Posted: February 17th, 2022
WEATHER AND ENVIRONMENT
Weather and Environment
According to Pryke (2018), weather derivatives have widely been used in European and North American financial imagination to meet the demands for economic sectors like energy, which are exposed to the unpredictability of weather that may affect revenue streams. As such, weather derivative is a financial component used by businesses and firms or individuals to safeguard the company against the risk of weather-related losses (Pryke 2018).
The elements involved in reviewing environmental materials include the measurement station, measurement agency, and settlement agency (Allen 2018). The measurement station collects weather conditions such as temperature and then conveys the data to the measurement agency. At this point, different weather variables are measured for presentation to those wishing to trade in environmental materials (Allen 2018). The measured variables are presented continuously over time to construct the underlying seasonal index of the materials. Finally, the settlement agency aggregates weather variables and then constructs the selection basis of the environmental materials to a firm’s revenue stream.
The Commodification of the Environment
Not everything is or should be for sale. The natural environment would suffer an imminent danger of destruction if people and governments viewed them as just commodities for sale in the markets. According to Allen (2018), commodification reduces environmental goods to the status of ‘objects’ standardized as things for sale to profit. Therefore, the commodification of the Environment integrates biophysical systems and knowledge about them into economic systems to sell them for profit (Allen 2018). Natural entities and services have developed into mediums of profit realization, contingent on the market forces where productivity annuls environmental implications. Animals and weather in many parts of the world have been caught up in the process of commodification, reduced to marketable objects (Allen 2018)
Moreover, since environmental entities and processes require minimal effort or funds for their production, and their value culturally or ecologically surpasses the market value assigned to them, they are regarded as fictitious commodities. Consequently, the fictional nature of environmental entities fosters their treatment as if they were ‘real’ commodities as entirely separable, alienable, or privatizable. This paper focuses on the unintended consequences on animal lives and weather when they are entangled in the process of commodification.
Consequences on Animal Lives
Animals seen as commodities may be killed, sold, bequeathed, given away, bought, or taken as commodity producers of skin, wool, fur, milk, eggs, and meat (Allen 2018). One of the observable changes in the commodification of animal lives is the increasing production of chicken for meat. Today, chicken can be bought and sold as a business commodity (Allen 2018). As a result of placing a price on chicken, their value has been lowered. Allen (2018) contends that for these chickens to become a commodity, they must lose their ‘natural’ variation and be made into market-desirable sizes for sale. Therefore, while it very well might be a stretch to utilize the bones of chickens to characterize a geographical period, their advanced shape and structure might go some way towards exemplifying the truth of what befalls animal life today when it turns out to be entirely trapped with the course of commodification.
The commodification of animal lives calls for the lives of chickens, cattle, and pigs to be objectified as saleable goods. For animal lives to be ‘objects’ of sale, they have to become a productive force that can produce value under industrial conditions (Allen 2018). In this view, animals become objects produced through the commodification process.
Production of meat through commodification, especially on the lives of poultry, pigs, and cattle, has increased the supply of affordable food across the globe by lowering unit costs (Allen 2018). Also, based on positive unintended consequences of commodifying animal lives, Allen (2018) claims that industrial-scale farms provide disease-free and safe products with a high level of animal welfare. According to Allen (2018), the kind of farming method (intensive-farming) offers a meticulously regulated environment that allows for improved care of the animals, with a greater level of welfare compared to when reared outside. However, stocking densities are vital; they are insignificant compared to the environments in which animals are kept in terms of humidity, temperature, and ventilation. Additionally, the quality of control over the production and the concentration of production provides for an effective, leveled-up operation to deliver safe and quality products to consumers.
On the other hand, many researchers have criticized industrial farming, arguing that the benefits of industrialization and commodification have come at a great cost. Environmental campaign organizations such as Friends of the Earth or Compassion in World Farming have expressed unintended negative consequences arising from the commodification of animal lives. First, industrial farming of live animals in congested, industry-like surroundings creates animal suffering leading to wellbeing problems (Allen 2018); for example, high-density stocking to optimize production in a unit space multiplies higher mortality rates and incidents of injury are among animals. Secondly, the constant pressure to grow turnover and get animals to the desirable market weights due to the high density of live animals in the industrial farms presents a risk for bacterial and viral diseases (Allen 2018). Lastly, Allen (2018) argues that the custody of a large number of animals in industrial farming close to each other offers a ready platform for disease gestation and its expansion. Also, the increased growth process of animals that only prioritizes meat and milk yields over the lives of pigs, cattle, and poultry has created a cauldron for disease circulation.
