Monday, April 20, 2015

the ecomodernist manifesto

ecomodernist manifesto

I'm trying to work out why ideas like this have so little traction in any significant political party. Liberals, Labour and Green are all hopeless. I've summarised some of the key points below but it would be better to read the whole thing.

1) We live in the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans

2) There are no good reasons for pessimism.

3)... we affirm one long-standing environmental ideal, that humanity must shrink its impacts on the environment to make more room for nature, while we reject another, that human societies must harmonize with nature to avoid economic and ecological collapse

4) There is an answer to environment concerns that are heard every day. The answer is to decouple intensive human development from environmental issues.

5) in contradiction to the often-expressed fear of infinite growth colliding with a finite planet, demand for many material goods may be saturating as societies grow wealthier. Meat consumption, for instance, has peaked in many wealthy nations and has shifted away from beef toward protein sources that are less land intensive (other issues of concern outlined too)

6) Ecosystems around the world are threatened today because people over-rely on them ... Conversely, modern technologies, by using natural ecosystem flows and services more efficiently, offer a real chance of reducing the totality of human impacts on the biosphere

7) Plentiful access to modern energy is an essential prerequisite for human development

8) The energy sources we need are cheap, clean, dense, and abundant. Candidates include next-generation solar, advanced nuclear fission, and nuclear fusion

9) Our Environmental future is a human spiritual or aesthetic choice more than a material or utilitarian choice ... the decoupling makes this choice possible

10) Don't confuse modernity (good) with capitalism (questionable)
"Too often, modernization is conflated, both by its defenders and critics, with capitalism, corporate power, and laissez-faire economic policies. We reject such reductions. What we refer to when we speak of modernization is the long-term evolution of social, economic, political, and technological arrangements in human societies toward vastly improved material well-being, public health, resource productivity, economic integration, shared infrastructure, and personal freedom.

Modernization has liberated ever more people from lives of poverty and hard agricultural labor, women from chattel status, children and ethnic minorities from oppression, and societies from capricious and arbitrary governance. Greater resource productivity associated with modern socio-technological systems has allowed human societies to meet human needs with fewer resource inputs and less impact on the environment. More-productive economies are wealthier economies, capable of better meeting human needs while committing more of their economic surplus to non-economic amenities, including better human health, greater human freedom and opportunity, arts, culture, and the conservation of nature.

Modernizing processes are far from complete, even in advanced developed economies ..."
the authors

the responses (great to see that they are publishing critical responses on their site)

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