Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Few Readings

Yesterday I went to the AU Library and picked up a few books on environmental movements and environmental ethics. One of the books I selected, Green Versus Gold, had some great essays on various environmental movements on California. I decided to let the location of focus slide since most of the concepts discussed in the book are universal. Also, I really liked the title!

I selected a few readings from the last chapter (Chapter 13: Revisioning California: Contemporary Environmental Movements), and I'll discuss them under the essay titles below. These paragraphs will hopefully give a brief overview of three environmental movements, all of which I will revisit as the semester goes on.

"Raymond Dasmann and Peter Berg Advocate Bioregionalism, 1980" -
This essay discussed the concept of bioregionalism, something I wholeheartedly support. The idea behind bioregionalism is that if we have chosen to live in a particular area of the world, we must tailor our behaviors and consumption to that region in a way that will ensure long-term occupancy of the area. Tailoring our behaviors and consumption to the area requires that we work in cooperation with the geography, seasons, water cycles and other life forms that characterize the place. Too often, humans attempt to change the working order of a place through technology. People seem to expect that it should be possible to live in the same way everywhere on the planet. However, as we are beginning to see, living in this manner is destructive and unsustainable in the long run. Instead of working against the land, bioregionalism is all about working with (and understanding) the land on which you live.

"Bill Deval and George Sessions Explain Deep Ecology, 1982" -
Deep ecology emphasizes a more spiritual connection with nature. Practicing deep ecology involves cultivating ecological consciousness - the insight that everything (birds, trees, rocks, water, etc.) is connected. Deep ecologist also advocate experiencing nature - taking the time to stop and sigh... smell the roses (or less cliche, taking a hike and appreciating the silence of being alone in the woods).

"Irene Diamond and Gloria Orenstein on the Emergence of Ecofeminism, 1990" -
Ecofeminism was born out of the marriage of femism and environmentalism. Ecofeminists emphasize women's roles in the environmental movement and make the claim that, especially in the Third World, women are among those most affected by poor environmental conditions.

Later this week, I'll be back to explain the larger concepts of anthropocentrism, biocentrism, and ecocentrism.

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