Understanding Climate Change Through Metabolic Rift

Understanding Climate Change Through Metabolic Rift

Shahzaib Zafar

Shahzaib Zafar "Understanding Climate Change Through Metabolic Rift " Published in International Journal of Trend in Research and Development (IJTRD), ISSN: 2394-9333, Special Issue | ICAST-17 , December 2017, URL: http://www.ijtrd.com/papers/IJTRD14636.pdf

Metabolic Rift was one of the key ideas that was developed by Marx in the 19th century. Left untouched for decades by the academia, it suddenly now holds immense relevance and importance for the academic left and center, and to some degree the general international community, due to the increasing environmental catastrophe that is unveiling itself in front of our eyes. Marx argued that the Metabolic Rift between nature and humans would be a natural and logical outcome of capitalism, with the use of advance technology to extract a greater surplus value, the driving force of capitalism. This paper aims to answer some of the most pressing questions that arise out of this. Firstly, how does an economic system so drastically affect the environment to an extent from which the environment is unlikely to recover, at least in a few million years? Secondly, technology as we know it today has degraded the environment to such a degree, and has threatened the very existence of life on Earth. However, it remains impossible for us to abandon the use of technology as it has become essential for our way of life (healthcare, transport, education, communication). Technology has become so integrated in our lives and has become so essential for our survival in so many ways that humans have, to a very large extent, become cyborgs. If that is true, breaking away from technology would not be the way to move forward, hence how do we deal with the issue at hand, because the continuing use of technology in the current way would destroy the environment, but we cannot abandon to use technology at the same time. How, then, an ethical use of technology be worked out so that there is harmony between nature and technology and thus, how do we break the binary of the nature-human without relinquishing the use of technology?

Metabolic Rift; capitalism; technology

Special Issue | ICAST-17 , December 2017


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