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Reflections on Etain Addey, from the deep well: The diaries of Pratale Farm, Eyebright Books, Westbury UK, 2016

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-03-26, 04:08 authored by Freya Mathews
One of the great riddles of our time is how to shift modern civilization, based as it is on advanced industrialism, towards ecological consciousness. There is no longer any doubt, from a well-informed perspective, that such a shift is needed: our entire planet is now in such a state of environmental extremis - with runaway climate change, the extinction crisis and worldwide chemical poisoning of atmosphere, soils and waters - that the need for a change in our thinking should be obvious even to the most casual observer. Yet our lives, in 'developed' societies, are so enmeshed in industrial systems premised on rampant environmental instrumentalism that, even in face of the starkest of facts, most of us are unable to extricate ourselves from the (sub-)consciousness that emanates from these industrial systems. Decades ago it might have seemed as if all that was required to bring about the necessary value shift was rational demonstration. So philosophers painstakingly argued for a new environmental ethic that would morally re-orient our civilization, while scientists identified and detailed the alarming biogeological trends that were becoming discernible in earth-systems. The reasoning and research was rigorous and sound. But it did not change attitudes. The flood of books, articles and other academic literature that followed, over several decades, was no more availing. Certainly, categories such as 'conservation' and 'sustainability' established themselves as accepted qualifiers of political discourse, but they have by no means checked the headlong rush of our civilization towards wholesale ecocide.

PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, No. 13, 2017: 96-100


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