Cardboard Castles and Other Amenities...

I am really interested in using different forms of cultural action to help build better communities. Communities are a vital social model, allowing us to tackle problems beyond the ability of individuals with the focus of a defined (usually relatively small) group of people. How do the arts and cultural work in general help communities grow more sustainable futures? If you have a cool website or project or your own ideas on these subjects please let me know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One More Reason Culture Matters

This is a great interview with Michael Shellenberger, co-author of “The Death of Environmentalism.” In it he talks about his critique of the environmental movement’s constant doom-and-gloom narrative.

MS: A lot of the stories that you hear about ecological crisis are really tragic narrative, so they often start by suggesting that humans at one point lived in harmony with nature and that humankind violated nature either through pollution or through science or through the Industrial Revolution, and that we’re now being punished for that by nature with ecological collapse. That’s a very old narrative: it’s the story of humankind’s fall from Eden in Genesis, and it probably goes back farther than that. In the book we point out that, really, humans have always been in a much more complicated relationship with their surroundings. Obviously we ourselves are part of nature. We evolved from the earth, and we never fell from it.

We believe there’s a more powerful story that should be told. It’s a story of a constant overcoming of adversity. If you look back, humans today are living longer, healthier lives. We have better medicine. We’ve overcome an enormous number of challenges: mass starvation and all sorts of ancient diseases. The history of humankind is not a story of our falling; if anything, it’s the story of our having risen. That’s a very powerful story to tell because it allows us to feel powerful and strong when thinking about new challenges such as global warming. (from eyeteeth)


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