Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘environmental capitalism

the triumphant return of culturemonkey

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As hinted earlier tonight in the post on the water crisis, I’ve put up a longish post on ecology over at culturemonkey. It’s the first of two or three posts on zizecology motivated (and excerpted from) one of the papers I wrote this semester.

I’ve tried to excise the more boring parts, but I can’t promise that the result won’t still be boring.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 6, 2008 at 6:51 am

Polygraph 22: Call for Papers

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Polygraph 22—Call for Papers
http://www.duke.edu/web/polygraph/cfp22.html

Special Issue: Ecology and Ideology

The contemporary moment abounds with speculation concerning our ecological future. Specialists in a variety of fields forecast immanent catastrophe, stemming from a combination of climate change, fossil-fuel depletion, and consumer waste. The recent bestowal of the Nobel Peace Prize on a group of scientists studying climate change indicates the degree to which "peace" has come to signify ecological balance; even the declaration by the Vatican of a new set of "7 Deadly Sins for the modern age" includes pollution in an attempt to grapple with the potential of individuals to inflict ecological damage on a global scale.

In the name of an impending crisis felt to be collectively shared, new political, cultural, and intellectual alignments are being forged, just as seismic shifts in the flow of global capital once again threaten to "redistribute" the world’s resources and people. Ecological crisis has become a 24/7 media event, canvassing the planet in the imagery and rhetoric of disaster. From the halls of research and policy to activist documentary and apocalyptic fantasy, at the news desk, podium, pulpit, classroom, and computer monitor alike, all channels are united by a single underlying conviction: the present ecological catastrophe has humanity as its cause.

Precisely because the answer seems so obvious, we want to know: why now? Where are the points of antagonism in the midst of such apparent consensus, and what is at stake in their difference?

The Polygraph Editorial Collective invites papers concerning any aspect of ecology’s relationship to ideology, both interrogating ecology as a location for critique of global capitalism and analyzing the ways in which ecology functions as an ideology in its own right.

Potential areas of interest include:

Political Ecology
Globalization and ecology
Marxism and ecology
"Environmental accounting" as a challenge to the free market
Ecology and capital / consumerism
Ecology as growth market

Eco-Disaster
Peak oil and climate change
Biofuels and the food crisis
Overpopulation and Neo-Malthusianism
Ecology as a rhetoric of control
Figurations of eco-disaster in popular culture

Religion and Ecology
Green apocalypticism and green evangelism
Ecology and world religion

Ecology and gender
Recent articulations of eco-feminism
Eco- & transnational feminisms
Women’s work and the global chain of production
Agricultural work and reproduction

Ecologies against ecologies
"Light" vs. "dark green" environmentalism (i.e. deep ecology)
Primitivism and technofuturism
The status of international Green movements

Polygraph welcomes work from a variety of different disciplines, including critical geography, cultural anthropology, political economy, political theology, science studies, and systems theory. We also encourage the submission of a variety of formats and genres: i.e. field reports, surveys, interviews, photography, essays, etc.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE
December 31, 2008

ISSUE EDITORS
Gerry Canavan
Lisa Klarr
Ryan Vu

CONTACT
polygraph22cfp@gmail.com

Role Model or Bond Villain?

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Role model or Bond villain? “At island retreat, Branson and friends seek to save a world ‘on fire.'”

What he wanted to know was whether his high-powered visitors, among them Larry Page of Google, Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia and Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, thought global warming threatened the planet.

Branson does – and so did most of his guests. So on this recent weekend on his private hideaway in the crystalline waters between the islands of Tortola and Anegada, they tried to figure out what to do about it and perhaps get richer in the process.

Sounds like a little from Column A and a little from Column B…

Written by gerrycanavan

March 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Top Ten Things Every Environmentalist Need to Learn

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The latest entry in the endless “environmentalists need to change everything about environmentalism or no one will take them seriously” polemic is interesting enough, and like anyone I agree that in its way it makes a number of good points—but on a lot of things it’s just saying what well-schooled environmentalists already know, and on a lot of other things it’s just wrong. In particular the argument taken as a whole would seem to violate a number of its own rules. For instance, Rule #7 reads

Plans for the future should not be made on the most optimistic predictions and should consider the most pessimistic reasonable predictions.

Well, the most pessimistic reasonable predictions regarding both global warming and peak oil are absolutely cataclysmic. Against that reality, how does the requirement for a perpetually growing economy (#1) or people’s supposed unwillingness to accept lifestyle changes (#4) even register?

There’s more good discussion of this at MeFi.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 4, 2008 at 12:48 pm

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Sermon for Capitalmas Eve

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On this Christmas Eve, Americans are having trouble paying off their credit cards, with 30-day-late accounts rising 26% to $17.3 billion and defaults rising 18% to nearly a billion. There’s a reason for all this, and you can find it in Bill Moyer’s PBS interview with Benjamin Barber (via MeFi), a Galbraithian analysis of capitalism’s production not of products but of needs themselves:

As a society becomes increasingly affluent, wants are increasingly created by the process by which they are satisfied…. Wants thus come to depend on output. In technical terms, it can no longer be assumed that welfare is greater at an all-round higher level of production than at a lower one. It may be the same. The higher level of production has, merely, a higher level of want creation necessitating a higher level of want satisfaction. 

The orgy of Christmas shopping that continues unabated today—to be followed by deep-discount post-Christmas sales on Wednesday, and on and on—is only the clearest proof that this is what capitalism has become in the post-industrial West and, increasingly, elsewhere as well. Barber thinks the productive energies of capitalism might somehow be harnassed, through willpower and ethical living, for better ends, but I’m much more skeptical that capitalism can ever really move in a direction other than the one it has. What we need is a new logic, a new organizing principle. Call it sustainability or call it permaculture, call it environmental Marxism or environmental capitalism if you want, it’s all the same to me—what’s important is that the world figure out some way to stop doing the things capitalism demands it must. We have to stop consuming everything, resources, the future, ourselves.

BILL MOYERS: When politics permeates everything we call it totalitarianism. When religion permeates everything we call it theocracy. 

BENJAMIN BARBER: Right.

BILL MOYERS: But when commerce pervades everything, we call it liberty.

Merry Christmas.

(cross-posted to culturemonkey, which returns Jan. 2 with an all-new blogger and an all-new organizing principle of its own)

Environmental Capitalism (and Two More)

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* When capitalism gets it right: a five-year retrospective on Philly CarShare.

“In this region, one million people get to work without a car,” Lane says. Not always by choice, he notes. Car ownership, duh, is expensive. Once you own one, it’s only rational to drive it. You’ve already sunk money into the purchase, tax, tags and insurance.

“With car sharing, you flip it around,” Lane says. “If you don’t need to use the car, you avoid the cost.”

* Thirty illnesses sorted according to whether or not you can eat the victims. At McSweeney’s.

* Crooks & Liars catches up with the missing honeybees and colony collapse disorder.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 30, 2007 at 12:11 am

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