The twentieth century and especially its latter half abound with rapid unprecedented ecological developments world over. Man’s influence on nature through human activities has reached a global level and has unfortunately been so fast. No natural ecosystem or living place anywhere on this globe could escape this influence at least partly. But the positive fact here is that it is in the present age alone that man’s attention has been focused on this phenomenon and world community has come to express worries mingled with cynicism about it though it seems to be too late.
Man’s faculty of thinking and reasoning inspired an expectation in people especially in the eighteenth century Europe that he will one day acquire such a huge power that enables him to control nature and preserve his environment of life. But the actual progress of technology took a different course; man is increasingly changing the natural environment in a manner endangering life and jeopardizing his very existence.
The picture is so vivid that no one asks any reason for the assumption that the planet earth is going from bad to worse heading to ultimate ruin but the opposite assumption needs be substantiated by arguments that can justify it.
At any rate, most ecological problems have now developed to the stage of universal calamities no more confined in a region or nation. This is in addition to the fact that even ecological bottlenecks of local character are also general and global in another sense; each one of them usually involves so many economical, cultural, political, ethical, philosophical, even mystical and in a sense, geopolitical dimensions that hardly remain confined to a particular location. The material and spiritual aspects of human life are so interwoven that even the smallest abnormality in one area leave far reaching repercussions world over thanks to the phenomenon of globalization. So, a problem one nation suffers from is indeed the problem of humanity.
In this prologue we try to explain the relation of geopolitical issues particularly the challenges poverty rises to ecological issues and draw the attention of leaders, socio-cultural policy makers and thinkers to this global fundamental challenge;
Geopolitics is defined as the study of international relations and disputes from the geographical point of view. According to this definition, the location of natural resources, their situation, their distance from population centers, their distribution patterns and the features of human resources play very important a role in international relations.
Geography is divided into two main branches; natural and human. In natural geography, studies include natural systems on the earth, their position, their distributions and various aspects. So, climate, plants in different regions and continents, the features of the surface of the earth and their causes, the relations between these elements are studied in natural geography. In human geography, relations between human societies, cultures and civilizations and the range of their spreading are studied. Geopolitics is a branch of human geography.
Social science, economics, political science, cultural studies and their achievements are used in geopolitics as raw material next to the study of ecological forces in order to carry out geopolitical analysis.
A great part of present international debates are centered on environment. The ecological themes are subject maters for geopolitics because repercussions of increasing consumption of natural raw materials leading to destruction of bio resources in the world are not limited to conventional borders of countries.
But what is environment? One simple definition says environment is all the living or inanimate elements around man with internal relations linking them together. In nineteenth century, scientists used the concept “living place” to define the environment on the planet earth and the relation among organisms and inanimate elements therein.
Ecosystems or biosphere is applied to a vast area on the earth where different species of vegetative and animal life exist and the interactions among them. Theoretically speaking, it is hard or rather impossible to say that political conventional borders between countries correspond with existing ecosystem borders. for example, immigrating birds flying from Siberia in the north to Iran or other countries in the south at the start of winter season and returning in the summer to their original loci like the wild gooses who travelled to and fro Soviet Union and U. S. A. during cold war period lived their lives indifferent to the political disputes and wars that went on. Accordingly, geopolitics is concerned only with the international relations and disputes in global level from the biological effects point of view.
The main subject of geopolitical disputes is the natural resources that are moving geographically across countries borders. Among them are fish reserves, oil reserves underground, Border Rivers and lakes, immigrating wild animals and the like. Countries trying to maximize their utilization of these resources cause conflicts and wars between neighboring nations.
Now the question arises what the proper utilization of natural resources is. Is it right to consume them utterly? Does state enjoy the right to take whatever measures they see appropriate within their national borders about how to use natural resources? Giving positive answer to these questions brings about serious challenge tensions in case of resources like wild life, uranium mines, air and water.
The concept of natural resources in geopolitics
At present, western industrial nations are the major consumers of world natural resources. But in coming years developing nations replace them in this respect due to rapid growth of population and economic development that results in more consumption of raw materials. This would leave a profound effect on the ecosystems of this planet and the natural resources we increasingly become scarce. Natural resources are essentially scares in the sense that they are limited in quantity and position. Due to this fact as the result of the present pattern of economy growth, geopolitical clashes and walls for dominion over these resources would increase considerably. The winning party will enjoy access to more resources and be able to consume more. Historically speaking, the rapid expansion of British colonies started up after the industrial revolution in Europe when the na