The article aims to add a ludic perspective to those generally used for studying environmental issues in social sciences. To introduce in the debate a play/game metaphor enriches the interpretations of environmental crisis and provides a further motivation to action. The ludic perspective has a sociorelational background. That tradition of studies helps in constructing a set of categories that are then applied to environmental education (EE). The choice of such a topic is motivated by two factors: EE is an aspect generally practiced but mistreated in the main theorizations, and EE is exemplary of the potentialities of the playing games metaphor, which are the desire to create, the acceptance of slow changes, the protection of an experimental bubble, and irony toward environmental issues.
Maria Claudia Mejía Gil and Claudia Puerta Silva
*Full article is in Spanish
English abstract: Increased consumption of goods and services has contributed to environmental crises. Responsible consumption movements and the factors that contribute to the formation of pro-environmental behaviors have emerged in the Global North. Few studies have advanced in identifying the factors that affect the appropriation of pro-environmental practices in the Global South, specifically in cities of countries with emerging economies and fast urbanization. Through semi-structured interviews and non-participant observation conducted with 34 families from different socioeconomic categories in Medellin, Colombia, we addressed the following questions: Do environmental concerns influence consumption and waste practices? What factors affect the appropriation of environmental practices? Although different factors limit responsible consumption, the results of this study show that pro-environmental practices related to consumption and waste contribute to the formation of pro-environment citizenships.
Spanish abstract: El aumento en el consumo de bienes y servicios ha contribuido a la crisis ambiental. Pocos estudios han avanzado en identificar factores que inciden en la apropiación de prácticas proambientales en el Sur Global, específicamente en ciudades de países con economías emergentes. Mediante observación no participante y entrevistas semiestructuradas a 34 familias de diferentes niveles socioeconómicos de Medellín, Colombia, abordamos las siguientes preguntas: ¿la preocupación ambiental influye en las prácticas de consumo y desecho? y ¿cuáles factores inciden en la apropiación de prácticas proambientales? A partir de los resultados identificamos que, aunque hay más factores que limitan el consumo responsable, se puede argumentar que en las prácticas proambientales de consumo y desecho se observa la formación de ciudadanías proambientales.
French abstract: L’augmentation de la consommation de biens et services a contribué à la crise environnementale. Pour le Nord Global, les mouvements de consommation responsable et les facteurs intervenant dans la formation de comportements pro-environnementaux ont été exposés dans la littérature. En revanche, peu d’études ont avancé dans l’identification des facteurs qui affectent l’appropriation des pratiques proenvironnementales dans les pays du Sud Global, en particulier dans des villes de pays à économie émergente et à urbanisation rapide. Grâce à des observations non participantes et à des entretiens semi-structurés avec 34 familles de différents niveaux socio-économiques de Medellin, en Colombie, nous abordons les questions suivantes : Les préoccupations environnementales influencent-elles les pratiques de consommation et de gestion des déchets ? et quels facteurs influent sur l’appropriation des pratiques environnementales chez les familles interviewés ? Sur la base des résultats, nous identifions que bien qu’il y ait plus de facteurs qui limitent la consommation responsable, on peut affirmer que dans les pratiques de consommation et de déchets favorables à l’environnement, on observe la formation de citoyennetés pro-environnementales.
Climate Change and the Cinematic Ethics of Immersive Filmworlds
Ludo de Roo
In an age of ecological disasters and increasing environmental crisis, the experience of any cinematic fiction has an intrinsic ethical potential to reorient the spectator’s awareness of the ecological environment. The main argument is that the spectator’s sensory-affective and emphatically involving experience of cinema is essentially rooted in what I call “elemental imagination.” This is to say, first, that the spectator becomes phenomenologically immersed with the projected filmworld by a cinematic expression of the elemental world, and second, much like there is no filmworld without landscapes, the foundational aspect of elements are revealed as preceding and sustaining the narrative and symbolic layers of film experience. While suggesting the existential-ethical potential of this fundamental process of film experience, the second aim of this article is to show that this form of elemental imagination complements more mainstream “environmentalist” films, such as climate change documentaries and blockbuster apocalyptic genre films.
