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School of Environment
Stephen Scharper

ENV100 – Readings – Lecture 2 • to graduate must know concepts: thermodynamics / ecology / carrying capacity / energetics / sustainable agriculture and forestry / environmental ethics etc. David Orr - What is Education For? • must learn we are part of the ecological mechanism / our choice to play a role • losing acre/sec / loss of species & deserts / population incr / adding CFCs to atm. __________________________________________________ • education = not a barrier to barbarity (Nazi ex. ) / no guarantee of decency • wiesel “quote on education” – emphasis on theories not values Scharper, Foreword and Introduction, 11-21 • letting climate change occur and cleaning damage = not good strategy 6 Myths of Modern Education: • crises: food, fuel, climate, economy / must rethink what being human means • (1) Ignorance is a solvable problem – its not / part of human condition / • anthropoocene – human pressures on planet are causing abrupt, irreversible advancement = means there will always be ignorance (ex. CFCs) changes / have crossed 3 of 9 planetary boundaries / started with industrial • (2) With enough knowledge and technology we can manage planet earth – revolution 300 yrs ago complexity of earth can never be managed / can manage: human desire, economy, • water scarce by 2025 / interconnected global water systems being altered / politics / more sense to reshape ourselves than the planet chemicals in our bodies that didn’t exist years ago • (3) Knowledge, and human goodness, is increasing – some knowledge increasing, • Leopold, “we need to love biotic environment.” some decr / ignorance of geography, their homes, neighbourhoods / confusing data • western world – driving force behind ecological change, third world (is being with knowledge / knowledge of what is good and right is most at risk / intelligence affected most) (long term) vs. cleverness (short term) • (4) We can restore that which we have dismantled – everything divided; no sense “From Corpse to Compost,” 130-132 of unity between things / ex. economists w/o knowledge if ecology / think we are • Janet McCausland – providing environmentally friendly alternative to conventional richer than we are burial “Green Burial” • (5) The purpose of education is to give students the means for upward mobility • decr. energy and resource consumption / decr. toxic output (from cremation) and success – Thomas Merton advice “be anything but avoid success” / don’t need • goal: respect the interdependent web of all existence which we are part of more successful people; need people with courage to fight for what’s humane • (6) Our culture is the pinnacle of human achievement - ex. communism & “We All Lose in the War against Nature,” 63-64 capitalism failed / now: great wealth for a few, poverty for a growing underclass our • humans destroying species and causing alterations to planet’s climate culture is disintegrating • causes: urbanization, pollution, growing population, excessive fuel combustion • humans are winning war against nature  significant price to this victory 6 Principles of Rethinking Education • can proceed to Technozoic “waste land” or Ecozoic “work with the environment” • (1) all education Is environmental education – students taught they are part of the • we arse first species to be able to change the geological history of the planet world / integrate subjects (ex. economy & ecology) • (2) Paideia: goal of education is not mastery of subject matter but mastery of one’s person • (3) Knowledge carries with it the responsibility to see that it is well used in the world – knowledge to do harm has outgrown ability to use it responsibly • (4) Only truly know something when we understand effects of this knowledge on real people and communities – ex. corporate decisions to disinvest in region have confounding effects on locals and quality of life / negatives unaccounted for • (5) William Blake – power of example over words – need role models of integrity, care / need institutions capable of embodying ideals wholly and completely / ex. students learn about global responsibility in institutions that spend irresponsibly • (6) Way that learning occurs is as important as content taught – process is important / learning isolated from real world ENV100 – Readings – Lecture 3 • requires decision makers to anticipate harm before it happens • ex. automobiles – use seatbelts and airbags because driving can be dangerous Henry David Thoreau – “Walking” • human is not boss / cant technologically fix all our messes / we can destroy • theme: connect the human being philosophically with the nature and divinity ecosystems irreversibly • didn’t reject civilization nor fully embraced wilderness / believed in a middle grund • ex. Hydro Quebec floods – mercury poisoning in rivers bc of organic material that integrated both decomposing (microorganisms making mercury as waste matter) – Cree people • humans – inhabitant of nature / criticized lack of relationship and appreciation infected [environmental racism & injustice] • 3 parts: relationship with nature should be innate / nature is magical and society is • even if lack of scientific knowledge, places with serious threats of damage will get causing harm / nature is spiritual, what is our role cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation (Earth Summit; EU) • putting breaks on thinking like, “if we can do it technologically lets do it” John Muir – “A Near High View of the Sierra” • MMS (Mineral Management Service) – group responsible for oversight of drilling in • landscapes of the Sierra remodeled by developing icefloods / John Muir – US (not any more) / responsible for encouraging offshore oil drilling; receive royalties mountaineer • problems: bribes, companies being allowed to write own inspection certificates • meets 2 artists - led them to a perfect picturesque landscape – Sierra Crown (area • 3 groups involved in oil spill: BP, Trans Ocean (construction), Halliburton just above the Tuolumne meadows) • in Europe have safety capping mechanism; waived in US • wanted to summit Mt. Ritter / last chance to do so before winter set in • Corexit – chemical used to disperse oil; now deep in the water / EPA put a stop to it • said he should learn how to paint so he could show the world the amazing place he / BP said no to the stop lived in for most of the year • matter of social ecology – how environmental accidents affect people & • wasn’t able to summit the mountain because of weather and poor climbing communities / deep ecology – acknowledges intrinsic value of nature / this case mix conditions of both • went back to painters’ camp • blowout safety device costs (500K; compared to 4 Bilion profit of BP) • “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the • oceans becoming acidic / difficult for coral reefs and microorganisms to breed / world” – John Muir dead zone in Gulf bc of fertilizer runoff (Mississipi delta) __________________________________________________ • top: fertilizer cesspool; middle: safe ground for fish; bottom: oil deathbed • even after oil spill government has granted permits to drillers- this is WRONG!! Scharper, “The Ethics of Organic Farming”, 151–153 • organic food business = multi-billion-dollar industry • Rev. James Profit – “spiritual connection with nature doesn’t just happen on the farm, can be nourished on sidewalks.” • organic farming = seen as way of building community, promoting spiritual well being, expression respect for creation / stems from deep interconnection with earth • ex. just by genes we are all connected / w/o air, water, soil there is no human life • pushing away from profit driven, chemically based, ecologically disruptive agribusiness model Scharper, “The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: Would”, 115–120 • largest most devastating in human history / explosion of deepwater horizon oil rig (near Louisiana coastline) - 2010 • double negative affect – wildlife dying; also affecting people who make living of fishing (80% happens
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