The Modern Assault On Nature The Making Of Ecocide

1. Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), The Essays ("Morall, politike and millitarie discourses," translated from French by John Florio; 1603), a Scolar Press facsimile (Menston, UK: Scolar Press, 1969); in "Of Coaches," vol. 3, pp. 141-4.

2. Foster, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short History of the Environment, p. 43.

3. David Jary and Julya Jary, The Harper Collins Dictionary of Sociology: Sociology from 'Anomie' to 'Zeitgeist' (New York: Harper & Collins Publishers, 1991), p. 527.

4. By contrast, the Romans left about a third of Britain forested. See P. Ehrlich and A. Ehrlich, Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearance of Species, p. 160.

5. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (New York: Scribner, 1930), Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, p. 5.

6. Capitalism had made a number of promising starts in Italian city-states of the late Middle Ages, but these early sprouts were too divided and weak to survive in a hostile feudal environment.

7. Enrique Leff, Ecologica y Capital. English trans., Green Production: Toward an Environmental Rationality, ed. with an Introduction by James O'Connor, trans. Margareta Vilanueva, Democracy and Ecology Series (New York: Guilford Press, 1995), p. 18.

8. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

9. Jary and Jary, The Harper Collins Dictionary of Sociology: Sociology from 'Anomie' to 'Zeitgeist', pp. 527-8.

10. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (London: Routledge, 1992), p. xii, cited in Jay Hanson, "The Industrial Religion," in http://dieoff.org/page2.htm.

11. Michael Miley, "Against Nature: The Ideology of Ecocide," Propaganda Review 11

12. Mark Dowie, Losing Ground: American Environmentalism at the Close of the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995), pp. 10-14, Miley, "Against Nature:

The Ideology of Ecocide," p. 40, Jeremy Rifkin, Biosphere Politics: A New Conscious-nessfor a New Century (New York: Crown, 1991), p. 31.

13. Rifkin, Biosphere Politics: A New Consciousness for a New Century, p. 35.

14. The prevailing liberal ethos and worldview are hampered by incoherent partitions. The fundamental commitments of liberal theory are reflected in two key aspects of its discursive structure. First, it is silent on issues of exploitation and community. And second, it upholds (and is hampered by) another incoherent partition: the separation of private and public sphere. Moreover, the most powerful form of collective organization in contemporary capitalism - the modern business corporation - is stripped of its communal status in liberal theory. It is ignored in neoclassical economics, treated as a quasi-individual in law, and considered "private" in political discourse. Its status as a form of social power is thereby obscured, and its reality as the terrain of class conflict is systematically slighted. Liberal political philosophy is curiously at odds with liberal economic theory.

The key thesis here is that the capitalist economy not only fosters the exercise of unaccountable power, it also thwarts those forms of political learning-through-choosing by means of which democratic societies may come to deepen their fundamental political commitments and capacities. It was liberalism that was best able to provide a viable geoculture for the capitalist world economy, one that would legitimate the other institutions both in the eyes of the cadres of the system and, to a significant degree, in the eyes of the mass of the population, the so-called ordinary people. To the critics, the innermost core of liberalism is a failed promise of happiness. Enough however still remained: it brought tolerance, human rights, the liberal state (Rechtsstaat), democracy, or also its minimum, parliamentary democracy. But when liberalism went out through the woods of world history to achieve more - to cut all that wild forest and to plant in its place artificial man-made paradises - it prepared also in multiple ways the end of history.

15. Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990).

16. Carl Von Clausewitz, Michael Howard, and Peter Paret, eds, On War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), P.R. Ehrlich and A.H. Ehrlich, The Population Explosion (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1990), Paul R. Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (New York: Sierra Club-Ballantine Books, 1968), Andre Gunder Frank, "The Development of Underdevelopment," in Imperialism and Underdevelopment, ed. R.I. Rhodes (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1970), pp. 4-17, Manicas, War and Democracy, L.S. Stavranos, Global Rift: The Third World Comes of Age (New York: William Morrow, 1981).

17. Arran Gare, "Soviet Environmentalism: The Path Not Taken," in The Greening of Marxism, ed. Ted Benton, Demcracy and Ecology Series (New York: The Guilford Press, 1996), p. 111.

