Environmental problems are problems of people: their history, their living conditions, their relation to the world and reality and their social, cultural and political situations
In the classical period of industrial society, nature and society were separated, but in the advanced industrial society, they became deeply intertwined: changes in society often affect the natural environment, and these changes, in turn, affect society. For these reasons, Beck would argue that "at the end of the twentieth-century nature is society and society is also 'nature'" (Beck, 1986/1992, p. 81). Nature is also "heavily politicized", meaning that the natural scientists "politicized their work", as well as social scientists (Beck, 1986/1992, p. 24). The traditional areas of politics and public administration lose their power because the main risks come from "sub-political" domains including large companies and scientific laboratories. Society and its subsystems (economy, politics, culture, and family) can no longer be understood as autonomous of nature and "its" hazards. In other words, environmental or "natural" problems "are not problems of our surroundings, but are thoroughly social problems, problems of people, their history, their living conditions, their relation to the world and reality, their social, cultural and political situations" (Beck, 1986/1992, p. 81).
Note: See source document for full reference.