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BSOE-143: Environmental Sociology

BSOE-143: Environmental Sociology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BSOE-143/ASST /TMA / July 2022 Jan-2023

Course Code: BSOE-143

Assignment Name: Environmental Sociology

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment A


Answer the following in about 500 words each. 2×20


1. Trace the emergence of sub discipline of Environmental Sociology

Ans) Conservationists like George Perkins Marsh, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, and others, as well as Preservationists like John Muir and Robert Marshall, who emphasised the fragility of the biosphere and the accompanying ecosystem, were the first to think about the environment before the discipline of Environmental Sociology emerged.


However, the development of industrialization, particularly its quick pace after World War II, resulted in not only unsustainable encroachments on the natural environments, but also over-exploitation through resource extraction and waste addition, so that they underwent increasing depredations and environmental degradations and, in some cases, outright destruction.


Samuel Klausner first used the phrase "environmental sociology" in his book On Man in His Environment. Samuel Klausner first used the phrase "environmental sociology" in his book On Man in His Environment. Prior to the 1970s, American interest in the environment was confined to "rural sociology," with a dual focus on parklands as wilderness regions and people that depended on nature for their existence. Though socially, politically, and economically tumultuous decades in terms of the environment, the 1960s and 1970s forced intellectuals and academicians to re-evaluate their academic perspectives on the environment.


The topic of "environmental sociology" was founded in the US by Riley Dunlap and William Catton, as well as other significant contributors. They distinguished between "Sociology of environmental issues" and "environmental sociology." The application of conventional sociological ideas on public opinion, social movements, and formal organisations to concerns like the traits of environmental activists and the methods and techniques used by environmental groups is known as the sociology of environmental issues. 1995's Hannigan The study of environment-society interaction, or the underlying relationship between contemporary industrial societies and the physical settings they occupy, was the emphasis of environmental sociology.


The Love Canal became into the most horrific environmental calamity in American history by the 1970s. In response, Jimmy Carter, the US President at the time, declared it a "federal health emergency." In response to these environmental dangers, Congress created the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, often known as the Superfund Act, in 1978.


Through active non-profit organisations, green political parties, and environmental movements, environmental greens simultaneously emerged as a political force to be reckoned with throughout the European Continent. Though initially theoretical, British interest in the environment tended to connect traditional sociological concepts to the interaction between nature and civilization. However, once the Global Environmental Change Programme was established in the 1980s, environmental empirical research began to flourish. In contrast to Britain, research in environmental sociology in the Netherlands concentrated on agriculture and risk assessment, looking for a workable solution to the issue of flooding given that 26% of the Netherlands' land area is below sea level.


Early 1990s saw the development of the field of environmental sociology in the East, namely in Japan and Korea. However, after the Minamata disease was recognised as an environmental disaster caused by human activity in the 1950s, environmental study had already started in Japan. Founded in 1992, the Japanese Association for Environmental Sociology. Despite the fact that the Korean Association for Environmental Sociology was just founded in 2000, environmental sociology study and instruction in Korea started in the early 1990s.


2. Critically examine Radhakamal Mukherjee’s understanding of social ecology

Ans) When R.K. Mukherjee wrote about his concern for ecology and the environment, neither academics nor the general public in India took much notice. The ecological perspective in social theory has, nevertheless, progressively grown in importance. In comprehending the "regional basis of social existence," Radha Kamal Mukherjee was influenced by the French historian Lucien Febvre and social ecologist Patrick Geddes. The region' and the web of life' within the region, which is composed of plant animal and human communities, which are systems of correlated working parts in the organisation of region, R.K. Mukherjee, 1926 create a harmonious working balance by mutually influencing each other, according to Mukherjee's theory in his book Regional Sociology.


According to Mukherjee, man's control over the area does not result from one-sided exploitation by man but rather through a reciprocal giving and taking between the biotic and human worlds. He views the area as a living organism that displays the coexistence of various living systems, including the plant, animal, and human worlds. Through a series of exchanges and acts, these mutually impact one another and create a certain level of equilibrium. Older nations like China and India exhibit this kind of harmony. Here, on the developed, densely populated plains, one can see every step of the procedure used to maintain the regional equilibrium.


Additionally, one can see lions. This balance is disturbed by both long-term human actions such as the eradication of forests, unsustainable agriculture, and artificial interference with natural drainage, as well as by natural fluctuations brought on by cycles of rainfall changes in the landscape and rivers. Since only inside the regional area can one better appreciate the complex interrelations between culture-bearing human groups and the plant, animal, and non-living ecosystems with which they interact, Mukherjee asserts that the human region comprises the fundamental.


