Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
at times they have inspired Constitutional amendments, Supreme Court
decisions, new legal protections, and other revisions in our basic under-
standing of individual rights, and at other moments they have led to the
creation of public agencies to oversee and enforce protections for work-
ers, previous targets of discrimination, or aspects of the environment.
Although passing Social Security and Medicare required fighting back
against charges of socialism, even those batles pale in comparison to
what is required today. Seldom have we atempted to change our society
by intervening so directly into the market itself, by changing the price of
goods necessary to all categories of economic activity for the sake of a
collective purpose. The last time we did anything on this order of magni-
tude, we removed an entire category of goods from the market—namely,
human beings—and it took a Civil War to do so. In this country, when-
ever injustice is woven into the fabric of our economy, change is very dif-
ficult indeed, and the current case is no different.
One sign of how much this revolution will require of us may be found
in what it shares with “deep ecology,” which argued around three decades
ago that because the Earth is not here to serve human purposes, we need
to repudiate modest protections for the environment and change our
societies far more radically. 90 Deep ecology has never become a main-
stream movement; it has been regarded, and has regarded itself, as a mar-
ginal if fierce presence. But today, climate change is making its central
point more clearly than ever: by now, it's crystal clear that we cannot use
the Earth in whatever way we see fit, for if we do so, we endanger our own
future. We are a part of the Earth, rather than the other way around.
But this insight in itself is not enough. Deep ecology uses mislead-
ing terms; by using the term “deep,” it implies that depth of awareness
on these maters is its own reward, that seeing past gradualist measures
is sufficient. That view distracts us from a much more crucial contrast,
embedded in nineteenth-century radical traditions, between reform and
revolution. At its heart, by opposing reformist measures, deep ecology is
revolutionary ecology. In that case, merely thinking through a critique of
modern society is only the first step. Much more crucial is the task of fig-
uring out how to change modern society so that it will no longer destroy
the biosphere. Climate change forces us to convert this particular strand
Search WWH ::

Custom Search