It is remarkable that we now have to state this obvious truth as if it were new, and invent the word 'ecological'. 1
An ecological perspective introduces the possibility of seeing and analysing the relations of organic life interdependent with this earth, however that may be organised politically. As the previous chapter testified, IR has traditionally limited its conceptual scope to culturally and historically specific autonomous territories and identities; thus theorists are cognitively constrained in their reading of relations. The dismissal or utilitarian conception of the ecological base to political life has become naturalised within status quo praxis, engendering an implicit world hierarchy and inherently legitimising exploitative relations. Theoretically, this has been absolved via a particular reading of political philosophy and reconfirmed by Enlightenment rationality that posits dichotomous relationships within a world of infinite resources and capabilities at humanity's disposal. In contrast, an ecological perspective to politics is necessarily holistic and expansively synergistic. Epistemology is informed by interdependent relationships; politics strives to ensure sustainable and just stasis. Consequently the prioritising of an ecological position is fundamentally critical of the restricted perspective of IR theory and inherently challenges the discipline.
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the rich variety of debate within the vast field of ecological literature. This does not pretend to be a comprehensive bibliographic detailing, but a sympathetic condensation to explicate the core understanding of an ecological perspective. For ecological discourse embodies a pioneering and vital strand of a transcultural movement of changing values, emergent from practical engagement with the natural world. 2
Humanity's relationship with the environment has been an eternal axis of debate. The modification of the physical environment from a hypothesised natural condition is a traditional departure for political debate in the West