In his apocalyptic book on the environment and public policy, Timothy C. Weiskel warned of the consequences of humanity's intrusion into the biological and geo‐chemical…
In his apocalyptic book on the environment and public policy, Timothy C. Weiskel warned of the consequences of humanity's intrusion into the biological and geo‐chemical processes of the natural world. He said that our intrusions have been massive and thorough; that they now threaten to transform ecosystemic parameters; and that unless responsible public policy directs itself toward moderating our current destructive impact on the environment, we will face ecosystemic collapse and human catastrophe “on a vastly greater scale than has ever been recorded in human history.”
To provide a brief illustration of how the circumstances of economic underdevelopment and ecological decline are reciprocally linked, we can begin by tracing the…
To provide a brief illustration of how the circumstances of economic underdevelopment and ecological decline are reciprocally linked, we can begin by tracing the post‐World War II history of Africa. Political histories of the post‐war period abound for almost all parts of the continent, since it was during this era that many African colonies struggled for and won political independence. Detailed ecological histories of colonialism and the post‐colonial states, however, are just beginning to be researched and written. Nevertheless, several broad patterns and general trends of this history are now becoming apparent, and they can be set forth in rough narrative form even though detailed histories have yet to be compiled.
The ecological decline of ancient Near Eastern civilizations and the violent and explosive characteristics of post‐Columbian colonial ecologies might well remain…
The ecological decline of ancient Near Eastern civilizations and the violent and explosive characteristics of post‐Columbian colonial ecologies might well remain comfortably remote from us in our twentieth century world were it not for the disturbing parallels that such case histories seem to evoke as we consider our contemporary global circumstance. Just as in ancient times and in the age of colonial expansion, it is in the “remote environments,” usually quite distant from the centers of power, that the crucial indicators of environmental catastrophe first become apparent within the system as a whole. These regions are frequently characterized by weak economies and highly vulnerable ecosystems in our time, just as they were in the past. Accordingly, the environmental circumstances in these regions constitute for the modern world a kind of monitoring device that can provide early warnings of ecological instabilities in the global ecosystem.
It is eminently fitting that the Greeks who gave us their word for “speaking fair” should also have supplied us with the ultimate exemplification of its use. They were…
It is eminently fitting that the Greeks who gave us their word for “speaking fair” should also have supplied us with the ultimate exemplification of its use. They were wont to refer to the Furies, a group of avenging goddesses, as the Eumenides or “The Fair Ones.” Since the Furies were imagined as having a batlike shape which was adorned with a profusion of snakish hair, they were not fair at all, but rather terrifying, intimidating in the highest degree. To euphemize a phenomenon is to call it something other than what it most particularly is, anything at all provided the new designation is gentler, milder, less offensive, less threatening. It is even possible, as in the case of the Furies renamed Fair Ones, to effect a 180‐degree reversal of meaning.
How does one learn of atrocities that have been committed, and are being committed, in remote corners of our planet? The standard answer to this question would likely be…
How does one learn of atrocities that have been committed, and are being committed, in remote corners of our planet? The standard answer to this question would likely be, “Consult the indexes to the leading components of the American establishment press, such as, for instance, The New York Times Index.” But, by so doing, one would be deeply disappointed, as I was. If one wanted to learn the horrifying particulars of the genocide the government of Bangladesh has been waging for at least 20 years against the tribal peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, an exhaustive search of the American establishment press would yield, at best, only a most shadowy, tenuous, and distorted picture. One's only certainty would be that there has been unrest in the Hill Tracts and that a long‐suffering Bangladeshi government has had a trying time suppressing it. Indeed, one's dominant impression would likely be of a beleaguered government of a newly independent, “democratic” state struggling against its own unruly dissidents. The truth, of course, is quite other‐wise: The government of a dubiously democratic, newly independent state, in a relentless and openly avowed land‐grab, is waging genocidal warfare against the non‐Muslim tribal minorities who occupy lands along one of its borders with India. A Bangladeshi army commander operating in the Tracts once avowed the government's aim: “We Want the Soil but not the People of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.” A genocidal intention could not easily be more explicitly expressed.