Consequences on Weather
While the unpredictability of the weather is practically a force of nature, commodification has explored that weather can be managed and domesticated to financial markets for sale (Pryke 2018). According to Pryke (2018), weather derivatives are utilized by firms and individuals to protect themselves from possible economic losses that may arise from the fluctuations of weather. Characters like Michael Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge, among other business people and researchers, have attempted to second-guess the future weather to make a profit (Pryke 2018). They have recognized that the unpredictability and risks of weather if correctly predicted, could be a source of financial gain on the future production of various goods such as crops and economic sectors such as energy. However, commodifying the weather for financial gain has triggered both negative and positive unintended consequences on the weather.
As a consequence of including weather into financial markets, the assumption that derivatives can regulate its excesses to quantifiable risks may prompt a kind of financial ‘fix,’ where the focus is on short-term climate change compared to long-term climate options (Pryke 2018). With the previous and current entanglements of finance and meteorology, weather forecasting ideals are concentrated on future price movements that provide opportunities for speculative markets rather than actual weather. Therefore, concentration on future speculative markets for weather changes may lead financial traders to focus on pricing risk or mispricing without any focus on their actions on the actual weather. Finally, control of weather for financial gain dominated by US institutions has affected the weather conditions for other regions such as Africa and India, which has led to economic interdependence (Pryke 2018).
However, the ability of firms to protect themselves from unpredicted weather- upcoming extreme weather tendencies has a positive consequence too. The process of commodification of weather as a derivative represents a peculiarly ‘developed’ way in attempting to do away with environmental risks by setting up a solution to the challenge that uncertainties of natural forces and weather denote (Pryke 2018). As a result, taking weather uncertainty out of the bottom line of business is real for the entertainment, energy, and agriculture sectors.
Finally, the entanglement of nature and economy that has been brought about by marketization, commodification, and financialization that, as a consequence, has created a difference between objectifying nature into commodities for sale. Since a price can be put in almost everything such as poultry, pollution, cattle, and pigs, Bruno Latour argues that putting a price on such things creates a change in attitudes towards them- their make-up and their very own composition (Allen 2018); thus, separating nature from human matters. Therefore, selling objects that previously money could not buy changes their value and behavior towards them (Allen 2018, cited in Sandel 2012). According to Allen (2018), the buying and selling of environmental aspects represent ways in individual preference satisfaction while managing environmental hazards. While the value component goes about as a consistent theme arranging the unique financial cycles, it is the approaching together of business sectors with pollution, of commodities with animal bodies, and money with the vulnerabilities of the weather that gives a knowledge into how specific parts of the economy are inseparably ensnared with the Environment around us (Allen 2018, cited in Hodder 2014).
To conclude, the paper has argued that commodification of the Environment has unintended consequences on animal lives and weather. For example, animals seen as commodities may be killed, sold, bequeathed, given away, bought, or taken as commodity producers of skin, wool, fur, milk, eggs, and meat, without any value on their lives. The paper has also highlighted the differences that have been brought about by commodification, marketization, and financialization of the Environment and economy on pollution, weather risks, and farmed animals. Therefore, the commodification of the domain is a large area of research that studies how natural entities and processes are commoditized for sale as goods, and the consequences are overhanging.
Allen J. (2018). “Standardising nature: commodifying animal lives” in Lampert, B., & Revill, G. (eds). Environment and Society: Cultural and Economic Entanglements. United Kingdom (UK): Halston Printing Group.263-291
Allen J. (2018). “Economic entanglements: consolidation and reflection” in Lampert, B., & Revill, G. (eds). Environment and Society: Cultural and Economic Entanglements. United Kingdom (UK): Halston Printing Group.327-349
Pryke M. (2018). “Trading in environmental futures: when the weather becomes a financial risk.” in Lampert, B., & Revill, G. (eds). Environment and Society: Cultural and Economic Entanglements. United Kingdom (UK): Halston Printing Group. 297-320.
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