Sorry, I have been out of the loop for a couple of months, but now Im back on the blog again. My Question today is How do we make the global issues real for those who have everything and dont need to worry about tomorrow, to those who just dont care, how can we make them ISR (Indivídually Socially Responsible)?
First it was argued that it is up to the goverments to deal with development issues, however the governments have clearly until now failed in their attempts to eliminate poverty and under-development and to save the environment from pollution. As a result of this it is a large focus that the private market, with their economic strength is carrying more power in terms of having an impact on the natural resources and people’s lives and therefore need to take much more responsibility for development issues. I believe this is true, however to go even further we need to see at those individuals on all parts of the planet so i also I believe its every indidivuals responsibility to contribute to ‘saving the world’.
Daily in my job and on my freetime I am encountered with “tragedy of the commons” . For those of you who dont know what this means I will easily define it from wikipedia as” a dilemma arising from when multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared resources, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen”. In our masters degree in development theory we use this term alot in the discussion about depletion and sharing of natural resources for farmers, urbanisation, and propertyright disputes, but for you who still dont understand what Im on to here I will talk about it in ‘dummy’ terms. Just go out on the street and have a look at the tarmac, and i bet you will find at least a couple of stuck chewinggums. Yes we see it everywhere, it happens all the time around us, as a result of individuals momental laziness of throwing that chewinggum in the bin. Is it pretty? No!
Picture source: guardian.co.uk
Overcoming tragedy of the commons which here metaphorically pictured in chewinggums above, we need to change our mindsets and become ecthical masters all of us. Environmental ethics is itself a discipline which also can be connected to CSR that deals with the ethical issues regarding the protection of the environment. However this extends further to include not only all people on earth, but also animals and the whole nature and biosphere. It is plural and interdisciplinary in terms of environmental politics, economics, sciences and literature as they all reinforce and influence each other.
One of the primary issues that exist between humans and the nature is today to alter the relationship. We see a worsening of earth’s ecological systems heading towards environmental crisis, while humans rely on these resources for their survival. Human’s use of the nature is not sustainable and I will therefore make a spot-on quote by yang (2006).
“Only after we have adopted an appropriate attitude towards nature and have established a new ethical relationship between human beings and nature will we be able to love and respect nature automatically as well as conscientiously; and only with the guidance of such love and respect can we successfully deal with the issues of environmental pollution and ecological imbalances”
The principle of the respect for nature is that the prosperity of the humans is highly dependent of the environment and that the economy of humans today is a sub-system of the economy of the nature; hence humans must respect and care for the environment it is dependent upon. Otherwise we will all loose, and the truth is that noone wants to loose. You get it right? so Im not going to go further into EE theory here, I mean this is a blog, not a thesis.
So ISR, Individual Social Responsibility is something that must be enhanced on the private and organisational level. I argue that it is organisations and corporations responsibility to inspire each and every individual in the workplace to do their share to prevent a future humana nd natural disaster. Why do not companies should cut out many of their conferences (where they only drink alcohol and danse on tables anyway), and rethink the original conferenceconcept to instead send their employees on ISR schools, whereby they can learn about human and environmental ethics and how each one of them can contribute in their own organisation.This strengthens the individual knowledge and power to contribute in its own way, and this also creates a workplace where everyone is aware, not only the top managers. A workplace who thinks ethically wins by showing its position and in that way creating a competitive advantage in the market at the same time as it is doing ‘good’.
We might not be able to change the world ourselves but if we individually take small steps we will globally be able to take a huge step in the right direction, so go and be your own environmental ethics master – start with thinking twice before you spit out that chewinggum on the street, babysteps are also steps in the right direction.
// Eva Alm