If Not Greed, Then What? or: what Darwinism never taught you

Of course, people will often tell you that selling people on environmental change by appealing to their values is romantic, i.e. unrealistic, i.e. sentimental and doomed to failure. That human beings are innately and inherently greedy, i.e. selfish, i.e. competitive, and that any proposal that does not rest itself solidly on the human incapacity toContinue reading “If Not Greed, Then What? or: what Darwinism never taught you”

Greed Stinks: why using self-interest to motivate environmental change backfires

If you go to enough environmental activist group meetings, you are bound to hear, at some point, “What we need is more education”; the assumption being that the general public is too ill-informed to know that their behaviours are causing Issue X (biodiversity loss, climate change, smog, ozone depletion, mountain-top removal, whatever), and that ifContinue reading “Greed Stinks: why using self-interest to motivate environmental change backfires”

The Rebound Effect

Aren’t sales great? I wait all year for the hardcover sale at Chapters, book geek that I am. For one glorious week after Christmas, I can get hardcovers for less than the price of a trade paperback. So I do. I buy several. It takes me months to get through them all, but then theyContinue reading “The Rebound Effect”

Journalism is dead; long live journalism

See… I love writing. If perchance I have five free minutes on any given day, I will spend it either reading or writing, and this has been true since I was five years old. Journalism–holding power to account, communicating important events and ideas to the public, being part of the public discourse that makes democracyContinue reading “Journalism is dead; long live journalism”

Talking trees, extended metaphors and "The World at Gunpoint"

I have a love/hate relationship with Derrick Jensen. The first volume of his Endgame books has been sitting, half-read, on my environment bookshelf for years while I try to get up the stomach to finish it. Is it terrible? Yes. But not in the way you might think. It’s ninety per cent brilliant and insightful,Continue reading “Talking trees, extended metaphors and "The World at Gunpoint"”

knee-high to a treehugger

I have a handful of books on how to get kids enjoying nature: I Love Dirt! by Jennifer Ward, Sharing Nature with Children by Joseph Cornell and Hands-On Nature by the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (edited by Jenepher Lingelbach and Lisa Purcell). All are good. Hands-On Nature is like a teacher’s lesson-plan book, withContinue reading “knee-high to a treehugger”

42 Revisited (or, what parents owe their children in an era of environmental collapse, part I)

On Twitter recently the Toronto Star asked people to define the meaning of life. Sure, why not: an endeavour that has eluded philosophers for 10,000 years can be collated from the 140-character submissions of the general public. Not surprisingly, no one agreed. The meaning of life is to love people. To be good. To doContinue reading “42 Revisited (or, what parents owe their children in an era of environmental collapse, part I)”