I encourage you to watch the provocative and important lecture above byPeter Kareiva, the much-lauded chief scientist of the world’s biggest environmental group, the Nature Conservancy. The title is “Failed Metaphors and A New Environmentalism for the 21st Century.” It’s a refreshing call for new approaches from a community stuck on what I’ve called a “woe is me, shame on you” tune for far too long
Then read Paul Voosen‘s marvelous profile of Kareiva for Greenwire (excerpt below). Kareiva’s talk has fabulous moments, including when he calls out the writer Edward Abbey for “total hypocrisy” after reading a passage from “Desert Solitaire” reveling in solitude and then a passage from Abbey’s diary at the time, lamenting the isolation: “Christ, I am lonely!” He notes how Henry David Thoreau’s mother stopped by once a week to do the writer’s laundry as he mused around Walden Pond.
On and on, he demolishes the mythologies built around the environment as something to be conserved separate from human affairs and the failed tactics and world views of the movement he has been a part of for decades. Kareiva is one of a growing array of leading environmental and ecology scholars and doers who see that new models for thinking and acting are required in this time of the Anthropocene, an era in which Earth is increasingly what humans choose to make it — either through action or inaction. Others write with him in “Love Your Monsters,” a collection of essays curated by the Breakthrough Institute. Another vital voice is that of Emma Marris, the author of “Rambunctious Garden,” which Matt Ridley recently gushed about and which I’ll be praising soon here in a long overdue post (please watch my short video interview with her for a foretaste).
Here’s the excerpt and link to the piece by Voosen, who’s on my “top 10″ list of environment journalists these days: Read more…