CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
The exploratory research is interdisciplinary and therefore integrates different areas of knowledge. The author initially examined the broad areas of planning philosophies in relation to Eco-centrism, Holism, Systems and Complexity Theory, and Sustainable Development. These paradigms are interpreted and narrowed down into specific aspects relevant to Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) and sustainable stormwater Source Control (SC) practices. Dixon and Sharp (2007) pointed out that environmental planning studies are currently widely addressing the interdisciplinary approach to nature. Consideration of interdisciplinary knowledge, ecological interconnectedness and system scientific methods is necessary to explain the complex phenomenon of the whole system to minimise the impacts of stormwater contamination on the receiving waters and environmental health.
Anthropocentrism and Ecocentrism Paradigms
Paradigms related to catchment management and sustainable water management will firstly be addressed in terms of the philosophies of anthropocentrism and eco-centrism. These approaches provide a different perception to manage the natural environment and all living organisms in order to seek proper solutions for human and natural relationships. Both Anthropocentricism and Eco-centrism raise complicated questions with respect to environmental protection. However, the fundamental principle of anthropocentrism perspectives is that the natural world is made vulnerable as a result of values held by humanity and humans have the ability to have a dominion over all creatures and to exploit the natural world for the purpose of serving human interests.
Under the anthropocentric perspective and worldviews humans value things as resources. This paradigm believes that humans are the centre of the earth and separated from nature, so the nature can be a source for human exploitation and all creatures exist to serve human needs based on utilitarian value (Haddad, 2003).Thus, nature will have value when it can be used. Likewise, Takace (1996) maintained that anthropocentrism also takes into account the idea of economic profits and productions. This approach considers the natural resources as utilizing interests or economic value or “instrumental or utilitarian value” as it provides goods and services as well as information to human society.
It is crucial to recognise that the primary cause of ecological degradation has developed from the influences of anthropocentric views. Under the anthropocentric paradigm, the earth’s biodiversity is viewed as a resource for humankind to exploit. From an anthropocentric perspective, biological resources include « genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use or value for humanity » (CBD, 2013). Therefore, it can be assumed that nature will be a source to serve human demand. The consequences of the anthropocentric views lead to the failed sustainable management of land and water resources.
Anthropocentric debates are generally associated with Human Egoism and Social Darwinism which place human species at finality of natural evolution (Van De Veer & Pierce, 2003). According to the theory of Selfish Gene, Dawkins (2006) asserted that human’s gene is naturally selfish. Therefore, the most consideration of human thought is our interest. Thus, the anthropocentric or human-centred paradigm allows us to control and subdue nature for a number of decades, resulting in devastating impacts on earth’s climate and ecosystems as well as reflecting humankind as a whole.
Nevertheless, the impacts from this human-centred paradigm have been challenged by the Eco-centrism paradigm. Burdon (2011) maintains that humans and biological species are dependent and profoundly connected upon one another in the natural world. According to Bosselmann, (1995) eco-centrism resists the dominance of humans through all life forms on the Earth and also takes into account an awareness of ecological relationships and the need to balance human recognition with nature Unlike the anthropocentric paradigm, the ecocentric regime applies ecological wisdoms to achieve environmental sustainability based on scientific knowledge and research. The primary view point of eco-centrism takes into account holism and considers the earth ecosystem and community protection as a whole rather than the protection of individual species. Regarding the basic concept of Gaia Ethics, the Earth is made up of the interaction of highly complex ecosystems among living inhabitants (Lovelock, 2010) and can adjust for changing conditions through the effort of self-renewal to continue stability between atmosphere and temperature (Capra, 1996). Thus, nature is self-sustaining and has restorative and resilient capacity to continue the functions of ecosystems.
The concept of eco-centrism is based on mutual restraint that avoids harming all life forms and Earth. Eco-centrism recognises that humans are deeply interconnected and dependent on nature. The regime argues that humans are part of the natural world on Earth system and recognises ecological values as a first priority and does not allow human needs to take control over natural resources. This approach states that as human knowledge about the natural environment is limited, the way to decrease ecological destruction and maintain ecological function is not by relying on human intervention or modern techno-science, but rather by developing and improving on principles and policies (Capra, 1996). Additionally, the ecocentric paradigm also recognises indigenous and local environmental knowledge as well as religious belief systems, which can encourage participation of all stakeholders in environmental protection.
As it relates to the ecocentric paradigm, humans should not try to control, manipulate, modify or even manage nature. To challenge the conventional concept of human dominance over nature, Meyer and Bergel (2002) developed the Bio-centric philosophy of “Reverence of life” or « the will-to-live » in 1923. They argued that all individual organisms in nature have their own values or intrinsic values and should be respected, so it is wrong to abuse their will-to-live. This Life-centreed-approach has been applied to nature as a whole and has gained the frequent attention of Eco-centrism philosophers for several decades. Similarly, Arne Naess (1986) proposed a strong idea of deep ecology to criticise the exploitation of the natural environment to support human needs. He stated that human intervention in nature should be primarily directed by the need to maintain ecological integrity rather than the needs of utilisation by humans.
In this study, the concept of sustainable stormwater practices and ICM planning opens an opportunity to consider an ecocentric, holistic and integrated approach as a core theme. The recognition of an ecocentric paradigm needs to be taken into account to avoid human activities that damage the ecological functions. As an ecocentric philosophy offers us a solution to overcome environmental constraints, the ecocentric approach will be addressed in this thesis in relation to the management of the natural environment to minimise the impacts of anthropogenic activities on natural ecosystems.
