This essay appears today in The Chronicle Review and it makes an interesting claim:
What is the carbon footprint, after all, if not the gaseous equivalent of Original Sin, the stain we inflict on Mother Gaia?
Pascal Bruckner writes:
There are at least two ecologies: one rational, the other nonsensical; one that broadens our outlook while the other narrows it; one democratic, the other totalitarian. The first wants to tell us about the damage done by industrial civilization; the second infers from this the human species’ guilt. For the latter, nature is only a stick to be used to beat human beings. Just as third-worldism was the shame of colonial history, and repentance was contrition with regard to the present, catastrophism constitutes the anticipated remorse of the future: The meaning of history having evaporated, every change is a potential collapse that augurs nothing good.
Catastrophism’s favorite mode of expression is accusation: Revolutionaries wanted to erase the past and start over from zero; now the focus is on condemning past and present wrongs and bringing them before the tribunal of public opinion. No leniency is possible; our crime has been calculated in terms of devastated forests, burned-over lands, and extinct species.
The prevailing anxiety is at once a recognition of real problems and a symptom of the aging of the West, a reflection of its psychic fatigue. Our pathos is that of the end of time. And because no one ever thinks alone, because the spirit of an age is always a collective worker, it is tempting to give oneself up to this gloomy tide. Or, on the contrary, we could wake up from this nightmare and rid ourselves of it.
read the entire essay here: http://chronicle.com/article/Against-Environmental-Panic/139733/
h/t to reader “Jamie”