Home » Posts tagged 'environmentalism'

Tag Archives: environmentalism

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase

OPINION: WHAT MY MOTHER’S DEATH TAUGHT ME ABOUT SAVING THE PLANET. WE CAN’T, AND HERE’S WHY.

OPINION: WHAT MY MOTHER’S DEATH TAUGHT ME ABOUT SAVING THE PLANET. WE CAN’T, AND HERE’S WHY.

As environmentalists, we often refer to our work as “saving the planet.” This is unhelpful for a couple of reasons. 

Intro image

Illustration by Sean Quinn

January 24, 2019 — As I look back on 2018, the thing I’ll remember most is being with my mother for her final days.

At 86, she was doing great until she had a stroke around Halloween. That began a cascade of events that put her in and out of the intensive care unit. She staged a remarkable rebound that allowed her to leave the ICU and have one last wonderful 24 hours talking with me, my siblings and my father. She died just before Thanksgiving.  

It was a bittersweet experience that, paradoxically, shed light on something that’s been nagging me about my profession for some time.

As environmentalists, we often refer to our work as “saving the planet.” This is unhelpful for a couple of reasons.

The World Is Not Binary

First, framing the challenge of living on a changing planet as a rescue mission is confrontational, which puts environmentalists in the role of “hero,” fighting those out to “harm” the planet.

Of course, there are a lot of bad actors out there who willingly destroy our natural systems in the pursuit of profit. But we all impact the environment in some way. In my role as an executive at Environmental Defense Fund, where I mostly work on agricultural and coastal resilience issues, I encounter good, honorable men and women who are responding to a set of powerful economic incentives and social norms that influence their actions.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where’s the “eco” in ecomodernism?

Where’s the “eco” in ecomodernism?

Image: Richard Walker

If you hadn’t heard, despair is old hat. Rather than retreat into the woods, now is the time to think big, to propose visionary policies and platforms. So enter grand proposals like basic income, universal healthcare, and the end of work. Slap big polluters with carbon tax, eradicate tax havens for the rich, and switch to a 100% renewable energy system.

But will these proposals be enough? Humanity is careening toward certain mayhem. In a panic, many progressive commentators and climate scientists, from James Hansen and George Monbiot to, more recently, Eric Holthaus, have argued that these big policy platforms will need to add nuclear power to the list.

In a recent issue on climate change in the Jacobin, several authors also suggested we need to consider carbon capture technologies, geo-engineering (the large-scale modification of earth systems to stem the impacts of climate change), and even GMOs make an appearance. What’s more, one of the contributors, Christian Parenti, actually proposes that we should increase our total energy use, not reduce it.

Any critique of this kind of utopian vision is often dismissed as green conservatism. In her article, “We gave Greenpeace a chance”, Angela Nagle argues: faced with President Trump promising abundance and riches, greens can only offer “a reigning in of the excesses of modernity”. Despite all its failures, modernity freed us from the shackles of nature. Modernity promised a world without limits—and the environmentalist obsession with limits, she says, amounts to “green austerity.”

This argument is associated with an emerging body of thought called ecomodernism. Ecomodernism is the idea that we can harness technology to decouple society from the natural world. For these techno-optimists, to reject the promise of GMOs, nuclear, and geo-engineering is to be hopelessly romantic, anti-modern, and even misanthropic. An ecological future, for them, is about cranking up the gears of modernity and rejecting a politics of limits.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Special Interests Try to Take Control of Governments

Why Special Interests Try to Take Control of Governments

marionette.PNG

George Monbiot, popular Guardian columnist, beacon light of global environmentalism, is also the kind of progressive who insists on seeing the world as he wishes it were and not as it really is. Wearing these kind of blinders will not help us get a better environment or better world.

In his latest column, Monbiot states that: “The forces that threaten to destroy our wellbeing are… the same everywhere: primarily the lobbying power of big business and big money, which perceive the administrative state as an impediment to their immediate interests.”

This is nonsense. Big business and big money, along with other special interests, such as Big labor and Big law and Big education, and all the other “ Bigs” absolutely love the “administrative state” because they have learned how to control it and use it for their own self-interest.

