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Notes Towards Day 19 (Tues, Nov. 13) : Radical Ecology, or "Falling in Love Outward"

Anne Dalke's picture

Exuberant? in a "post-exuberant" age?

weather prediction:
45 degrees, 11 mph wind, 90% chance of rain showers
Rochelle is situating us again in the Quita Woodward Room
next site
to be selected by Barbara

I. coursekeeping
* Environmental Mixer:
today, 4:30-6 in the Campus Center

* let me know
if you'd like to join the Blind Field Shuttle w/ my English class @ 1:10 tomorrow...

* for class on Thursday, start reading Terry Tempest Williams' An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field.
Williams is a naturalist who lives in Utah, got her reputation as a writer with Refuge: An Unnatural Story of Family and Place (it juxtaposes her mother's breast cancer to the rise of the Great Salt Lake, and her family's exposure to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s; it's a classic in the field, but I decided not to use it--despite the lyricism of her writing--because it seemed so "exotic," and I wanted you to get to know this place here). These are short essays, about a very wide range of topics, which I think you will find engaging--Williams sees environmental issues as social issues and matters of justice. We will use her work to think both about those connections, and as a lens to reflect on our own site sits...

writing assignment #10 is due Friday @ 5
; revise/re-vision paper #9, and e-mail it to me and the same writing partner you have for this week:
Rochelle <-> CMJ
Susan <-> Maddie
Shengjia <-> Alex
Barbara <-> Minh
Hannah <-> Wanhong
Cahier <-> Zoe
SarahC <-> SaraL

* Don't forget that, before Thanksgiving break, you need to meet up w/ folks from the other Eco-Imaginings class, to share geological and botanical knowledge...

II. pair up w/ your writing partner, to help her think about how to revise this paper:
how to sharpen the argument and support it?

any insights/questions arising from this conversation?

III. last Thursday, we explored the work of Winona LaDuke,
who draws on the reciprocal relationships and responsibilities of traditional ecological knowledge
to advocate for a "Seventh Generation Amendment": "the right of citizens to use renewable
resources shall not impair their availability for future generations...."
and the very compatible work of Marilyn Waring,
who first thought she could empower the eco-system by giving it a monetary value-->
but then began to ask whether we want all life commodified in an economic model

Today: a couple of a few more compatible chapters from Carolyn
Merchant's Radical Ecology: The Search for a Livable World.

I thought we'd start the way she starts, by writing about our own experience, and that of our families....
1) Self in Society: Consider your own famiy's history and place in society going back at least to your grandparents' generation. Were your ancestors native to the country in which you grew up? Are you or your parents first, second-, or perhaps eighth-generation immigrants? What large events--wars, depressions, revolutions, social movements--shaped their lives? How did your families use the land and relate to nature? Which of their values have your absorbed? Which have you rejected?

2) Society in Self: How have you been socialized? What effect has the society in which you grew up had on you as a female or male? Have you experienced sexism or racism in your faily life? What historical forces--immigration movements, urbanization, social mobility, educational opportunities--have helped to create your own economic position? Think about the values you have derived from your school, your church or temple, and your workplace. How have the politics and economics of your community affected you? What environmental values have you formed as a result?

3) Self vs. Society: What conflicts do you experience between your own values and goals and the institutions and environment you anticipate in the future? What expectations do you have for yourselves and your children? How might your children's values differ from your own? How can you help to bring about a world that will provide them with a high quality of life?

4) create/name y/our own deep ecology? (not ""Ecosophy T"!); is it "post-exuberant"?

Share some of this....

IV. What do any of these stories have to do with  Merchant's argument?
How do your tales connect (or not) with "radical" ecology? How might they?

* what questions do you have for her?

Merchant's analysis
Ecology (nonhuman interactions) --> (add us) human ecology --> (add time) environmental history -->
(add political/social institutions) social ecology  --> (seek new patterns of production, reproduction, consciousness) radical ecology

environmental problems result from contradictions between production
and local ecology, and between reproduction and production;
mechanistic world view needs to be replaced w/ framework of
interconnectedness and reciprocity, equally valuing all parts

Deep ecology
Arne Naess' principles:
1) relational, total-field image
2) biospherical egalitarianism
3) diversity and symbiosis
4) anti-class
5) against pollution, resource depletion
6) complexity, not complication
7) local autonomy and decentralization

new metaphysics, psychology, anthropology, ethic, w/ human place in nature's household
drawing on alternative Western thought, native peoples and eastern philosophers
a "subversive" "resistance movement"

"apron diagram":
1. ultimate philosophy principles
2. Naess' 8-point platform:

1) all life forms have value independent of human use
2) richness and diversity of life forms values in themselves
3) humans have no right to reduce this except to satisfy vital needs (how decided?)
4) flourishing of non-human life requires a smaller human population (how achieved?)
5) present human interference is excessive
6) policies must be changed
7) ideological change: appreciating life quality
8) obligation to implement these changes
3. general consequences
4. concrete decisions

his philosophy, "Ecosophy T," has one ultimate principle: Self-realization
(of all life--> "falling in love outward")

Europeans expanded 'exuberantly" across America; "people of plenty" assumed abundant resources;
New Ecological Paradigm grew out of growing awareness of resource scarcity: "post-exuberant age"
* humans remain 1 among many species interdependently invovled in global ecosystem
* human affairs influenced by intricate linkages of cause, effect, feedback;
our purposive actions have many unintended consequences
* we depend upon a finite biophysical environment which imposes potent physical restraints
* ecological laws cannot be repealed

Scientific roots:
David Bohm's "implicate order" an undivided, multidimensional wholeness,
or flow of energy, w/ classical mechanics as secondary
Ilya Prigogine's new thermodynamics, for open, large systems w/ nonlinear relationships
(small imputs produce new, unexpected effects;
spontaneous emergence, revolutionary change, w/ chaos as the norm)
Edward Lorentz's butterfly effect: sensitive dependence on initial conditions
James Lovelock's hypothesis of biosphere as self-regulating system,
maintaining conditions necessary for life (tautological?)

Eastern philosophy:
Tao Te Ching dialectical idealism of cyclic, ceaseless motion,
going, returning, expansion, contraction of world's underlying energy

lack of political critique
socioeconomic and scientific naivete
ecofeminist critique of patriarchal and superficial anti-class posture
neglect of difference

Reconstructive science, consistent with egalitarian and feminist social values?

Conclusion re: deepest ecology