Climate engineering

In the history of environmental policy it has long been accepted that cutting pollution at its source is usually better than 'end-of-pipe' solutions aimed at moderating the damage after it has been done. In the case of greenhouse pollution, it is a lesson some want to abandon in the most dramatic way. The best definition of geoengineering is 'the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change'.46 Methods fall into two types carbon...

Political science

Along with Descartes, the seminal intellectual figure in the transition from the old to the new natural philosophy was Isaac Newton, whose work, particularly the 1687 Principia, contributed more than any other to the revolution in consciousness. Indeed the mechanical philosophy is known interchangeably as the Newtonian or the Cartesian worldview. In his early years as a student at Cambridge Newton imbibed the mechanical philosophy, including the conceptualisation of matter as inert or inactive,...

Green consumerism

For many years governments, businesses and environmental organisations have been sending us a powerful message we can make a difference if we change how we use energy in our daily lives. The environment sections of bookstores are stuffed with cheerful volumes describing all the things we can do to cut our greenhouse gas emissions change our light bulbs, walk to the store, boil only as much water as we need, make sure we have a full load to put in to the washing machine and dry the clothes...

Disconnection from Nature

Wesley Schultz, Chris Shriver, Jennifer Tabanico and Azar Khazian, 'Implicit Connections With Nature', Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 24, 2004, pp. 31 42. 2 Schultz et al., 'Implicit Connections With Nature', p. 41. See also P. Wesley Schultz, 'Environmental Attitudes and Behaviors Across Cultures', in W.J. Lonner, D.L. Dinnel, S.A. Hayes and D.N. Sattler (eds), Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, Center for Cross-Cultural Research, Western Washington University,...

The Stern intervention

Since the early 1990s all economists who modelled the costs of cutting emissions showed that continued growth and climate protection are quite consistent.36 In 2005 Britain's then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, commissioned Nicholas Stern, previously chief economist at the World Bank, to prepare a report on the economics of climate change that would consider both the costs of reducing emissions and the costs of climate change if emissions were to grow unchecked. The Blair Government...

Growth fetishism

1 Global Footprint Network, http www.footprintnetwork.org gfn_ sub.php content overshoot. 3 Gary Kroll, 'Rachel Carson Silent Spring A Brief History of Ecology as a Subversive Subject', Online Ethics Center for Engineering, National Academy of Engineering, 6 July 2006, www.onlineethics.org. 4 Newsweek, editorial, 13 March 1972. 5 Quoted by Rex Weyler at http rexweyler.com 2008 11 28 6 Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Randers and William Behrens, The Limits to Growth, Earth Island Ltd,...

Cognitive dissonance

In the early 1950s a woman in Minneapolis began to receive communications from an extraterrestrial being named Sananda. Marian Keech, as she was pseudonymously known, heard that a great flood would cleanse the world of earthlings at midnight on 21 December 1954. Only those who believed in Sananda would be saved they would be taken to another planet in a spaceship that would arrive just before the flood. A cult formed around Ms Keech. Apart from a single press release, it shunned publicity....

The death of Nature

Prior to the second half of the seventeenth century the dominant philosophy of Nature outside of the Church was Hermeticism. In the Hermetic philosophy the world was understood organically, that is, as akin to a living organism. The modern distinction between animate and inanimate objects was not recognised rocks, metals and the elements were not seen as passive but animated by an internal principle.6 So, for example, metals grow in the earth according to their own principle rather than due to...

Is there a way out

1 The World Energy Council estimates economically recoverable reserves of coal, excluding non-conventional sources, at 850 billion tonnes. At current usage rates that would last 150 years. Adding in known potentially exploitable reserves at least doubles this estimate. The United States has the greatest reserves, followed by Russia, China and Australia ( Judy Trinnaman and Alan Clarke (eds), Survey of Energy Resources 2007 Coal, World Energy Council, London, 2007). 3 Anon., 'Trouble in store',...

Coping strategies

I wrote in the Preface that the most immediate reason we now face climate disruption lies in the political power of the fossil fuel lobby, which has set out to sow doubt in the public mind and has resisted attempts to curb the carbon emissions of the companies it represents. The story of their power and influence has been told several times 64 the more perplexing question is why they have been allowed to get away with it. To this point I have tried to account for the unwillingness to override...

The consumer self

1 This is spelled out in more detail in Clive Hamilton, 'Consumerism, self-creation and prospects for a new ecological consciousness', Journal of Cleaner Production (forthcoming, 2010). 2 See Martin Lindstrom, Brand Sense, Free Press, New York, 2005 Naomi Klein, No Logo, HarperCollins, London, 2001 Clive Hamilton, Growth Fetish, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2003 and Pluto Press, London, 2004. 3 Robert Frank, Luxury Fever Money and happiness in an era of excess, Princeton University Press, New...