This is the “ progressive paradox” that Monbiot resolutely ignores: the more the state increases its powers over the economy, the more motivated special interests become to take control of the state in order to thwart genuine market competition. The resulting corruption just gets worse and worse.

Has Monbiot ever considered what persuaded enough voters to hold their noses and choose Trump? It was not that the administrative state provided honest government under the prior administration. Nor was the prior administration making any effort to hold back the power of special interests in Washington.

Two examples will suffice. In the “fiscal cliff” bill, President Obama achieved his long sought objective of increasing taxes on the rich. But in the same bill, passed at midnight, he snuck in subsidies for his own corporate supporters.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Life Without Limits: The Delusions of Technological Fundamentalism

Living in the United States, I’m tempted to focus on the delusion that the United States is the greatest nation in the history of the world — a claim repeated robotically by politicians of both parties.

In a mass-consumption capitalist society, there’s the delusion that if we only buy more, newer, better products we all will be happier — a claim repeated endlessly in commercial propaganda (commonly known as advertising and marketing).

I’m also white, and so it’s understandable to worry about the delusion that white people are superior to non-white people. And as a man, I reflect on the delusion that institutionalized male dominance is our fate, whether asserted to be divinely commanded or evolutionarily inevitable.

But all these delusions that rationalize hierarchies within the human family, and the resulting injustices that flow from those hierarchies, are less frightening to me than modern humans’ delusion that we are not bound by the laws of physics and chemistry, that humans can live beyond the biophysical limits of the ecosphere.

This delusion is not limited to one country, one group, or one political party, but rather is the unstated assumption of everyday life in the high-energy/high-technology industrial world. This is the delusion that we are — to borrow from the title of a particularly delusional recent book — the god species.

This ideology of human supremacy leads us to believe that our species’ cleverness allows us to ignore the limits placed on all life forms by the larger living world, of which we are but one component.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Environmentalism” and Rabies

“Environmentalism” and Rabies

When an animal catches rabies, in the end stages, it manifest bizarre, aggressive behavior. A normally shy raccoon will charge a human, growling and frothing at the mouth.rabid raccoon

There is only one treatment for a rabid raccoon.

How about humans afflicted with the disease called “environmentalism”?

It is a form of rabies – and much more dangerous.

California Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, for instance. This “environmentalist” (what’s the credential, exactly?) is pushing legislation that would require 15 percent of all new cars sold in California be “emissions free” by model year 2025.

This means electric cars, as only electric cars qualify as “emissions-free”… notwithstanding that they also most definitely produce emissions.

Just not at the tailpipe.burke

This also means catastrophe for the car industry – for car buyers. For buyers of cars that aren’t electric cars.

The price of which will skyrocket – in order to offset the losses imposed on car companies forced to manufacture and then give away vast fleets of electric cars in order to be allowed to sell any cars at all.

Electric cars only being “salable” when subsidized or “sold” at a loss.

In the past, there was a dodge.

A con, actually.carbon credit

It’s the one that helped make the rent-seeking Andrew Carnegie of our time, Elon Musk – purveyor of the Tesla electric car – a very wealthy man. He sells carbon creditsto other car companies. These credits serve as flim-flam-than-you-ma’am proxies for notbuilding electric cars. GM, for instance, avoids wasting money and time designing, manufacturing  and then attempting to sell (at a loss) an electric Edsel (like the ’90s-era EV1) by purchasing carbon credits from Elon for the tailpipe emissions not produced by the cars he makes. In order to offset the tailpipe emissions of the cars GM makes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Australian Government Proclaims – Environmentalism and Alternative Music Are Signs of Terrorism

The Australian Government Proclaims – Environmentalism and Alternative Music Are Signs of Terrorism

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 2.54.27 PM

Earlier this year, I highlighted how the UK government was cheerfully stretching the boundary of terrorist fear-mongering when it made it policy for registered childminders to “report toddlers at risk of becoming terrorists.”

No, that’s not a joke. Here’s an excerpt from the post, The War on Toddler Terrorists – Britain Wants to Force Nursery School Teachers to Identify “Extremist” Children:

Nursery school staff and registered childminders must report toddlers at risk of becoming terrorists, under counter-terrorism measures proposed by the Government.

The directive is contained in a 39-page consultation document issued by the Home Office in a bid to bolster its Prevent anti-terrorism plan.