Current news on environmental problems frequently emphasizes the totally unprecedented nature of the ecological crises that beset us in this nation and the Western world…
Current news on environmental problems frequently emphasizes the totally unprecedented nature of the ecological crises that beset us in this nation and the Western world as a whole. We are told, for example, that the summer of 1988 constituted “the hottest summer on record” in North America. Similarly we hear mat Boston Harbor has never in its history been so polluted, and in European waters seal populations died of an epidemic in 1988 on a scale never before witnessed by man. By stressing this “never before” aspect of events, it is sometimes argued mat the experience of the past is largely irrelevant for policy planners. Since our circumstances are new, so the argument runs, past experience leaves us with little or no instruction for the formulation of a practical public policy for the environment.
There is evidence that novel psychoactive substances (NPS) are commonly used by people with severe mental illness. The purpose of this paper is to undertake a scoping…
There is evidence that novel psychoactive substances (NPS) are commonly used by people with severe mental illness. The purpose of this paper is to undertake a scoping survey to explore the inpatient mental health workers’ perceptions of NPS use by consumers.
A cross-sectional online survey of mental health professionals is used in the study. The participants were opportunistically recruited through social media and professional networks.
A total of 98 participants (of 175 who started the survey) were included in the analysis. All reported that some patients had used NPS prior to admission. Over 90 per cent of participants reported observing at least one adverse event relating to NPS use in the previous month. The majority of participants reported that patients had used NPS during their inpatient admission. Three quarters were not clear if their workplace had a policy about NPS. Most wanted access to specific NPS information and training. The participants reported that they lacked the necessary knowledge and skills to manage NPS use in the patients they worked with.
Whilst the authors are cautious about the generalisability (due to methodological limitations), the findings provide useful insight into the perceptions of inpatient staff regarding the extent and impact of NPS use including concerns regarding the impact on mental and physical health, as well as ease of availability and a need for specific training and guidance.
Mental health professionals require access to reliable and up-to-date information on changing trends in substance use. Local policies need to include guidance on the safe clinical management of substance use and ensure that NPS information is included.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first survey of the perceptions of mental health staff working in inpatient mental health settings regarding NPS. The findings suggest that NPS is a common phenomenon in inpatient mental health settings, and there is a need for more research on the impact of NPS on people with mental health problems.
A species of moral malaise afflicts the professions today, a malaise that may prove fatal to their moral identities and perilous to our whole society. It is manifest in a…
A species of moral malaise afflicts the professions today, a malaise that may prove fatal to their moral identities and perilous to our whole society. It is manifest in a growing conviction even among conscientious doctors, lawyers, and ministers that it is no longer possible to practice their professions within traditional ethical constraints. More specifically, the belief is taking hold that unless professionals look out for their own self‐interest, they will be crushed by commercialization, competition, government regulation, malpractice actions, advertising, public and media hostility, and a host of other inimical socio‐economic forces. This line of reasoning leads the professional to infer that self‐interest justifies compromises in, and even rejection of, obligations that standards of professional ethics have traditionally imposed.
Plato and Aristotle would have found the modern effort to fuse ethics and ecology to be incomprehensible. Despite the fact that oikos—meaning house or household—is a Greek word, Greek science did not entertain a concept of ecology. Nor did Greek philosophy regard nature as morally considerable. Etymology aside, the word ecology in anything like its modern sense of “biospheric house” did not appear in European thought until 1873 when Ernst Heinrich Haeckel, a German biologist and philosopher, used it, with the spelling “Oekologie,” in his The History of Creation. Furthermore, the words “ecology” and “ecological” always had exclusive reference, until quite recently, to a scientific discipline and not to a branch of philosophy. As with the Classical Greek philosophers, so it was also with modern thinkers. Ethics, they held, were concerned solely with interpersonal relations. They could not, therefore, recognize a duty to nature. That we do owe a duty to nature, however, is the carefully considered conclusion of most of the environmental ethicists.
In a previous issue of Serials Review, I described the three international organizations that I then assumed were the principal ones concerned with the protection of threatened tribal peoples throughout the world. I now know that I had overlooked one very important organization that is in fact coterminous with the organized effort to eradicate slavery. Until very recently, that organization was known as the Anti‐Slavery Society for the Protection of Human Rights. Gale's Encyclopedia of Associations: International Organizations places the foundation of this society in 1839, a date that is off by fifty‐one years, inasmuch as it can be shown that the society under at least two earlier names is continuous with the society that emerged, reorganized, redefined, and renamed in 1839 and with the society that remains vigorously active today.