them about the actual meaning of justice in contrast to human behavior. In this way, the discussion begins, in which Socrates explains the dynamics of justice from the perspective of Just actions to Plato’s brother.

In contrast, after thoroughly examining the social justice theory of Plato; it can be said that his theory presents a great emphasis on the concept of ‘sustainability’. Thus, from standpoint of Plato’s social justice theory, we can draw a conclusion by relating the human behavior and conduct with major environmental themes such as climate change and global warming.

 

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Naya Daur