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cshalizi : environmentalism   20

After Carbon Democracy | Dissent Magazine
"Capitalism is at the heart of the climate challenge."
No, no, no.
(1) Look at the environmental record of the USSR, or of pre-Deng China. Soviet Earth would be facing ~ as big a climate crisis as Neoliberal Earth (only with Comrade Mann in the role of Sakharov at best).
(2) Maintaining our _current_ sized economies _with our current technologies_ would get us cooked, so it's not _economic growth_ that's the problem.

Purdy knows better.
climate_change  environmentalism  progressive_forces  have_read  honestly_disappointed 
8 weeks ago by cshalizi
The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in Seventies America, Belgrad
"When we want advice from others, we often casually speak of “getting some feedback.” But how many of us give a thought to what this phrase means? The idea of feedback actually dates to World War II, when the term was developed to describe the dynamics of self-regulating systems, which correct their actions by feeding their effects back into themselves. By the early 1970s, feedback had become the governing trope for a counterculture that was reoriented and reinvigorated by ecological thinking.
"The Culture of Feedback digs deep into a dazzling variety of left-of-center experiences and attitudes from this misunderstood period, bringing us a new look at the wild side of the 1970s. Belgrad shows us how ideas from systems theory were taken up by the counterculture and the environmental movement, eventually influencing a wide range of beliefs and behaviors, particularly related to the question of what is and is not intelligence. He tells the story of a generation of Americans who were struck by a newfound interest in—and respect for—plants, animals, indigenous populations, and the very sounds around them, threading his tapestry with cogent insights on environmentalism, feminism, systems theory, and psychedelics. The Culture of Feedback repaints the familiar image of the ’70s as a time of Me Generation malaise to reveal an era of revolutionary and hopeful social currents, driven by desires to radically improve—and feed back into—the systems that had come before."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_ideas  american_history  1970s  environmentalism  cybernetics 
september 2019 by cshalizi
Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images, Dunaway
"American environmentalism is defined by its icons: the “Crying Indian,” who shed a tear in response to litter and pollution; the cooling towers of Three Mile Island, site of a notorious nuclear accident; the sorrowful spectacle of oil-soaked wildlife following the ExxonValdez spill; and, more recently, Al Gore delivering his global warming slide show in An Inconvenient Truth. These images, and others like them, have helped make environmental consciousness central to American public culture. Yet most historical accounts ignore the crucial role images have played in the making of popular environmentalism, let alone the ways that they have obscured other environmental truths.
"Finis Dunaway closes that gap with Seeing Green. Considering a wide array of images—including pictures in popular magazines, television news, advertisements, cartoons, films, and political posters—he shows how popular environmentalism has been entwined with mass media spectacles of crisis. Beginning with radioactive fallout and pesticides during the 1960s and ending with global warming today, he focuses on key moments in which media images provoked environmental anxiety but also prescribed limited forms of action. Moreover, he shows how the media have blamed individual consumers for environmental degradation and thus deflected attention from corporate and government responsibility. Ultimately, Dunaway argues, iconic images have impeded efforts to realize—or even imagine—sustainable visions of the future."
to:NB  books:noted  american_history  environmentalism  iconology  art_history 
october 2018 by cshalizi
The Republican Reversal — James Morton Turner, Andrew C. Isenberg | Harvard University Press
"Not long ago, Republicans could take pride in their party’s tradition of environmental leadership. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the GOP helped to create the Environmental Protection Agency, extend the Clean Air Act, and protect endangered species. Today, as Republicans denounce climate change as a “hoax” and seek to dismantle the environmental regulatory state they worked to build, we are left to wonder: What happened?
