Ecology, Economy, and Ego

When spotted owls were threatened with extinction, we cried and passed laws. When whales were threatened with extinction, we screamed and wrote international treaties. Now, when polar bears are going extinct, we rage.* But when bumblebees threaten extinction on us we panic. Why? Because what’s big, ultimately, is expendable. It’s what’s very very small thatContinue reading “Ecology, Economy, and Ego”

Lappe’s Eco-Mind & Jensen et al’s Deep Green Resistance: the matter & anti-matter of environmentalism

Reading Deep Green Resistance followed by Eco-Mind over the course of a few days is a great way to get vertigo. They’re both written by well-respected, well-known environmentalists and authors. They rely on many of the same facts: 90% of fish gone, global warming inevitable, hundreds of millions of human deaths to follow, screwy notionsContinue reading “Lappe’s Eco-Mind & Jensen et al’s Deep Green Resistance: the matter & anti-matter of environmentalism”

New Year’s Resolution

Hey, I have an idea: this year, let’s save the world. Oh I know, we’ve promised to before, but this time, let’s really do it. Let’s get off our comfortable asses and decide to put real money and effort into climate change. Let’s get that using  a tonne of metal and litres of gasoline toContinue reading “New Year’s Resolution”

Political Interlude: Wherein I Get Angry

    You would have thought, given the way some people speak and write about climate change, that this is a moderately important issue, perhaps even a very important issue. Say, on par with the Iraq or Afghanistan War, women’s rights, health care, child poverty. (All very important issues.) Instead of, you know, the endContinue reading “Political Interlude: Wherein I Get Angry”

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”