Manual Eco Targets, Goal Functions, and Orientors

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Metzner social conflicts may arise. The ecological systems are affected by pressures, which may in extreme cases disrupt the capacity of the ecosystem to regenerate and function. The simultaneaus expansion of all three functions Ieads to a trans- gression of the global carrying capacity and of the ability of the environment "to withstand" the stress. Dunlap infers that an original ecological problern of the society subsists, manifesting itself in increasing practical problems and growing risks fulfilling the three basic functions.

This problern will remain in- comprehensible, if it is understood merely in the framework of the "construction of social problems" as a genuine phenomenon of social cognition and communi- cation. The growing social attention towards environmental and technological risks is therefore in essence a responsive reaction to their actual increase.


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A constructive critique of Dunlap's Statements has to make- amongst others - ecological points because his description of nature Iacks an elaborated ecosys- temic argument. His view does not accommodate the fundamentally dynamic nature of ecological phenomena. The distinction between ecologically harmless utilization of resources or smaller scale "disturbances" and irreversible damages remains systematically unexplained. Nor does Dunlap's approach consider posi- tive interactions between different types of the utilization of nature, for instance between adapted agriculture and biodiversity.

Roughly speaking, it is the strength of Dunlap's approach to develop foot- holds for integrated ecological and sociological problern analyses and crisis management strategies. The weak point is its inability to address aspects of the communicative processing of perceived problems. He does not take up the fol- lowing questions: Which socio-economic achievements produce relevant mate- rial and energy flows?

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Which functional prerequisites are found in supra- technological infrastructure-systems Mayntz and Hughes ; Gras ? Which institutions and media are needed for the control of these systems Ayres and Simonis ? In connection with a model of functional societal differen- tiation Luhmann , , , these questions, however, have to be an- swered, before another question can be tackled: Why are certain environmental problems intensely heeded while others - sometimes "objectively" equally im- portant ones- are neglected?

According to Hannigan, the willingness of society to recognize and solve environmental problems rests primarily upon the claims-making activities of a handful of 'issue entrepreneurs' in science, in the mass media and politics.

Eco Targets, Goal Functions, and Orientors

Table 3. In order to fill this gap, popularizers are needed- individuals, such as Jererny Rifkin, or organizati- ons, such as Greenpeace. Accordingly, the success of the clairns-rnaking activity by Greenpeace lies not so rnuch in its ability to construct entirely new environ- rnental problerns, but rather in its genius to select, frarne, and elaborate scientific interpretations that rnight otherwise have gone unnoticed or would have been deliberately glossed over Hannigan , p 44, in reference to Hansen , p In surn, Hannigan , pp 54 identifies six factors necessary for the suc- cessful construction of an environrnental problern: 1.

Scientific authority for the validation of clairns. Existence of 'popularizers' who can bridge environrnentalisrn and science. Media attention, where the problern is 'framed' as novel and irnportant. Drarnatization of the problern in syrnbolic and visual terms. Econornic incentives for taking positive action. Ernergence of an institutional sponsor who can ensure both legitirnacy and continuity. Metzner The success of environmental movements is one facet of the discrepancy betwe- en growing environmental consciousness by successful problern construction and continuing, ecologically harmful behavior Schluchter and Metzner Their success is considerable less noteworthy in getting their policies institutionalized, especially, where these policies might require the reallocation of resources away from potent capital interests andinflexible bureaucratic actors Hannigan , p 49; in contrast to Maxeiner and Miersch The task of traditional science seems to be the search for truth with the goal to obtain a clear reflection of nature, as free as possible from any social and sub- jective influences that might distort the 'facts'.

Nevertheless, the sciences are not merely a medium to which one refers in order to construct environmental prob- lems. Frequently, they become the target of environmental claims themselves, for instance, in the case of the potentially harmful effects of genetic engineering. A paradoxical situation originales, because environmental argumentation has to presuppose the credibility of scientific expertise when defining these problems.

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When fighting against science-based industrial projects, however, they are forced to doubt the technocratic rationality of science by referring to 'social rationality' or folk wisdom Perrow Science has become dependent on social and political processes. Whatever is on the political agenda gets researched, since scientific knowledge is produced, where research funds are available. The consequences of these developments have two symptoms: the politicalization of science and the scientification of politics Weingart One can assume that the scientification of politics is Iess problematic for the scientific community than the politicalization of science because politics may improve through better expertise.

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But the conduct of poli- tics - that is mediation of problems, balancing of interests, etc. Furthermore, the credibility of science is underrnined when experts present dif- ferent results dealing with the same issue. Consent in the scientific community and the Iack of scientific controversy influence the public credibility of science profoundly. This way, a certain pressure emerges to reduce the normal and im- portant scientific controversy in favor of more consensual and coherent state- ments on part of the particular scientific community in order to gain public resonance and political support.

The relationship of scientification and politicali- zation carries many more critical tendencies, which cannot be explicated here. On the one hand, there is the pure descriptlon of a situation, e. On the other hand, there is the purpose to give evidence for the need to act often mediated with adequate semantic con- structions like a 'critical Ioad' of an ecosystem that implies the need not to exceed its Iimits Alcamo The activity of scientists does not end, howe- ver, with making knowledge claims.