18. Fred Hirsch, The Social Limits to Growth (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970), Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, p. 6.

19. Environmental amenities, like pure air and water, biodiversity, or the serenity of nature, are often difficult or impossible to calculate in terms of a "price tag." Sweeping this problem aside, economists typically leave them out of cost-benefit analyses, working under the convenient assumption that their value is zero. Thus - and this lies at the core of the modern predicament - the dominant contemporary global economic system cannot flag the long-term environmental degradation from global economic and demographic growth. In other words, the contemporary framework structurally compels people to externalize (trade off) social and ecological costs. See Martin O'Connor, Is Capitalism Sustainable? Political Economy and the Politics of Ecology, Democracy and Ecology (New York: Guilford Press, 1994).

20. Foster, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short History of the Environment, p. 124, Meadows et al., Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse, Envisioning a Sustainable Future, James O'Connor, "The Second Contradiction of Capitalism: Causes and Consequences," Capitalism, Nature, Socialism (CNS) CNS/CES Pamphlet 1. Paper given at the Conference on New Economic Analysis, Iniciativa per Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, November 30-December 2, 1990 (1991), Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees, Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth (Philadelphia and Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, 1996), Edward O. Wilson, "Is Humanity Suicidal? We Are Flirting with the Extinction of Our Species," The New York Times Magazine May 30 (1993).

21. Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, pp. 94-95. NB: According to a Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) teaching, "We are a part of everything that is beneath us, and around us. Our past is our present, our present is our future, and our future is seven generations past and present."

23. Current environmental policies are still predominantly based on concepts of controlling and dominating nature, what could be labeled imperialism. Other colonial enterprises prior to Europe, such as Inca, Aztec, Chinese, and Islamic, share a highly instrumentalized, dominant social class-based ideological behavior pattern whereby humans tend to value nature in relation to how it can serve human interests and needs (often finding most destructive expression, for example, in pharaonic megalomania).

24. Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s, p. 97.

2 5. Samir Amin, "1492 - Columbus and the New World Order," Monthly Review 44(14) (July/August) (Special Issue) (1992), p. 10.

26. Alfred Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972).

2 7. Cited in Douglas Hilt, "Rediscovering the Discoverers: The Dual Case of Columbus and Cook," in Native American Cultures: Before and after Columbus, ed. D. Hilt (Speech) (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i at Manoa Summer Session; Committee for the Humanities, 1994).

28. Winona LaDuke, "A Society Based on Conquest Cannot Be Sustained," in Toxic Struggles: The Theory and Practice of Environmental Justice, ed. Richard Hofrichter (Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publisher, 1993), p. 101.

29. The New World here includes the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and many small islands. Syphilis probably was brought from the New World to Europe by Columbus.

30. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492, Crosby, Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900.

32. Malcolm Jones Jr, "When the Horse Came," Newsweek Fall/Winter (Special Issue: "When Worlds Collide: How Columbus's Voyage Transformed both East and West") (1991), p. 77.

33. Wolf, Europe and the People without History, pp. 195-96.

34. Foster, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short History of the Environment, p. 45.

35. Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, trans. Cedric Belfrage (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973), pp. 74-5.

36. Cited in Foster, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short History of the Environment, p. 45.

Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, pp. 74-5.

Fernand Braudel, The Structure of Everyday Life (New York: Harper & Row, 1979), p. 224, Ralph Davis, The Rise of the Atlantic Economies (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1973), p. 251, Foster, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short History of the Environment, pp. 45-6, Stavranos, Global Rift: The Third World Comes of Age, pp. 96-7, Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World System: Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World Economy, 1600-1750, vol. 2 (New York: Academic Press, 1980), p. 51, Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery (New York: Capricorn Books, 1944), pp. 30-84.

Gwyn Jones, A History of the Vikings (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), p. 23.

Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World Economy in the Sixteenth Century, vol. 1 (New York: Academic Press, 1974), p. 121, Wolf, Europe and the People without History, p. 158. Robert Joseph Kerner, The Urge to the Sea: The Course of Russian History. The Role of Rivers, Portages, Ostrogs, Monasteries, and Furs (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1942), p. 8, Wolf, Europe and the People without History, pp. 158-9. Tithes refers to the tenth part of goods or income paid as a tax for the support of the church or any tax or levy, especially of one-tenth. Wolf, Europe and the People without History, p. 159.

