Ecologists are often accused of tunnel vision, as they are unable to see the broader social, economic and political forces that had, and are actually shaping the problems they study. Political ecology takes into consideration these forces, thereby forming a contextual, holistic approach to the ecological problems, rather than a compartmentalized approach. Even in a supposed pristine environment, a political ecologist would take into account the local, regional, national and international human actions in the form of social, economical and political aspects. They would suppose that these aspects not only exist, but can be primary driving forces of ecological change itself. It would not be unfair to say that one becomes a political ecologist when they realize that they have not been one.
About the authors
Caption and idea provided by Rathnavel Pandian, a project intern working on the relationship between soil arthropods and human wellbeing in the tea estates of Darjeeling.
The sketch was done by Ovee Thorat, a PhD student with a specific interest in political ecology of landscape change in grassland system.