Consumerism and environmentalism essay - Team10

Environmentalism and consumerism essay

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Environmental theorists, seeking the origin of Western exploitative attitudes toward nature, have directed their attacks against "humanism." This essay argues that such criticisms are misplaced. Humanism has much closer affinities to environmentalism than the latter's advocates believe. As early as the Renaissance, and certainly by the late eighteenth century, humanists were developing historically-conscious, hermeneutically-grounded modes of understanding, rather than the abstract, mathematical models of nature often associated with them. In its twentieth-century versions humanism also shares much of the mistrust of consumerism, instrumental reason, and "worldlessness" that marks environmentalist literature. Nevertheless, humanism is indeed committed to the principle that human beings are and ought to be free, and opposes theoretical approaches that suppress freedom. Reconciling humanism and environmentalism thus involves two steps: resisting the former's tendency to treat nature and freedom as metaphysical polarities, and drawing environmental theory away from flirtation with deterministic, biologistic worldviews. The essay concludes by suggesting Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac as the paradigm case of environmental thought with roots in humanist approaches.
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Environmental theorists, seeking the origin of Western exploitative attitudes toward nature, have directed their attacks against 'humanism'. This essay argues that such criticisms are misplaced. Humanism has much closer affinities to environmentalism than the latter's advocates believe. As early as the Renaissance, and certainly by the late eighteenth century, humanists were developing historically-conscious, hermeneutically-grounded modes of understanding, rather than the abstract, mathematical models of nature often associated with them. In its twentieth-century versions humanism also shares much of the mistrust of consumerism, instrumental reason, and 'worldlessness' that marks environmentalist literature. Nevertheless, humanism is indeed committed to the principle that human beings are and ought to be free, and opposes theoretical approaches that suppress freedom. Reconciling humanism and environmentalism thus involves two steps: resisting the former's tendency to treat nature and freedom as metaphysical polarities, and drawing environmental theory away from flirtation with deterministic, biologistic worldviews. The essay concludes by suggesting Aldo Leopold's as the paradigm case of environmental thought with roots in humanist approaches.

Environmentalism and consumerism essay - …

In this essay, Professor Hanna explores (and pokes a little fun) at the "greening" of America. She argues that the success of the environmental movement will depend on its ability to transform from a movement that is based on consumerism to a larger political and social agenda.

Environmentalism and Consumerism | Business Articles …

The Present Study
This book contains essays written by 11 leading North American economists, resource analysts, and environmentalists. It presents a market-oriented perspective on questions of environmentalism, in stark contrast to the approach adopted by many ecologists and biologists. The authors of this volume are all highly critical of the public policy proposals—but not the goals—put forth by conservation groups such as The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, National Audubon Society, Resources for the Future, National Wildlife Association, and The Club of Rome. The major contribution to this book is "The Economics of the Conserver Society," written by John Chant, Donald McFetridge, and Douglas Smith. In this lead-off chapter they take to task the Canadian equivalents of those international bodies, specifically The Science Council and the Montreal-based Gamma Group. Although the programmes of these conserver groups were written in the 1970s, they remain the most articulate and definitive Canadian statements of the view that ecological problems are caused by unbridled capitalism, and may best be addressed through greater government involvement in the economy. Our authors begin by setting the stage. The conservers, they note, are particularly outraged by what they see as the market's tendency to promote harmful technological change, overpopulation and pollution, to create artificial wants, to ignore the future, and to fail to come to grips with non-market interactions, such as externalities and spill-over effects. Drawing upon Hayek's critique of Galbraith's notion of the "dependence effect," these three authors demonstrate that just because a want is not innate, does not mean it is not valuable. In a modern industrial society, people demand more than what is biologically (i.e., innately) required for life. They learn about such products through advertising, which, as long as there is competition from the non-advertised sector, can only help to promote consumer sovereignty. The conservers, in objecting to it, are trying to impose their own personal tastes on the nation.

Environmentalism and Consumerism

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