But concern was raised over the practicalities of making it a legal requirement for staff to inform on toddlers.

Clearly not wanting to be outdone when it comes to bureaucratic buffoonery, the Commonwealth of Australia is fighting back. We learnfrom ABC Online:

Environmentalists and teachers are up in arms over a new Federal Government anti-radicalisation kit that links green activism and “alternative music” to terrorism.

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Terrorism Michael Keenan launched the Radicalisation Awareness Kit in the form of a 32-page booklet on Monday.

Australia has a Prime Minister on Terrorism? Are you kidding me. You’re more likely to get scratched to death by a koala than die in a terrorist attack.

Through a series of examples and fictitious case studies, the booklet aims to illustrate the circumstances which can lead young people to become radicalised.

But one surprising example cites the power of the alternative music scene and environmental activism in the radicalisation process.

He said the kit was designed to help teachers understand how the radicalisation process worked, and how to respond if they felt there was somebody in their community who is susceptible to it.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Dark Thoughts on Ecomoderism

Dark Thoughts on Ecomoderism

Earthlights_dmsp

It’s been a year for manifestos. With the dust only recently settled on the British general election, much has been heard about the different (though not that different) ‘narratives’ offered by the major political parties in their manifesto commitments. Meanwhile, a cabal of environmentalist thinkers and activists were busy putting together a manifesto of their own in the form of the Ecomodernist Manifesto (henceforth, EM), which was published in April (1).

Unlike some of those election manifestos, the EM is a model of clarity. It has a goal to be reached, a process for reaching it, a problem that must be solved along the way, and a solution to the problem. The goal is ‘vastly improved material well-being, public health, resource productivity, economic integration, shared infrastructure, and personal freedom’ (p.28). The process is modernisation. The problem is leaving ‘room for nature’. And the solution is decoupling: decoupling human consumption from the drawdown of natural resources, and decoupling humans themselves from the world of nature and from their dependence upon it.

Dark Mountain has a manifesto of its own, of course. It could hardly be more different from the EM. I assume that people reading this blog have an idea of its contents, so I won’t dwell on it here. Nor will I pretend to be neutral in my estimation of these two manifestos’ respective merits. But like any ornery voter, I don’t willingly surrender myself to other people’s manifestos of whatever kind. When it comes to manifesto ‘narratives’, I want to find the stories that lie beneath the words, and compare them with my own. So here I’m going looking for the stories of ecomodernism in Dark Mountain’s light – and if that sounds oxymoronic, so be it. Perhaps there are some truths that only reveal themselves in another’s shadow.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

 

When Growth Trumps Freedom: the Chill in Canada Comes from our Government, not the Weather

When Growth Trumps Freedom: the Chill in Canada Comes from our Government, not the Weather

With the introduction of Canada’s so-called “secret police” bill, there is increasing concern the rights of the oil patch will trump the rights of ordinary citizens in a new and chilling way–through the kinds of fear tactics you’d sooner expect in Soviet Russia than a western liberal democracy.

Sound like exaggeration? Please prove me wrong.

Bill C-51 would give Canadian national security and intelligence forces the right to monitor ordinary citizens, and even detain them for up to seven days at a time if they are perceived to “interfere with the economic or financial stability of Canada or with the country’s critical infrastructure.” This includes what the government has branded the “anti-petroleum” movement, whose participants have been labelled ‘extremists’ by the Prime Minister and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The legislation would subject environmental activists to increased surveillance and intimidation under the guise of preventing terrorism. I wonder how, exactly, a government with strong ties to the oil patch will define ‘economic or financial stability.’

The truly chilling development as a result of Bill C-51 is that a citizen doesn’t have to actually organize a demonstration to trigger the use of new powers. Under this legislation, the agency simply has to suspectthat you might do something that interferes with ‘critical infrastructure’ in order to monitor you or pay you a visit.

By stifling free speech and democratic engagement, this effort demonstrates just how far some will go in order to cling to an aging growth-at-all-costs narrative–absurdly pitting human beings against one another and against the planet itself. At worst, this is carbon-fuelled neoliberal fanaticism disguised as pragmatic politics, given that the oil sands contribute about 2% to Canada’s GDP.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase