5 Responses

  1. Antonis Petropoulos December 10, 2013 at 8:51 am |

    When others are not fully aware of the gravity of a situation and the certainty of an impending catastrophe, there is always a fine line between sounding ‘alarmist’ – and risk being ignored for that – and sounding highly convincing. Some can try one approach, others the other one and we can compare notes down the line – we probably need both. What is certain, is that climate change is a grave threat, including to the status quo, and that we need to inspire optimism and confidence to the public (and to a beleaguered working and unemployed class that sometimes is not patient enough to hear about global warming – fed up with mass media environmentalism lite) that climate justice and social change is possible in our lifetimes.

  2. John Gulick December 9, 2013 at 8:54 am |

    Dave, to put this in overly abstract and universalistic terms: You may be bold for talking about why no one’s talking about climate catastrophe. But Eddie’s bolder for talking about why no one’s talking about no one talking about climate catastrophe.

    Oracularly yours

  3. John R Bell December 4, 2013 at 2:39 am |

    I’m with Ian Angus all the way on this one. The debate around so called ‘catastrophism’ has already absorbed too much of our attention. This unfortunate term was part of an effort to make a molehill of a problem into a veritable mountain.

  4. Alan P Rudy December 3, 2013 at 8:59 am |

    It seems to me that the issue here is that Eddie’s not critiquing Ian but Ian thinks he is. It certainly would have helped, in a number of places, if Eddie’s chapter had parsed “the environmental movement” in a manner parallel to his criticism of the mainstream, scientistic, and catastrophic environmental movement fails to do with “humanity.” Having been in grad school with Eddie, and knowing his history, I know he’s well aware of the greater quality and more effectively politicized and movement-building elements of the (intentionally and unintentionally) red-green elements of environmental justice and indigenous/slum political ecology movements across the global south. Ian is correct to
    At the same time, I think it is disingenuous of Ian to (at least implicitly) wholly deny that there has been dysfunctionally depoliticizing scientistic apocalypticism advanced on the red-green left – the melding of neoMalthusian STIRPAT and Ecological Footprint perspectives in publications related to Foster’s theory of the ecological rift combine social and ecological apocalypticism in wholly depoliticizing ways.
    I think Eddie should have been more specific about his reading of the study on apocalypticism and active political participation but a friendly reading of his chapter suggests that his point was that depoliticization follows from apocalypticism without analyses of power – as he suggests – and without alternatives – as Ian suggests. When my students read Foster, O’Connor, Benton, Harvey, and, even moreso, mainstream environmentalism they feel hopeless. When they read Eddie’s chapter, they became more auto-critical about their own interpersonal and activist practices. Ian’s quite right that when they read about environmental justice and indigenous political ecology movements they are moved to action far more but Eddie’s right that they are more moved by the resolvable social justice and environmental health moments than by the macroscopic and apocalyptic implications of scaling these movements “up”.
    Put another way, it seems pretty clear to me that Eddie and Angus agree on the vast majority of issues and another conversation is distinctly possible.

  5. Dave Gardner December 3, 2013 at 8:44 am |

    While, sadly, Ian Angus and I have often found much to disagree on, I wholeheartedly support his position here and thank him for tackling this subject. At some point we must decide we are not a bunch of 6-year-olds. This is adult-swim, and we must expect more of ourselves. We must expect that we CAN handle the truth and that we will respond appropriately to the evidence before us.

    Dave Gardner
    Director of the documentary
    GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth

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