Thursday, July 25, 2024

Development – Doom for Nature?

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Development(Sustainable Development) has been used to ensure humankind’s evolution towards modernity, but its western underpinnings has emerged as nature’s doom

It has been regarded as essential to humanity’s key for evolution. It has emerged as the sin qua non of modern civilization.

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Development is defined as the use of natural resources and human ingenuity to further the cause of Homo Sapien growth in all facets of life- political, social, economic, cultural etc.

Notions of Development

The concept of development has multiple notions. There are- western or occidental, non-western or oriental.

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The western notion of development dates back to the days of the Enlightenment in the 18th century.

It was followed by the Industrial and Scientific revolution in the 19th century.

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Occidental notion of development prioritizes nature as a resource and not as an independent being capable of possessing agency.

It holds nature for being subservient to human ingenuity and lays emphasis on using natural resources to further the goal of humankind’s growth.

Such a concept of development was advocated by Enlightenment thinkers like David Hume, Voltaire, Denis Diderot etc.

Oriental Theory

This theory states that nature is a manifestation of a force to reckon with.

It prioritizes treating nature with care and not to subject it to rapacious exploitation.

It states that the indigenous inhabitants of any territory have the first claim on natural resources.

Indic Understanding of Nature

The Indic idea of nature deifies nature.

Nature is regarded as essential to one’s life view and one’s attempt at ensuring holistic development of human personality.

The Indic view of nature is manifested in according rights to the claims of adivasi community in India and protecting them.

In this context, it is noteworthy that the Gurukul system of Vedic education took place in completely natural surroundings.

The Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas or (PESA Act, 1996) aims to preserve tribal practices by preserving nature. This is in the Indian context.

Westernization of Development- a Doom

It is the western notion of development that has been responsible for global warming and climate change.

The West saw nature as a resource and not as an independent entity.

Forests after forests were cleared to build cities, innumerable species of flora and fauna became extinct.

Whereas, the Indic notion of development helped preserve nature and its sacredness.

While using nature, the Indic view prided itself in promoting nature’s conservation and preservation.

  • J Sai Deepak in India, That is Bharat brilliantly exposed the exploitation of nature in oriental societies by European colonisers and their detrimental effects.

Sustainable Developement- Atonement for Sins

After having wrecked the environment for over three centuries, the world came up with the concept of sustainable development at the 1987 Brutland report titled ‘Our Common Future’.

It was followed by the Rio Earth Summit 1992.

But the notion of sustainable development is at best a belated western attempt to seek atonement for the sins of rapacious use of nature by the West.

It has been agreed to by the rest of the world simply because it has emerged as a consensus based approach.

The inefficient nature of western models of development was seen in its outright rejection by the rest of the world.

Further, PM Modi in 2022 unveiled the LIFE or lifestyle for nature approach to development which is in sync with Sustainable Development Goals.


The importance of Indic notion of development has clearly eclipsed the western notions of development.

Seen from the perspective of climate change, the western countries have a moral and ethical responsibility to provide climate finance to the non-western societies and take charge of their historical responsibility for doing the heavy lifting to mitigate climate change.




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