Matching Items (3)

150796-Thumbnail Image.png

This is our land [untitled]: community-based environmental activism in the late twentieth century

Description

This dissertation examines the development of grassroots environmental organizations between 1970 and 2000 and the role they played in the larger American environmental movement and civil society during that period. Much has been written about growth in environmental values in

This dissertation examines the development of grassroots environmental organizations between 1970 and 2000 and the role they played in the larger American environmental movement and civil society during that period. Much has been written about growth in environmental values in the United States during the twentieth century and about the role of national environmental organizations in helping to pass landmark federal-level environmental laws during the 1960s and 1970s. This study illuminates a different story of how citizen activists worked to protect and improve the air, water, healthfulness and quality of life of where they lived. At the local level, activists looked much different than they did in Washington, D.C.--they tended to be volunteers without any formal training in environmental science or policy. They were also more likely to be women than at the national level. They tended to frame environmental issues and solutions in familiar ways that made sense to them. Rather than focusing on the science or economics of an environmental issue, they framed it in terms of fairness and justice and giving citizens a say in the decisions that affected their health and quality of life. And, as the regulatory, political, and social landscape changed around them, they adapted their strategies in their efforts to continue to affect environmental decision making. Over time, they often connected their local interests and issues with more sophisticated, globalized understandings of the economic and political systems that under laid environmental issues. This study examines three case studies in the rural Great Plains, urban Southwest, and small-town Appalachia between 1970 and 2000 in an attempt to understand community-based environmental activism in the late twentieth century, how it related to the national environmental movement, the strategies local-level groups employed and when and why, the role of liberal democratic arguments in their work and in group identity formation, the limits of those arguments, and how the groups, their strategies, and the activists themselves changed overtime. These three groups were the Northern Plains Resource Council in Montana, Southwest Environmental Service in Southern Arizona, and Save Our Cumberland Mountains in Eastern Tennessee.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2012

149653-Thumbnail Image.png

Make straight in the desert a highway: ideology and environmental conflict on the Colorado Plateau

Description

In the rural, modern American West, two Manichean perspectives of the human-nature relationship have contributed to vehement environmental conflicts. Adopting developer Calvin Black and writer Edward Abbey as archetypes, I explore the endurance of these two ideologies in the redrock

In the rural, modern American West, two Manichean perspectives of the human-nature relationship have contributed to vehement environmental conflicts. Adopting developer Calvin Black and writer Edward Abbey as archetypes, I explore the endurance of these two ideologies in the redrock canyon country of southern Utah and northern Arizona. Black represents the historically dominant anthropocentric view among Euro Americans that nature ought to be domesticated and commoditized; the competing view, represented by Abbey, is eco-centric and considers the intrinsic value of the broader ecological community beyond its utilitarian function. I argue that environmental conflict in the canyon country has been driven by ideologues who espouse one of these two deeply entrenched and seemingly irreconcilable perspectives. Modern-day conflicts over wilderness, land use, and rural development are endemic, rooted in heritage and culture and driven by particular Anglo-American religious and secular beliefs that reflect differing ways of “seeing” the land. In particular these contending perspectives are reflected in the “built” landscape. Using one especially ubiquitous human imprint on the land as both trope and subject, I explore the political and cultural meanings of roads as symbols variously of progress and of exploitation. Questions of road development and public lands access became the center point of environmental conflict driven by dichotomous worldviews that demonized the opposition and its position. What developed in the last half century is a discourse dictated by categories created by ideologues. This dissertation not only explores the particular circumstances that made these environmental contests volatile in an American desert, but it also meditates broadly on the nature of environmental compromise and conflict, the place of people in "wild" landscapes, and the discontents of rural communities upended by new economic realities. This study illustrates generally how people perceive the land, the technology they wield to manipulate it, and the broader cultural and political transformations that result.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

153711-Thumbnail Image.png

Naturalizing sustainability discourse: paradigm, practices and pedagogy of Thoreau, Leopold, Carson and Wilson

Description

ABSTRACT

Understanding complex and adaptive socio-ecological systems (SES) to deal with our most challenging and overlapping problems such as global climate change, biodiversity loss, and rising consumption rates requires sustainability theory that is commensurate with these problems’ size and complexity. The

ABSTRACT

Understanding complex and adaptive socio-ecological systems (SES) to deal with our most challenging and overlapping problems such as global climate change, biodiversity loss, and rising consumption rates requires sustainability theory that is commensurate with these problems’ size and complexity. The received United Nations-based sustainability framework aims to achieve a balance among three pillars—economics, environment, and social equity—for today and for future generations. Yet, despite applying this sustainability framework for over a quarter of a century, the Earth is less sustainable, not more. Theoretical trade-offs between environmental conservation and economic growth have often reinforced business-as-usual practices and educational paradigms, and emphasized economic values over ecological limits.

How can the principles of foundational naturalists help clarify, enhance, and advance sustainability discourse? I propose that the principles of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), Rachel Carson (1907-1964), and Edward O. Wilson (1927-), express a worldview that captures and integrates a range and depth of historical, normative, economic, ecological, scientific, and social values for a viable and applicable discourse of sustainability.

This analytical study relies on (i.) textual analysis and interpretation of four key naturalists and humanists, (ii.) analysis of secondary sources that illuminate their proto- ecological and sustainability principles, and (iii.) interviews with leading sustainability scholars. Because these thinkers integrate science and ethics, natural history and philosophy, ecology and society, and environmental and economic problems within a holistic worldview, I call them systems naturalists. Their transdisciplinary worldview of one holistic system, with economics subordinated to environmental limits, links important values from the natural sciences and the humanities. The writings and examples of systems naturalists provide more robust historical sustainability principles that can help solve our most challenging SES problems by synthesizing a broad range of knowledge in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities to inform sustainability paradigm, practices, and pedagogy.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2015