Rapid biodiversity loss is being brought on by humanity, which also threatens Earth’s capacity to maintain complex life. Although the foundation of human civilization is steadily being destroyed, major environmental transformations are directly related to the development of human systems. Nevertheless, the general public is having trouble understanding the scope of this loss. The intensity of the rapidly vanishing species and populations varies locally, and most species have not assessed their extinction risk thoroughly (Bradshaw,1). Some theoretical frameworks of sociology are more capable than others of finding solutions to the environmental crisis we are facing. Each theoretical framework has its strengths and weaknesses, providing a different lensto view and understand the crisis.
Conflict theory highlights how different groups within society compete for scarce resources, and this competition is often a root cause of environmental problems.Although worldwide inequality between individuals and nations is still horrifying, the middle class has expanded quickly and, by 2018, has surpassed half of the world’s population. More than 70% of the world’s population today resides in nations with a biocapacity deficit and incomes below the global average, preventing them from making purchases to make up for their biocapacity deficit and undermining future resilience through decreased food safety(Bradshaw,4). High-income nations continue to consume more than low-income countries do, and many of the latter are even seeing drops in their per-capita footprint.Additionally, there are huge numbers of people contributing to soil deterioration and biodiversity loss and their continuing rise. More harmful throw-away plastics and synthetic substances are produced due to the increased human population, which contributes to the planet becoming more toxic(Bradshaw,3).Conflict theory can help us identify the root causes of environmental problems, and this understanding is essential if we are to find lasting solutions.
In particular, poststructuralism highlights the importance of deconstructing the systems that have led to environmental degradation. These systems include how we think about the environment, how we use and abuse natural resources, and how we interact with the natural world.Due to the seriousness of the situation, radical changes to capitalist development, education, and equality are necessary. These changes should, among other things, end continual economic growth, properly price externalities, quickly phase out the use of fossil fuels, strictly regulate marketplaces and property acquisition, limit corporate lobbying, and empower women. These decisions will inevitably lead to contentious discussions regarding population expansion and the need for declining but more egalitarian levels of life(Bradshaw,5). By deconstructing these systems, we can understand how they have contributed to the environmental crisis and how they can be changed to create a more sustainable future.In addition, poststructuralism provides a framework for understanding how power relations can be used to create change.
Functionalism is capable of finding solutions to the environmental crisis we are facing. The reason is that functionalism may help us understand how systems work.Any given day’s weather may now worldwide identify human-induced climate change. In reality, the global climate has equaled or surpassed earlier projections, perhaps due to the IPCC’s dependence on model averages and the politically conservative wording in recommendations for policies that seek global consensus. However, even if civilization follows the necessary lower-emissions path over the ensuing decades, the most recent climate change models (CMIP6) show higher rising temperatures than previously expected. Although scientists have suggested significant transformational change (in power generation, pollution reduction, food security, economics, population policies, etc.), nations have generally fallen short of the goals of the five-year-old Paris Agreement 2016.Climate change and other environmental pressures will lead to more mass migration over the upcoming decades, with approximately 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants anticipated by 2050. However, these numbers are uncertain and fluctuate based on unpredictable social and policy trends. This is expected to changeinternational law does not now recognize such “environmental migrants” as refugees(Bradshaw,4). As a result, we worry that an influx of refugees may undermine rather than strengthen international cooperation.
Postmodernism also is least capable of finding solutions to the environmental crisis we are facing. This is because postmodernism is a way of thinking characterized by rejecting absolutes, including claims that one way of thinking is superior to another. This means that postmodernism is not well-suited to finding solutions to problems because it cannot make claims about right or wrong or what will or will not work.Given these false beliefs and vested interests, extremist ideologies will likely continue gaining ground. This inhibits people’s ability to make wise, long-term choices, which may speed up the process of environmental deterioration and its consequences. For example, the United States’ much-touted New Green Deal has increased political polarization in the nation, primarily because ‘environmentalism’ has been weaponized as a political view rather than being seen as a widespread method of survival and planet-wide safety that should transcend political tribalism(Bradshaw,5).
Additionally, the seriousness of the commitments necessary for any nation to accomplish significant reductions in use and emissions would unavoidably result in public outcry.Stopping biodiversity loss is far from any nation’s top priority, much behind issues like unemployment, healthcare, economic growth, and currency stability. More generally, the majority of the SDGs connected to nature is likewise doomed to failurepartly because most SDGs have not sufficiently integrated their interdependencies with other SDGs.
Prevailing sociological theories provide a framework forsolving environmental crises. Functionalism emphasizes how systems work, and poststructuralism highlights the importance of deconstructing the systems hence being most capable of solving the problem. Contrary conflict theory emphasizes competition and inequality, which are fundamental causes of biodiversity loss. Lastly, postmodernism emphasizes absolutes and is thus least capable of solving the crisis.
Bradshaw, Corey J.A. et al., underestimating the challenges of avoiding a ghastly future, frontiers in conservation science, 13 January 2021.
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