For anyone inclined to caricature environmental history as 'environmental determinism,' the contrasting histories of the Dominican Republic and Haiti provide a useful antidote. Yes, environmental problems do constrain human societies, but the societies' responses also make a difference.
For anyone inclined to caricature environmental history as 'environmental determinism, ' the contrasting histories of the Dominican Republic and Haiti provide a useful antidote. Yes, environmental problems do constrain human societies, but the societies' responses also make a difference.
The environment is becoming so much a central concern, I see environmental concerns just bleeding into poetries all over the place. My hope is that we won't have these environmental poets tucked over here and everybody else doing cool stuff with language and consciousness elsewhere, but that all of it will become one thing.
Alison Hawthorne Deming
Now is not the time to repudiate environmental balance, but rather it is the time for all of us to work together - politician, advocate, rancher, scientist, and citizen. Only by doing this will the United States move forward and be a leader in environmental issues and ensure sustainability to our delicate ecosystem.
We must alert and organise the world's people to pressure world leaders to take specific steps to solve the two root causes of our environmental crises - exploding population growth and wasteful consumption of irreplaceable resources. Overconsumption and overpopulation underlie every environmental problem we face today.
Jacques Yves Cousteau
In the rich world, the environmental situation has improved dramatically. In the United States, the most important environmental indicator, particulate air pollution, has been cut by more than half since 1955, rivers and coastal waters have dramatically improved, and forests are increasing.
To the greatest extent possible, I try to make choices that involve the least amount of cruelty and environmental damage. I'm interested in sustainable agriculture, environmental issues, human rights, and my interconnectedness in the web of life. It is a great pleasure for me to find products and practices that have a positive effect on living beings and the environment, rather than a negative one.
The "environmental movement" is becoming an economic movement, is joining the social justice movement, is becoming a sustainability movement. It's leaving behind the "People's Needs versus Nature's Needs" conflict in favor of making the case for environmental health as the essential underpinning of prosperous and stable human civilization.
The chief causes of the environmental destruction that faces us today are not biological, or the product of individual human choice. They are social and historical, rooted in the productive relations, technological imperatives, and historically conditioned demographic trends that characterize the dominant social system. Hence, what is ignored or downplayed in most proposals to remedy the environmental crisis is the most critical challenge of all: the need to transform the major social bases of environmental degradation, and not simply to tinker with its minor technical bases. As long as prevailing social relations remain unquestioned, those who are concerned about what is happening are left with few visible avenues for environmental action other than purely personal commitments to recycling and green shopping, socially untenable choices between jobs and the environment, or broad appeals to corporations, political policy-makers, and the scientific establishment-the very interests most responsible for the current ecological mess.
John Bellamy Foster The Vulnerable Planet A Short Economic History of the Environment
Above all, it seems to me wrongheaded and dangerous to invoke historical assumptions about environmental practices of native peoples in order to justify treating them fairly... By invoking this assumption [i.e., that they were/are better environmental stewards than other peoples or parts of contemporary society] to justify fair treatment of native peoples, we imply that it would be OK to mistreat them if that assumption could be refuted. In fact, the case against mistreating them isn't based on any historical assumption about their environmental practices: it's based on a moral principle, namely, that it is morally wrong for one people to dispossess, subjugate or exterminate another people.
Listen, the environmental movement is not about protecting the fishes and the birds so much as recognizing that nature is the infrastructure of our communities ... If you're saying the values that drive the environmental movement are uncool and antithetical to America, then I would argue just the opposite. If you think being patriotic is not cool, I'd say that's not true either. I'd say the most patriotic thing you can do is to take care of the environment and try to live sustainably.
Robert F. Kennedy
But no matter how big the effort to push a propaganda line might be, climate change is bigger. This, undoubtedly and regrettably, is the biggest immediate long-term environmental challenge we face. A failure to concretely come to some policy outcome on climate change has not only a negative environmental impact but also social and economic consequences for us.
Economic growth and environmental preservation are two sides of the same coin. There's no better illustration of that point than the California Clean Tech Open, which challenges California entrepreneurs to bring new, clean technologies to market. I encourage business leaders, policy makers, and environmental advocates to support this innovative, exciting competition.
As currently written, the laws require certain manufacturers and users of such chemicals to report any and all environmental releases-either accidental or routine-to air, water, or soil. The Toxics Release Inventory is the main registry of such events, and it is available to the public through the Environmental Protection Agency. It is hardly comprehensive. Toxic emissions reported to the federal government are thought to account for only 5 percent of all chemical releases.
The concept of national sovereignty has been an immutable, indeed sacred, principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental cooperation. It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation states, however powerful. The global community must be assured of environmental security.
One third of all of our cancers are from tobacco. It's one of the big killers in America and more than half of our kids still have environmental tobacco smoke exposure when environmental tobacco smoke is known to be associated with sudden infant death syndrome, with ear infections, respiratory infections and the rest. If we had to pick something to really go after, that would be one that I would really argue is an extraordinarily high priority and something people can actually do something about.
If I had to catalog all the moronic plot turns in The Day After Tomorrow, we'd be here until the next ice age. It's just so very bad. You can have a pretty good time snickering at it-unless, like me, you think there's something to this global warming thing, and you shudder at the irony of a movie meant to warn people about a dangerous environmental trend that completely discredits it. Is it possible that the film is a plot to make environmental activists look as wacko as anti-environmentalists always claim they are?
First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore...
The problem of environmental children's health is very urgent in Russia. Environmental situation now is the main factor, which determines young generation's health... the volume of pollutant emissions in atmosphere and water grew and scale of ecological man-caused catastrophes increased. More than half of Russian territories, where 60-70 percent of the of population lives, have unsafe ecological situation.