Holism and Reductionism
Holism can be the idea that explains a complex phenomenon by emphasising the whole system. Looijen (2000) pointed out that the scientific disciplines have been shifting from the influence of the reductionism paradigm to holism paradigm which is prevalent in most aspects of modern research. Within the paradigm of holism there is consideration of the entire system rather than separated parts. It also emphasises the interaction between biotic and abiotic components from a small scale to the large system. Indeed, there are two philosophical worldviews, environmental holists and reductionists, embedded in the environmental management regime. In several studies such as Lamarck (1802), Suess (1875), Vernadsky (1926), and Lovelock (2010) the authors have gone beyond conservative reductionism, and instead focused on the idea of the Earth as a living organism.
Holism paradigm can be demonstrated by the idea of the living Earth which takes into account the whole more than the sum of its part. The consideration of the earth as a living system has appeared in several historical scientific literary pieces including the study of « the living matter of the Earth’s crust » by Jean-Baptise Lamarck in 1802, the concept of « An Envelope of the Earth » by E. Suess in 1875. These ideas were futher developed by Ivanovich Vernadsky in 1926 in « The Biosphere » (Vernadsky, 1998), which proposed “everywhereness of life” and believed that living matter resulted from all geological forces and involved life moving and transforming across oceans and continents.
The comprehensive scientific expression of the Earth as a living organism has also been seen in the « The Gaia Hypothesis » by James Lovelock and Lynn Magulis in the 1970s – which refers to the interaction of life, soil, atmosphere, and ocean. Lovelock (2010) maintains that the earth is not only an object, but a living organism which has the diversity of all life forms, and the operation of a complex ecosystem within the biosphere including the stability, resilience, interdependence, and changes. He also proposed that the plants, creatures, and microorganisms have an influence on the earth’s climate and surface environment. This theory has gained public attention and become a controversial debate through decades (Kirchner, 1989).
A holistic approach also takes into account ecological functions and argues that ecology is worth considering. Savory (1988) described how ecosystem management focuses on the ecological principles of « the whole system » including succession, water cycle, mineral cycle and energy flow rather than individual organism.
An ecologically holistic concept applies ecology to preserve biodiversity and natural resources, and has explained that humans are not above nature, but also rely on other life forms. Knight-Lenihan (2007) maintained that holism recognises the intrinsic value of nature and the interconnection between living life and ecosystems. Therefore, the instrumental values of ecosystems which are based on human interests resulted in the reduction of connected life and the fragmentation of ecological function. Similarly, Bosselmann (1995) argued that reductionism focuses on the small scale in each isolated part; therefore, the reductive management is not proper for the environmental conservation in a whole system.
With regard to Reductionism, the approach includes a belief that an individual organism is essential and the whole system will not be understood by considering isolated parts. Scientific reductionists maintain that whole systems can be understood by dividing them into small parts and functions. As described by Crick (1967, p.2), the characteristic of reductionism refers to an organism as « essentially nothing but a collection of atoms and molecules ». Likewise, Aldo Leopold (cited in Bosselmann, 1995) refused holism ideas and believed that effective understanding of the complex system can be accomplished by inquiring about the features of its individual parts. In addition, reductionism also takes into account the instrumental value of individual living organisms and maintains that the management and extraction of valuable natural resources relies on human interests. Indeed, as discussed throughout the thesis, the environmental reductionists do not seem to focus on ecological sustainability, and they have been very silent in regard to the concept of sustainable development. As a result, ecological destruction may lead to substantial harm to human wellbeing and ecosystems.
Nevertheless, both scientific paradigms have brought different solutions and policies in political ecological discourse. Many researchers believe that holism and reductionism are mutually dependent and cooperating concepts (Zandvoort, 1986; Looijen, 2000; van Roon, 2010). As described in Zandvoort’s model (1986), it became apparent that holistic and reductionistic programmes rely on one another. On the one hand, the holistic programmes are considered to be a guiding programme which provide theories and generate problems at the level of wholes for reductionistic programmes to reduce and solve the problems. On the other hand, holistic programmes also depend on the theories of reductionistic programmes in order to carry out and analyse these deeper explanations (Looijen, 2000; van Roon, 2010).
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction and Research Background
1.2 Research Objectives
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Overview of Research Design and Methodology
1.5 Site Selection
1.6 Ethics Approval
1.7 Thesis Structure
CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.3 Planning Barriers to the ICM and Stormwater Source Control Management
2.4 The Potential and Implementation of Stormwater Source Control Approaches
2.5 The Combined Use of Stormwater Source Control Approaches
2.6 Legislation Related to Sustainable Stormwater Solutions in Other Countries
CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.2 Justification for the Case Study Approach
3.3 Justification for Selection of Case Study and the Boundaries Identified
3.4 Research Methods and Research Design
CHAPTER 4: STORMWATER RELATED ISSUES AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORTS
4.2 Climate Change Affects Multiple Water Issues
4.3 Land Use Issues: The lack of Green Space and High Impervious Areas
4.4 Water Quality Issues in the Chao Phraya River and Bangkok Canals
4.5 Source of Pollution in Urban Stormwater Runoff
4.6 Other Water-Related Issues
4.7 Current Trends on Environmental Efforts and Policies in Thailand
4.8 Policies on the Increase of Green Infrastructure in Bangkok
4.9 Current Practices of Sustainable Stormwater Source Control in Bangkok
CHAPTER 5: CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING STORMWATER SOURCE CONTROL SOLUTIONS AND ICM PLANNING
5.2 Barriers in Stormwater Management
5.3 Analysis of Interview Findings
6.2 Thematic Comparison of Qualitative Findings
6.3 Potential for Source Control Measure Implementation
6.4 Barriers to Implementing ICM Planning and SC Solutions
6.5 Analysis of Qualitative Findings on the ICM Planning
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION
7.2 Contribution to Stormwater SC Practices in Bangkok and Floodplain Cities
7.3 Contribution to Effective ICM Planning in LocalContext
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