"In The Republican Reversal, James Morton Turner and Andrew C. Isenberg show that the party’s transformation began in the late 1970s, with the emergence of a new alliance of pro-business, libertarian, and anti-federalist voters. This coalition came about through a concerted effort by politicians and business leaders, abetted by intellectuals and policy experts, to link the commercial interests of big corporate donors with states’-rights activism and Main Street regulatory distrust. Fiscal conservatives embraced cost-benefit analysis to counter earlier models of environmental policy making, and business tycoons funded think tanks to denounce federal environmental regulation as economically harmful, constitutionally suspect, and unchristian, thereby appealing to evangelical views of man’s God-given dominion of the Earth.
"As Turner and Isenberg make clear, the conservative abdication of environmental concern stands out as one of the most profound turnabouts in modern American political history, critical to our understanding of the GOP’s modern success. The Republican reversal on the environment is emblematic of an unwavering faith in the market, skepticism of scientific and technocratic elites, and belief in American exceptionalism that have become the party’s distinguishing characteristics."
to:NB  books:noted  us_politics  american_history  environmentalism  running_dogs_of_reaction  whats_gone_wrong_with_america 
september 2018 by cshalizi
Of Limits and Growth | Global History | Cambridge University Press
"Of Limits and Growth connects three of the most important aspects of the twentieth century: decolonization, the rise of environmentalism, and the United States' support for economic development and modernization in the Third World. It links these trends by revealing how environmental NGOs challenged and reformed development approaches of the U.S. government, World Bank, and United Nations from the 1960s through the 1990s. The book shows how NGOs promoted the use of “appropriate” technologies, environmental reviews in the lending process, development plans based on ecological principles, and international cooperation on global issues such as climate change. It also reveals that the “sustainable development” concept emerged from transnational negotiations in which environmentalists accommodated the developmental aspirations of Third World intellectuals and leaders. In sum, Of Limits and Growth offers a new history of sustainability by elucidating the global origins of environmental activism, the ways in which environmental activists challenged development approaches worldwide, and how environmental non-state actors reshaped the United States' and World Bank's development policies."
to:NB  books:noted  20th_century_history  environmentalism  economic_policy  development_economics 
september 2016 by cshalizi
The Wild and the Wicked | The MIT Press
"Most of us think that in order to be environmentalists, we have to love nature. Essentially, we should be tree huggers—embracing majestic redwoods, mighty oaks, graceful birches, etc. We ought to eat granola, drive hybrids, cook tofu, and write our appointments in Sierra Club calendars. Nature’s splendor, in other words, justifies our protection of it. But, asks Benjamin Hale in this provocative book, what about tsunamis, earthquakes, cancer, bird flu, killer asteroids? They are nature, too.
"For years, environmentalists have insisted that nature is fundamentally good. In The Wild and the Wicked, Benjamin Hale adopts the opposite position—that much of the time nature can be bad—in order to show that even if nature is cruel, we still need to be environmentally conscientious. Hale argues that environmentalists needn’t feel compelled to defend the value of nature, or even to adopt the attitudes of tree-hugging nature lovers. We can acknowledge nature’s indifference and periodic hostility. Deftly weaving anecdote and philosophy, he shows that we don’t need to love nature to be green. What really ought to be driving our environmentalism is our humanity, not nature’s value.
"Hale argues that our unique burden as human beings is that we can act for reasons, good or bad. He claims that we should be environmentalists because environmentalism is right, because we humans have the capacity to be better than nature. As humans, we fail to live up to our moral potential if we act as brutally as nature. Hale argues that despite nature’s indifference to the plight of humanity, humanity cannot be indifferent to the plight of nature."
to:NB  books:noted  environmentalism  environmental_management  moral_philosophy  heaven_and_earth_are_not_benevolent 
june 2016 by cshalizi
Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-porn Addicts || Zero Books || Book Info
"Economic growth, progress, industry and, erm, stuff have all come in for a sharp kicking from the green left and beyond in recent years. Everyone from black-hoodied Starbucks window-smashers to farmers' market heirloom-tomato-mongers to Prince Charles himself seem to be embracing 'degrowth' and anti-consumerism, which is nothing less than a form of ecological austerity. Meanwhile, the back-to-the-land ideology and aesthetic of locally-woven organic carrot-pants, pathogen-encrusted compost toilets and civilisational collapse is hegemonic.