Understanding the disruption caused by human and animal species to the natural order in a specific location at a specific time results in complicated sequences in "ecological succession," the process by which an ecological community's structure evolves through time. For example, burning the forests and clearing the land for cultivation sets up a train of consequences in which a vast array of plant species, animals, and human communities are implicated.


The Indo-Gangetic region of India's river plains have also suffered from overgrazing and trampling by domestic animals, which has caused the complete destruction of the vegetable cover and the appearance of perennial or thousand weeds that are harmful to the region's flora and fauna. As a result, the study of human influence in ecological succession has resulted in negative consequences, endangering his access to food, his health, and his living conditions.


In light of the intricate web of life, Radha Kamal Mukherjee's social ecology emphasises the part that man plays in preserving the ecological balance by conserving the land and all of its flora and fauna, using water wisely, managing rivers and forests, domesticating and using livestock, and managing insects. parasites and bacteria. keeping a rhythm and balance of growth for everyone.


Assignment B


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. 3×10


3. Examine the nature of Beej Bachao Andolan movements in India

Ans) Beej Bachao Andolan (“Save the Seeds Movement”) has been working in the Indian state of Uttarakhand since the 1980s to restore traditional, agroecological farming knowledge, practices, and seed diversity – all of which have been disappearing since the start of the “Green Revolution” in the 1960s. A farmer and social activist from Jardhargaon realised that modern agriculture was destroying traditional farming.


Crop yields of the ‘high-yielding varieties' in modern agriculture were actually low and soil fertility was declining, leading to an increasing dependence on toxic chemicals. Along with other activists of the Chipko movement, this activist formed the BBA to promote traditional agriculture and crop varieties. In the valley of Ramasirain, Uttarkashi district, farmers were growing a distinctive variety of red rice called chardhan.


The rice was nutritious and suited to local requirements and conditions. Farmers also grew indigenous varieties like thapchini, jhumkiya, rikhwa and lal basmati. Agriculture here was untouched by modern practices and good yields were obtained without the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. What the farmers here were doing was avoiding monocultures in a method called baranaja (12 grains) that involves the multicropping of a number of cereals and legumes. This diversification is security against drought and crop failure. Different crops are harvested at different times of the year and ensure year-round supply of food. This also maintains soil fertility and replenishes nitrogen.


Today BBA has about 150 varieties of paddy from which 100 different varieties can still be grown. Of these, tapachini and jhamcha yield about 72 quintals per hectare. BBA has also collected 170 varieties of rajma. Effective pest control is accomplished by using the leaves of the walnut and neem, and the application of ash and cow's urine. The use of traditional farming methods and seeds has resulted in higher yields, improved health of humans and livestock, and the increased conservation of soil fertility and agro biodiversity.


4. What do you understand by the term ecofeminism?

Ans) Ecofeminism, also called ecological feminism, branch of feminism that examines the connections between women and nature. Its name was coined by French feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne in 1974. Ecofeminism uses the basic feminist tenets of equality between genders, a revaluing of non-patriarchal or nonlinear structures, and a view of the world that respects organic processes, holistic connections, and the merits of intuition and collaboration.


To these notions ecofeminism adds both a commitment to the environment and an awareness of the associations made between women and nature. Specifically, this philosophy emphasizes the ways both nature and women are treated by patriarchal (or male-centred) society. Ecofeminists examine the effect of gender categories in order to demonstrate the ways in which social norms exert unjust dominance over women and nature. The philosophy also contends that those norms lead to an incomplete view of the world, and its practitioners advocate an alternative worldview that values the earth as sacred, recognizes humanity’s dependency on the natural world, and embraces all life as valuable.


Origins of ecofeminism: The modern ecofeminist movement was born out of a series of conferences and workshops held in the United States by a coalition of academic and professional women during the late 1970s and early 1980s. They met to discuss the ways in which feminism and environmentalism might be combined to promote respect for women and the natural world and were motivated by the notion that a long historical precedent of associating women with nature had led to the oppression of both. They noted that women and nature were often depicted as chaotic, irrational, and in need of control, while men were frequently characterized as rational, ordered, and thus capable of directing the use and development of women and nature.


Ecofeminists contend that this arrangement results in a hierarchical structure that grants power to men and allows for the exploitation of women and nature, particularly insofar as the two are associated with one another. Thus, early ecofeminists determined that solving the predicament of either constituency would require undoing the social status of both.


5. How is material desires socially constructed? Explain with examples

Ans) Gould and others note that pre-existing conditions of production have a significant role in determining human needs and desires when examining the basis of consumer choice, which goes beyond physiological necessities of man. 301, Gould et al. According to them, wishes are socially built, and material cravings are mostly created by material producers, in the words of Schiller.


