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Environmental Studies
David Scallen

ES 298 (Winter 2014) Exam – Reformist Radical Prosaic Problem Survivalism Solving Imaginative Sustainability Green Radicalism Prosaic: dull, unimaginative, everyday, ordinary, environmental concern = negative Imaginative: creative, resourcefulness, environment provides a positive opportunity Reformist: gradual changes within an existing organization Radical: extreme/drastic change Chronology – 1. Survivalism 2. Problem Solving (how we generally deal with things now) 3. Sustainability (we are slowly moving in this direction, but not completely there yet) 4. Green Radicalism (can be seen as a ‘goal’ of some sort but unsure if it will be reached, very drastic) 1. Problem Solving: taking the political-economic status quo as given but in need of adjustment to cope with environmental problems, especially via public policy. Solutions found within existing institutions. Response takes on various forms: Administrative rationalism: It has a strong conception of the government, governing in a way that is in the best interest of the public Assumptions about natural relationships: nature is rightfully subordinated to human problem- solving. It first subordinates the people to the state, and then puts experts/managers in their dominant places in the state’s hierarchy. It denies existence of politics. Agents and their motives: the state is a collective actor (primary agent), technical experts and managers have a greater capacity than anyone else. Everything is done in the interest of the public Key metaphors/rhetorical devices: just as the human mind controls the body the administrative mind controls the state, mixture of concern and reassurance Democratic Pragmatism: government is treated not as a unitary state, but rather as a multiplicity of decision processes populated by citizens. Has little to say about nature/ecosystems. Assumptions about natural relationships: places nature as subordinate to human problem- solving efforts, celebrates equality among citizens Agents and their motives: agency in this discourse is for everyone, however motives are mixed. Key metaphors/rhetorical devices: treating public policy as the resultant of forces acting upon it from different directions, public policies are like science experiments (the proper attitude for scientists and policy makers alike is an open one), thermostat Economic Rationalism: markets, prices and property have real existence, but government only exists to a point. Citizens and environments do not exist, however they recognize the existence of natural resources. Assumptions about natural relationships: the basic relationship across individuals and collective actors is competitive. Ambiguous attitude towards government, however they believe that some experts need to be in a position of power , public interest is important Agents and their motives: the main agent are those motivated by material self-interest and pursuing it rationally, those in government positions who believe that and have public interest in mind Key metaphors/rhetorical devices: the social world is treated as a machine whose products meet human needs/wants (sometimes this machine needs to be reassembled), gaining the acceptance of the term “command and control” to describe intervention by the government, horror stories which involve governmental action that produces inefficient and costly results Examples of when problem solving was applied: 1. In resource rich countries (US – conservation movement/Rio Summit, Canada, Australia) 2. National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife 3. Pollution control devices: catalytic converters & scrubbers smoke stakes/inspections & safety checks 4. China – shifting attention from large ‘at all costs’ engineering projects to those with environmental component Why is problem solving good: 1. Can cope with large-complex problems (does so by breaking it down into smaller components) 2. Aggregate small solutions 3. Operational hierarchy – has control of groups and solutions Concerns about problem solving: 1. Hierarchy based on expertise 2. The systems are so complex that is almost impossible to come up with a sure solution 3. Requires dispersion or fragmentation to deal with the issues 4. Results in sub-sets with high intra-action rather than interactive subsets with little intra-action 2. Survivalism: economic and population growth will eventually hit limits because the Earth cannot sustain enough natural resources Assumptions about natural relationships: Hierarchy; there are elites who are responsible for the world Agents and their motives: It is the elites who have agency, the capacity to act. ‘Populations’ have no agent, they are only acted upon Key metaphors/rhetorical devices: overshoot and collapse (overpopulation of species = collapse) , tragedy of the commons, spaceship earth (Boulding –if there was only a certain amount of air on board a spaceship, how long would they last?), Cancerous growth of population Limitations: elites being in charge of everything (can they work together globally?), often global authority is lacking, can’t just blame it on population Opposition: (church – might be against birth control methods), political views which don’t like authority (Marxist), ecofeminists (if we deal with birth control, it can be feminist) Examples: 1. Montreal Protocol (CFC limits) 2. India: offers cash incentives/prizes to those who do not contribute to the growing population, also there are laws in place 3. China: one child law Limits: 1. Working towards a coordinated global effort (hard to get everyone to cooperate) 2. Think globally, act globally 3. Global authority is usually lacking 4. Limited authoritarian regimes 5. All blame is on population growth (not the only problem!) Opposition: 1. Church (Birth control is bad) 2. Marxist’s oppose it 3. Eco-feminists (because it is the women who use birth control, and they should not be ‘controlled’ Promethean: believe that natural resources, ecosystems and nature (it’s a counter to survivalism) itself do not exist, resources are infinite Assumptions about natural relationships: humans dominate everything else, there is little need for government Agents and their motives: the capacity to act is for everyone, not as political actors but as economic actors. They celebrate the people who compose populations (growth is not a prob) Metaphors/rhetorical devices: machines are constructed from simple components through the application of human skill and energy, trends/graphs are used a lot 3. Sustainability: imaginative attempts to dissolve the conflicts between environmental and economic values. Has a global perspective because they believe it will help overcome local issues. Assumptions about natural relationships: economic growth, environmental protection, distributive justice and long-term sustainability are mutually reinforcing. There are few hierarchy’s in human affair – however human beings are above natural world Agents and their motives: the relevant actors can exist at many levels, national governments and state actors are de-emphasized, NGO’s and civil society are important Key metaphors and rhetorical devices: organisms can grow and develop and so can societies, links itself to the idea of progress, involves a rhetoric of reassurance; saying we can have it all but in perpetuity Examples of when Sustainability was applied: 1. World conservation strategy 1980 2. Rio/Earth Summit 1992 3. Canada’s Green Plan (1990) Criticisms of Sustainability: 1. Economic rationalists believe it is only a futile attempt to replace markets by political management 2. Prometheans sense some limits to growth 3. Radical environmentalists believe development is not sustainable and social justice is not achieved 4. Survivalists are in denial of limits and carrying capacity 5. Free trade/economic growth overshadow it Ecological Modernization: the capitalist political economy needs conscious reconfiguring and far-sighted action so that economic development and environmental protection can proceed hand-in-hand and reinforce one another Assumptions about natural relationships: it is a partnership where governments, businesses, moderate environmentalist and scientists cooperate, the world itself is in a position of subordination to human desires, there is a relationships between environmental protection and economic prosperity Agents and their motives: governments, businesses, moderate environmentalists and scientists, their motivations have to do with the common good or the public interest Key metaphors/rhetorical devices: this discourse returns both ecology and economics to their household root, and re-established their commonality, a tidy household (this household is concerned with maximizing its wellbeing, but at the same time realizes that minimizing waste also means meeting its needs efficiently Issues/risks of ecological modernization: 1. Issues of environmental risk in industrial society (chemical pollution, toxic wastes, nuclear energy etc) 2. Mostly focuses on technological/economic change rather than social development 3. Experts lose privilege, science reformed 4. Does EM fit into current world economics (world-trade, de-regulation etc) 5. Non-common in English speaking industrialized nations Examples of countries who have implemented the Sustainability discourse: 1. Netherlands: national environmental policy plan, yearly state of the envir
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