The Face of the Earth: Environment and World History

By J. Donald Hughes | Go to book overview

lifestyles. Whereas Gandhi defended traditional subsistence economics on the basis of avoiding the kind of human exploitation that arises in a cash economy, Indian environmentalists defend subsistence lifestyles on the grounds that they are more ecologically benign. They argue that a market economy is inherently destructive because in interacting with nature it ignores and destroys nonmonetary assets such as watershed stabilization. 22

Finally, Indian environmentalists often reiterate Gandhi's warning in Hind Swaraj about blind imitation of the West. They see the industrialized West as the main agent of environmental degradation because of its massive demand for natural resources, a demand that began in India during the colonial period. They regard the resource management policies of the present Indian government as nothing more than a continuation of the colonial pattern of exploitation. The intellectual challenge they can offer us in the West is that they draw important connections between environmentalism and social justice and suggest that on both counts we need to undertake a fundamental reevaluation of the economic and technological underpinnings of modem society. 23


Notes
1.
Lloyd I. Rudolph, "Contesting Civilizations: Gandhi and the Counter-Culture", Gandhi Marg, October-December 1990, 284-94.
2.
As evidenced in the pages of Gandhi Marg, the journal of the New Delhi-based Gandhi Peace Foundation. It should be noted that modern environmentalists were not the first to put an explicitly environmental spin on Gandhi's notions about economic development. Writing in the 1930s through 1950s, two Gandhians, Pyarelal Nair and J.C. Kumarappa, placed strong emphasis on environmental concerns such as

-177-

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The Face of the Earth: Environment and World History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 3
  • Notes 18
  • 2 22
  • Notes 44
  • 3 47
  • Notes 70
  • 4 76
  • Notes 120
  • 5 131
  • Notes 146
  • 6 150
  • Notes 163
  • The Greening of Gandhi - Gandhian Thought and the Environmental Movement in India 165
  • Notes 177
  • Selected Bibliography 180
  • Contributors 189
  • Index 193
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