They also routinely construct ignorance claims highlightlog 'gaps' in the available knowledge in order to promote the necessity of further research, or to retard unwanted or disturbing political actlon because not enough hard data exist to justify legislative or administrative activity Hannigan , p Uncertainties regarding processes of global climatic change Uncertainty regarding the mechanisms of the effect.

Does the sea-level rise? Will there be more storms? Uncertainty regarding anthropogenic causation. Does the variance perhaps Jie within the range of natural fluctuations?


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Are, e. Uncertainties related to the time scales of prognosted changes and to the localization in space. Are they detailed or rough, what is the speed of the delocalization of eco-zones on the earth's surface, where will extreme weather events become more frequently? Uncertainty regarding the socioeconomic and political repercussions.

Will there be crop shortages? Will there be mass migrations and conflicts about eco-refugees? Do higher energy prices have a negative effect on the growth of the gross national product, or do they trigger a technical breakthrough in the direction of higher energy and resource productivity? Uncertainty regarding the efficiency of countermeasures. Are the expenses of the reduction greater than the costs of the prevented dangers?

The uncertainties of forecastlog the effects of global change are a good example in case Bechmann et al. In order to investigate this complex matter of real world phenomena, it is not sufficient anymore to 'construct' mono causal linkages between cause and effect under the 'ideal' circumstances of the scientific laboratory. Instead, it is necessary to work with models including a high number of factors and parameters.

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The models show different kinds of dynamic behavior according to alternating starting points and conditions, and according to different algorithms describing different potential causal linkages. Metzner pacity of such models than testing the validity of underlying assumptions and by simulating past or present processes that can be compared with empirical data.

Regarding the growing necessity to deal with the effects, problems, and risks ernerging from the relationship between human societies and their ecology, sci- ence loses more and more the character of a pure basic science and rather gains some characteristics of applied science such as medical and engineering sci- ence. Furthermore, the very idea of science itself has changed. In former times, science was thought to produce media for the increasing human dornination of nature.

Today science has to deal already with the problems of man's successful appropriation of nature - it has turned into a reflexive science Beck, Giddens and Lash ; Lash, Szerszinsky and Wynne Thus science works in the context of a reflexive industrialization, which needs to master the charges and after-effects of the conventional modernization Mol The acceleration of the adaptive processes of social institutions related to technological innovations, econornical restructuring, cultural changes, and envi- ronmental alterations poses a great challenge to politics.

Reactive politics that intervenes only when manifest damages occur, is systematically late. A pro- active politics could be effective in time, but it is forced to work with uncertain hypotheses regarding the problems or corrective measures.

Eco Targets, Goal Functions, and Orientors

According to the principle of precaution, even scientific uncertainty is no excuse for the delay of proteelive measures concerning ecologically destructive processes. To be useful as reference points for social practice, it is not necessary that models are scien- tifically complete in detail. In view of the ever Iasting hypothetical character of all scientific knowledge, as Critical Rationalism has pointed out Popper , completely detailed modelsareimpossible as it is. As even temporary points of reference it is sufficient that the models be more coherent and coverlog more observations and experiences than concurrent action-leading cognitive maps Fischer-Kowalski One side is convinced "we need more democracy" because "the people know best" how to attain a growing public welfare.

The other side under- lines the necessity of an institution, capable to integrate vested interests and to force decisions when necessary against resistance. The advisory function of science has to change while reacting either to 'top down' or 'bottom up' approaches. Several media can be used to implement po- litical decisions, to formulate political targets, or to influence processes of deci- sion-making.

Of these, money, power, and knowledge are three most important ones. Knowledge is the specific medium of science.

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As on other markets, the impact of ecological knowledge depends on demand as weil as on the way this medium is offered. Conflict arises, for instance, in the debate over the need for economic adaptation to the ongoing 'globalization' of the world market.

riarantkamocon.ga The course of the concurrent debates suggests to make ecological knowledge more attractive. To strengthen its position, it is of growing importance to intro- duce competencies of ecology into interdisciplinary working groups and proj- ects. To demoostrate the positive effects on ecological knowledge, social and economical advantages or positive effects to the quality of human life should be mentioned frequently. Ecology as a scientific discipline should in each case try to satisfy the top down as weil as the bottarn up induced demand for advertising and expertise. Ecology should provide environmental knowledge understandable for all participants in public discourse and lucid management schemes.

Not only the claims making activities of objectivistic sciences are responsible for environmentally destabilizing human actions. By pointing to the necessary relativity of such scientific truth claims, or by deconstructing the social genesis and social functions of these claims, subjec- tivist and constructivistic studies may invalidate possibly correct and practically important knowledge. On the other band, the deconstruction of scientific knowl- edge shares responsibility for the validation of the incorrect.

Take the quarret about global environmental changes. Several authors stress the uncertainty of scientific data, models and prognoses Bailey ; Wildavsky Their work would be misleading, however, if ordinary people would think "OK then, scientists construct their knowledge as they want", and deny the need for any action. In this context we have to recognize that the own interests of scientists are a decisive factor as the need of the acquisition of research-funds has become overwhelming.