Gould and others contend that the transformation of material demands into human needs is a social process including choices about how to provide goods. And the industry, not consumer preferences, determines the layout of the marketplaces. 301, Gould et al. In order to develop a culture of mass consumption, the captains of the industry worked together with the heads of the advertising agencies. This is one of the causes for the parallel rise in personal consumption that occurs with the rise in economic production.


Our yearning for tangible things frequently have hidden meanings. Finding our life purpose or feeling validated could be among these things. We frequently utilise activities like shopping as substitutes for the things we actually want. We frequently put off accomplishing what we actually desire out of fear. Sometimes, the item we desire when we want something material is not what we actually need. We are looking for something else instead.


We aren't shallow in our consumerism. Not at all. It is linked to our most sincere aspirations for our lives. It's not too difficult to figure out what motivates your material desires. It only requires asking yourself why you desire what you want. For instance, someone with a fixed addiction. He enjoys buying new notebooks, pens, folders, and other stationery. Even he is aware that owning the appropriate stationery would make him a better writer. It could only be done by his thoughts.


Assignment C


Write a note on the following in about 100 words each. 5×6


6. Ecological justice

Ans) Ecological justice concerns the view that non-human beings such as animals also have entitlements, for instance to an adequate habitat. While this is a matter of moral philosophical debate, the current COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the need for visions for a just world that situate humans in nature.


Within environmental moral philosophy there are many terms for ecological justice. Most telling is probably interspecies justice. The base idea is that while mainstream Western theories of justice agree that non-human living beings such as animals or plants do not deserve justice, a range of theories have started to challenge this consensus. For instance, I have argued that biodiversity conservation is not only a matter of securing the wellbeing of future human generations, but also a matter of doing justice to non-human living beings. In essence, aiming for strong sustainability is not only something that we owe each other as fellow humans but also something we owe other creatures with which we share one planet.


7. Medha Patkar

Ans) Medha Patkar is an Indian social activist and former Politician working on various crucial political and economic issues raised by tribals, Dalits, farmers, labourers and women facing injustice in India. She is an alumnus of TISS, a premier institute of social science research in India.  Patkar is the founder member of the 32 years old people's movement called Narmada Bachao Andolan in three states: Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.


NBA has been engaged in a struggle for justice for the people affected by the dam projects related to the Sardar Sarovar dam project, especially those whose homes will be submerged but have not yet been rehabilitated. She is also one of the founders of the National Alliance of People's Movements, an alliance of hundreds of progressive people's organizations. In addition to the above, Patkar was a commissioner on the World Commission on Dams, which did thorough research on the environmental, social, political and economic aspects and impacts of the development of large dams globally and their alternatives.


8. Global warming

Ans) Global warming is the long-term warming of the planet’s overall temperature. Though this warming trend has been going on for a long time, its pace has significantly increased in the last hundred years due to the burning of fossil fuels. As the human population has increased, so has the volume of fossil fuels burned. Fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas, and burning them causes what is known as the “greenhouse effect” in Earth’s atmosphere.


The greenhouse effect is when the Sun’s rays penetrate the atmosphere, but when that heat is reflected off the surface cannot escape back into space. Gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels prevent the heat from leaving the atmosphere. These greenhouse gasses are carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide. The excess heat in the atmosphere has caused the average global temperature to rise overtime, otherwise known as global warming.

9. Water pollution

Ans) Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies, usually as a result of human activities, so that it negatively affects its uses.  Water bodies include lakes, rivers, oceans, aquifers, reservoirs and groundwater. Water pollution results when contaminants are introduced into these water bodies. Water pollution can be attributed to one of four sources: sewage discharges, industrial activities, agricultural activities, and urban runoff including stormwater. It can be grouped into surface water pollution or groundwater pollution.


For example, releasing inadequately treated wastewater into natural waters can lead to degradation of these aquatic ecosystems. Water pollution can also lead to water-borne diseases for people using polluted water for drinking, bathing, washing or irrigation. Water pollution reduces the ability of the body of water to provide the ecosystem services that it would otherwise provide.


10. Treadmill of production

Ans) Treadmill of Production is an economical approach for describing environmental damage and destruction in the modern history due to capitalist’s society tendency to rapidly grow without considering ecological consequences. This theory was first mentioned by American sociologists Allan Schnaiberg and published in the book The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity in 1980.


After WWII, the economy has developed and that leaded to use of more resources. In capitalistic society, the factories, companies and individuals want to maximize their profits and so the money started to be invested into new technologies and machines, which replaced human labour, but demanded more of materials, chemicals, and other resources. These chemical and technological innovations changed the production process by intensifying or speeding it up of production while requiring reduced labour input, thus accelerating the capital accumulation. This expand leaded and keeps leading to environmental degradation, so there is a contradiction between capital accumulation and ecological destruction under capitalism.

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