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Beyond ‘doomism’: offering a vision for the environment

  • by JW

How can green politics encourage radical thinking without opening the door to hateful ideologies?


Quite understandably, there’s been a lot of anxiety about the planet:

Eco-anxiety: between doom and denial – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Climate change: from fatalism to optimism – Vision Group for Sidmouth


On the other hand, there’s been a lot of hope these last months:

Coronavirus: the impact on the environment – Vision Group for Sidmouth


However, we shouldn’t forget that “Emissions in China are down because the economy has stopped and people are dying, and because poor people are not able to get medicine and food. This is not an analogy for how we want to decrease emissions from climate change.”

Carbon emissions are really tricky to measure precisely – Vision Group for Sidmouth


At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, there was a specific type of meme circulating:

Plague Comforts: “Nature Is Healing, We Are the Virus” Memes – Mother Jones


Radio 4’s Analysis looks into this:


Humans vs the Planet

As Covid-19 forced humans into lockdown, memes emerged showing the earth was healing thanks to our absence. These were false claims – but their popularity revealed how seductive the dangerous idea that ‘we are the virus’ can be.

At its most extreme, this way of thinking leads to eco-fascism, the belief the harm humans do to Earth can be reduced by cutting the number of non-white people.

But the mainstream green movement is also challenged by a less hateful form of this mentality known as ‘doomism’ – a creeping sense that humans will inevitably cause ecological disaster, that it’s too late to act and that technological solutions only offer more environmental degradation through mining and habitat loss.

What vision can environmentalists offer as an antidote to these depressing ideas? And how can green politics encourage radical thinking without opening the door to hateful ideologies?

Analysis – Humans vs the Planet – BBC Sounds


See also:

Futures Forum: Deep Ecology 2018

Futures Forum: On the Transition: “Future Primitive”

And more recently:

‘Planet of the Humans’: a new documentary – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Climate change: technical solutions? – Vision Group for Sidmouth