Does Ecological Agriculture Offer a Way to Narrow the Widening Gap in the Human-Nature Relationship?

A Raman, K.W. Cochrane, A.D McKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article provides an opinion on world agriculture and the apparent disconnection between humankind and the natural world. The paper argues that the value system, influenced by the dominant economic and scientific culture of the past century, needs to change. Central to this value system is the belief that humankind is dominant of nature. In such a context, we, the authors of this article, challenge the often-used terms such as custodianship, stewardship, and trusteeship. We, instead, propose a new relationship - that of membership - where the ecological tenet of oneness with nature is appreciated, understood, and respected. Critical to this process is the need for a change at the ontological level and the emergence of a new understanding between humans and the biophysical world. Bringing about change is difficult because the default mechanism for most in the developed world is to maintain the status quo and to defend existing thought patterns. The environmentally damaging pathway of mechanistic and reductionist thought manipulates nature to serve human needs. Instead of continuing along the well-trodden pathway, we propose that the natural elements need to be used prudently and not exploited indiscriminately by practising a more benign form of agriculture that will be based on sound ecological principles. The key principle would be to recognize, value, and preserve the unity of all living and non-living things, and their interconnectednes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-350
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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