"Yet modernity is not the cause of climate change and the wider biocrisis. It is indeed capitalism that is the source of our environmental woes, but capitalism as a mode of production, not the fuzzy understanding of capitalism of Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Derrick Jensen, Paul Kingsnorth and their anarcho-liberal epigones as a sort of globalist corporate malfeasance.
"In combative and puckish style, science journalist Leigh Phillips marshals evidence from climate science, ecology, paleoanthropology, agronomy, microbiology, psychology, history, the philosophy of mathematics, and heterodox economics to argue that progressives must rediscover their historic, Promethean ambitions and counter this reactionary neo-Malthusian ideology that not only retards human flourishing, but won't save the planet anyway.
"We want to take over the machine and run it rationally, not turn the machine off."
books:noted  progressive_forces  environmentalism  environmental_management 
december 2015 by cshalizi
Arming Mother Nature - Hardcover - Jacob Darwin Hamblin - Oxford University Press
"When most Americans think of environmentalism, they think of the political left, of vegans dressed in organic-hemp fabric, lofting protest signs. In reality, writes Jacob Darwin Hamblin, the movement--and its dire predictions--owe more to the Pentagon than the counterculture.
"In Arming Mother Nature, Hamblin argues that military planning for World War III essentially created "catastrophic environmentalism": the idea that human activity might cause global natural disasters. This awareness, Hamblin shows, emerged out of dark ambitions, as governments poured funds into environmental science after World War II, searching for ways to harness natural processes--to kill millions of people. Proposals included the use of nuclear weapons to create artificial tsunamis or melt the ice caps to drown coastal cities; setting fire to vast expanses of vegetation; and changing local climates. Oxford botanists advised British generals on how to destroy enemy crops during the war in Malaya; American scientists attempted to alter the weather in Vietnam. This work raised questions that went beyond the goal of weaponizing nature. By the 1980s, the C.I.A. was studying the likely effects of global warming on Soviet harvests. "Perhaps one of the surprises of this book is not how little was known about environmental change, but rather how much," Hamblin writes. Driven initially by strategic imperatives, Cold War scientists learned to think globally and to grasp humanity's power to alter the environment. "We know how we can modify the ionosphere," nuclear physicist Edward Teller proudly stated. "We have already done it."
"Teller never repented. But many of the same individuals and institutions that helped the Pentagon later warned of global warming and other potential disasters. Brilliantly argued and deeply researched, Arming Mother Nature changes our understanding of the history of the Cold War and the birth of modern environmental science."
to:NB  books:noted  environmentalism  cold_war  climate_change  history_of_ideas  history_of_science  we_are_as_gods_and_we_might_as_well_get_good_at_it 
july 2013 by cshalizi
The Era of Green Noise - NYTimes.com
If only there was some institution which could - approximately, to be sure - aggregate all kinds of information about trade-offs and alternatives into simple, one-dimensional signals!
environmentalism  decision-making  externalities  what_you_need_is_a_stiff_pollution_tax_and_a_market  there_is_no_optimum  too_much_information  via:klk 
june 2008 by cshalizi
Why Bother?
Michael Pollan piece that makes me want to scream at him even when I agree with him on specific points. Gaaaaaarrrrrgh.
climate_change  pollan.michael  environmentalism  gardening  to:blog  via:klk 
april 2008 by cshalizi
Muck and Mystery: Liberal Myths
On grain, grazing, cattle husbandry, and the liberal arts
jones.gary  agriculture  environmentalism 
january 2008 by cshalizi
Viridian Note 00496
Most of this is given over to a joyful demolition of an almost unbelievably bad piece on Cuba by a "permaculture activist"; not the kind of environmentalism I want, thank you (or the kind of socialism, either, come to that).
sterling.bruce  viridian  environmentalism  cuba  utter_stupidity  evisceration  climate_change 
october 2007 by cshalizi

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