Peter J. Bryant, "Chapter 3: Extinction and Depletion from Over-Exploitation," Biodiversity and Conservation: A Hypertext Book (University of California, Irvine School of Biological Sciences [Online, available: http://darwin.bio.uci.edu/~sustain/ bio65/lec03/b65lec03.htm], 1997). Ibid.

Wolf, Europe and the People without History, p. 159.

One ought not to forget the miners here, since their discoveries were very often what led the government to abrogate Indian treaties made previously!

Wolf, Europe and the People without History, p. 159.

Bryant, "Extinction and Depletion from Over-Exploitation." Ibid.

In the time of Charles I, the king of England between 1625 and 1642, the rage in Europe was dashing beaver hats trimmed in ostrich feathers. Beaver hats were also used in seventeenth-century British infantry officers' uniforms. In addition, there were superstitions surrounding beaver furs that may have also contributed to their popularity. It was believed that by rubbing the oil into your hair, you would develop a remarkable memory. It was also rumored that the deaf could regain their hearing by wearing a beaver hat. The cost of such a hat was about the same as the price of a new car today. The huge demand for hats in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century caused the fur trade to boom. By 1850, the trapping had just about stopped. Few beavers remained, and the silk hat was becoming the new style. Thus many beavers owe their lives to the tiny silkworm.

Mark Mancall, Russia and China; Their Diplomatic Relations to 1728, Harvard East Asian Series 61 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971), p. 12, Wolf, Europe and the People without History, p. 159. Wolf, Europe and the People without History, p. 185. Ibid.

60. Bryant, "Extinction and Depletion from Over-Exploitation."

61. Clive Ponting, A Green History of the World: The Environmental Collapse of Civilisations (London: Penguin Books, 1991).

62. Bryant, "Extinction and Depletion from Over-Exploitation."

63. William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W.W. Norton, 1991), pp. 213-18. Cited in Foster, The Vulnerable Planet: A Short History of the Environment, p. 74.

64. D. Hull, "Where the Buffalo Roam Has Deadly New Caveat," Washington Post July 22 (1997).

65. Peter J. Bryant, "Chapter 4: Whaling and Fishing," Biodiversity and Conservation: A Hypertext Book (University of California, Irvine School of Biological Sciences [Online, available: http://darwin.bio.uci.edu/~sustain/bio65/lec04/b65lec04.htm], 1998).

66. Corset stays are the stiff bands that give the corset its support.

67. Bryant, "Whaling and Fishing."

68. Kyoichi Toriso, "Western Seas Whaling: A Brief History of the Whaling Hunt," Fukuoka Style Vol. 12 (October 31) (1995).

69. Bryant, "Whaling and Fishing."

71. "Ein Stück Schlaraffenland," Der Spiegel 28 (1992), pp. 190-91.

72. Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, eds, The Biophilia Hypothesis (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1993).

73. The ability to float "too easily" may be helping to drive the world's rarest whale to extinction, research has found. The remarkable buoyancy of the North Atlantic right whale not only made them the first of the great whales to be hunted to the point of extinction in the nineteenth century; but it continues to endanger the species in the late modern era because right whales have more difficulty in diving to avoid large ships. Fatal ship collisions are taking a big toll on the tiny population, with at least 16 recorded in the past 30 years. Right whales migrate up and down the waters off the east coast of North America, from their calving grounds off Florida to their feeding grounds off eastern Canada.

74. Bryant, "Whaling and Fishing."

75. The early modern whaling industry made New Bedford, Massachusetts, the predominant whaling port in the United States and one of the richest cities in the country in the mid-nineteenth century. It inspired one of America's greatest novels, Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Whaling also influenced global politics. The domination of the American whaling fleets in the Arctic in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the importance of Hawai'i as a supply center for these fleets, for example, created a strategic interest in these areas, which led to the purchase of Alaska in 1867 and the military "annexation" of Hawai'i in 1898.

76. Today the species is up to pre-exploitation levels (about 22,000) and has been removed from the endangered species list. However, plans to develop a salt-mining operation in Baja Mexico during the late 1990s again endangered the gray whale's breeding grounds besides those of a range of other sea life.

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