chapter  7
62 Pages

Consilience and Change

Consilience is a Wittgensteinian term recently used by Edward Wilson (1998) to mean simultaneous conceptual and methodological advance-ment (‘jumping together’) of knowledge by sharing and interlinking pieces of information across diff erent disciplines. In the sustainability discourse that is still evolving, a veritable consilience may be shown to have occurred in the disciplines of ecology and economics, and concomitantly, in the politics and ethics of environmentalism. Th e recent understanding of chaos and fractal dynamics of nature’s architecture, ecological functions of biodiversity, and the recognition of non-monetary values of natural wealth mark the beginning of an auspicious change in the ideological edifi ce of development. Th ese understandings fail to conform to the conventional reductionist and instrumental view of nature. Th e conventional framework of resource management policies and practices has come to a turning point in history, as it fails to solve present problems of vanishing resources and values. ‘It does not eff ectively explain observed phenomena nor does it give good direction for future decisions’ (Bernard and Young 1997: 21).