We should stop the non-scientific, pseudo-scientific, and anti-scientific nonsense emanating from the right wing, and start demanding immediate action to reduce global warming and prevent catastrophic climate change that may be on our horizon now. We must not let the [Bush] Administration distort science and rewrite and manipulate scientific reports in other areas. We must not let it turn the Environmental Protection Agency into the Environmental Pollution Agency.
The environmental crisis is somber evidence of an insidious fraud hidden in the vaunted productivity and wealth of modern, technology-based society. This wealth has been gained by rapid short-term exploitation of the environmental system, but it has blindly accumulated a debt to nature-a debt so large and so pervasive that in the next generation it may, if unpaid, wipe out most of the wealth it has gained us.
Professionalism is environmental. Amateurism is anti environmental. Professionalism merges the individual into patterns of total environment. Amateurism seeks the development of the total awareness of the individual and the critical awareness of the ground rules of society. The amateur can afford to loose.
The environmental issues we face today are complex and span many knowledge domains. This undergraduate degree programme in Environmental Studies will nurture a pool of graduates who are able to think deeply and broadly about these issues, and help develop novel solutions for Singapore, Asia and beyond. I am delighted at this programme for another reason - it is the first undergraduate course that draws on expertise from eight Faculties in NUS, making full use of the comprehensive strengths of our University.
Tan Chorh Chuan
The 'environmental crisis' has happened because the human household or economy is in conflict at almost every point with the household of nature. We have built our household on the assumption that the natural household is simple and can be simply used. We have assumed increasingly over the last five hundred years that nature is merely a supply of 'raw materials,' and that we may safely possess those materials by taking them.... And so we will be wrong if we attempt to correct what we perceive as 'environmental' problems without correcting the economic oversimplification that caused them.
This is why militarism is a feminist issue, why rape is an environmental issue, why environmental destruction is a peace issue. We will never dismantle misogyny as long as domination is eroticized. We will also never stop racism. Nor will we mount an effective resistance to fascism, which is the eroticization of domination and subordination-fascism is in essence a cult of masculinity. Those are all huge spin-outs from the same beginning. The result is torture, rape, genocide, and biocide.
At a time when we need an urgent national conversation about how schools and curriculum should address the environmental crisis, we're being told that the problems we need to focus on are teacher incompetence, government monopoly, and market competition. The reform agenda reflects the same private interests that are moving to shrink public space-interests that have no desire to raise questions that might encourage students to think critically about the roots of the environmental crisis, or to examine society's unsustainable distribution of wealth and power.
An environmental revolution is taking shape in the United States. This revolution has touched communities of color from New York to California and from Florida to Alaska - anywhere where African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans live and comprise a majority of the population. Collectively, these Americans represent the fastest growing segment of the population in the United States. They are also the groups most at risk from environmental problems.
Robert D Bullard
The obvious pollution occurring in many places - worst of all, in the planned societies- has encouraged the growth of the environmental movement, which, however, as shown in previous chapters, has an agenda that goes far beyond clean-up and beautification, far beyond the stewardship of nature that is commanded by ancient religious tradition. Embracing the "biospheric vision" in the "spirit of deep ecology", the movement sees human beings as the chief enemy in the struggle on behalf of a deified Nature. The environmental movement, therefore, is the perfect vehicle for population control. It is popular - people do love trees and animals and beautiful scenery - and it is unequivocal in its devotion to reducing human numbers. The environmental agencies of the United Nations, with their chilling blueprints for "demographic transition" and a standardless, undefined but totally planned and controlled "sustainable development", combine the fervor of nature worship with the lack of accountability of an unelected, international bureaucracy.
We line up and make a lot of noise about big environmental problems like incinerators, waste dumps, acid rain, global warming and pollution. But we don't understand that when we add up all the tiny environmental problems each of us creates, we end up with those big environmental dilemmas. Humans are content to blame someone else, like government or corporations, for the messes we create, and yet we each continue doing the same things, day in and day out, that have created the problems. Sure, corporations create pollution. If they do, don't buy their products. If you have to buy their products (gasoline for example), keep it to a minimum. Sure, municipal waste incinerators pollute the air. Stop throwing trash away. Minimize your production of waste. Recycle. Buy food in bulk and avoid packaging waste. Simplify. Turn off your TV. Grow your own food. Make compost. Plant a garden. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. If you don't, who will?
A crowd whose discontent has risen no higher than the level of slogans is only a crowd. But a crowd that understands the reasons for its discontent and knows the remedies is a vital community, and it will have to be reckoned with. I would rather go before the government with two people who have a competent understanding of an issue, and who therefore deserve a hearing, than with two thousand who are vaguely dissatisfied. But even the most articulate public protest is not enough. We don't live in the government or in institutions or in our public utterances and acts, and the environmental crisis has its roots in our lives. By the same token, environmental health will also be rooted in our lives. That is, I take it, simply a fact, and in the light of it we can see how superficial and foolish we would be to think that we could correct what is wrong merely by tinkering with the institutional machinery. The changes that are required are fundamental changes in the way we are living.
It is not brains or intelligence that is needed to cope with the problems with Plato and Aristotle and all of their successors to the present have failed to confront. What is needed is a readiness to undervalue the world altogether. This is only possible for a Christian... All technologies and all cultures, ancient and modern, are part of our immediate expanse. There is hope in this diversity since it creates vast new possibilities of detachment and amusement at human gullibility and self-deception. There is no harm in reminding ourselves from time to time that the "Prince of this World" is a great P.R. man, a great salesman of new hardware and software, a great electric engineer, and a great master of the media. It is his master stroke to be not only environmental but invisible for the environmental is invincibly persuasive when ignored.