24 May 2007

Environmental Idols

Curtis White gives an interesting perspective on the nexus of environmental activism, Cartesian logic and corporate malfeasance. He points to inconsistencies, at the philosophical level, that leave environmental advocates unable to change the "very fabric" driving the continued degradation of ecosystems world wide. He's right. Perhaps in a few years he will write an equally articulate article describing how fundamental critiques are professionally marginalized, excluded from the political process and of negligible impact on how capital motivates corporate resource allocation. What to do?

The Idols of Environmentalism | Curtis White | Orion magazine

"The problem for even the best-intentioned environmental activism is that it imagines that it can confront a problem external to itself. Confront the bulldozers. Confront the chainsaws. Confront Monsanto. Fight the power. What the environmental movement is not very good at is acknowledging that something in the very fabric of our daily life is deeply anti-nature as well as anti-human. It inhabits not just bad-guy CEOs at Monsanto and Weyerhaeuser but nearly every working American, environmentalists included.

It is true that there are CEO-types, few in number, who are indifferent to everything except money, who are cruel and greedy, and so the North Atlantic gets stripped of cod and any number of other species taken incidentally in what is the factory trawler’s wet version of a scorched-earth policy. Or some junk bond maven buys up a section of old-growth redwoods and “harvests” it without hesitation when his fund is in sudden need of “liquidity.” Nevertheless, all that we perceive to be the destructiveness of corporate culture in relation to nature is not the consequence of its power, or its capacity for dominating nature ("taming," as it was once put, as if what we were dealing with was the lion act at the circus). Believing in powerful corporate evildoers as the primary source of our problems forces us to think in cartoons."


Anonymous said...

Great site, great topics, found you through Eric's link, I'll be visiting again!


ecoshift said...

Hey, thanks JMan. It was getting hard to keep track of all the different elements that could help or hinder efforts to reach local goals so I started posting them here -- mostly for my own benefit.

Glad to hear that others share some interest...