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The Ecological Thought

Kelsey's picture

I like and agree with much of what Timothy Morton wrote in the excerpt of "The Ecological Thought" that we read, but I can't completely agree with his statement that "Fixation on place impedes a truly ecological view."  I can easily agree with one possible meaning of his argument, that we need to stop focusing just on the areas that we consider home, that we must be concerned with the world beyond ourselves.  However, when Morton writes that ecology has to do "with race, class, and gender... with sexuality...", acknowledging both the importance of people in ecological thought and the importance of acknowledging systems of oppression, I don't think that place can be separated from that.  Place plays an integral role in affecting privilege and marginalization, in determining who experiences the effects of environmental degredation and who doesn't (as Eli Clare and bell hooks made quite clear in their writings).  Growing up in a surburban, white, upper middle class neighborhood, I have been continually privileged and shielded from the effects of global climate change and other ecological threats.  For me, because of the place I come from, environmental justice has always been abstract- not a matter of life or death.  Therefore, when Morton lists the identities and marginalizations that matter to ecology, when he says that ecology has to do with "ideas of self", I don't know how he cannot include place in that list.  Yes, we need an ecology that focuses on the world beyond our own backyards, but we can't forget the effects of our own backyards as we look beyond them.  

I realize that what Anne posted is merely an excerpt of Morton's writing, and perhaps I would think differently about it if I read the entire book.  This is therefore a response to what I think Morton is arguing in the quotes given, and is perhaps more of a reflection of my thoughts on the importance of place than anything else.