Hamish Fulton’s Cairngorm Walk-Texts
The purpose of this article is to consider walking artist Hamish Fulton’s ‘walk-texts’ as ethical responses to the environment. In light of the environmental crisis that manifests in the proposed stratigraphic designation ‘Anthropocene’, Jane Bennett’s writing on enchantment offers a direction for thinking about how an ecologically ethical sensibility might be cultivated. Fulton’s communicative response to his walking art, I argue, embodies the discernment of ‘things in their sensuous singularity’ that Bennett identifies as a key attribute of enchantment. Yet, in his own writing on his art practice, the walk-texts are conceived as secondary – a necessary counterpart to walking as an experiential activity. By honing in on two recurring strategies we find in Fulton’s Cairngorm walk-texts – the list and the return – I argue that his work offers a linguistic mode that holds great potential for tuning us to environmental ethics in the Anthropocene.
Raven Narratives and the Anthropocene
Thomas F. Thornton and Patricia M. Thornton
The Anthropocene is rooted in the proposition that human activity has disrupted earth systems to the extent that it has caused us to enter a new geological age. We identify three popular discourses of what the Anthropocene means for humanity's future: the Moral Jeremiad admonishes the transgression of planetary boundaries and advocates reductions to live sustainably within Earth's limits; the Technofix Earth Engineer approach depicts the Age of Humanity as an engineering opportunity to be met with innovative technological solutions to offset negative impacts; and the New Genesis discourse advocates re-enchantment of humanity's connections to earth. By contrast, we find that in many indigenous and premodern narratives and myths disseminated across the North Pacific and East Asia, it is the trickster-demiurge Raven that is most closely linked to environmental change and adaptation. Whereas Raven tales among northern Pacific indigenous communities emphasize a moral ecology of interdependence, creative adaptation, and resilience through practical knowledge (mētis), robustly centralizing Zhou Dynasty elites transposed early Chinese Raven trickster myths with tales lauding the human subjugation of nature. Raven and his fate across the northern Pacific reminds us that narratives of environmental crisis, as opposed to narratives of environmental change, legitimate attempts to invest power and authority in the hands of elites, and justify their commandeering of technological xes in the name of salvation.
Religion has long stood at the center of debates on the environmental crisis of late modernity. Some have portrayed it as a malade imaginaire, providing divine legitimation for human domination and predatory exploitation of natural resources; others have looked up to it as an inspirational force that is the essential condition of planetary revival. There is an ongoing battle of the books on the salience of religion in the modern world. Some trendy volumes declare that God Is Back (Micklethwait and Wooldridge 2009). Others advert to The End of Faith (Harris 2004, harp the theme of The God Delusion (Dawkins 2006), or claim that God Is Not Great (Hitchens 2007). Both sides provide ample evidence to support their adversarial claims. In much of Canada and Western Europe, where religious establishments have courted or colluded with the state, religion has come to be viewed as the enemy of liberty and modernity. Not so in the United States, where the Jeffersonian separation of religion from politics forced religious leaders to compete for the souls of the faithful—and thus to make Christianity more reconcilable with the agenda of modernity,
individualism and capitalist enterprise.
Ben-Willie Kwaku Golo and Joseph Awetori Yaro
The hydra-headed nature of climate change—affecting not just climate but all other domains of human life—requires not just technological fixes but cultural innovation. It is impossible to ignore a devoutly religious majority in Ghana, a nation where diverse religious communities' perspectives on climate change and their views on the way forward are crucial. This article aims to empirically explore how Christian, Islamic, and indigenous African religious leaders view the challenges of climate change and what countermeasures they propose. Interestingly, most our informants have indicated that the reasons for the current environmental crisis are, in equal degree, Ghana's past colonial experience and deviation from religious beliefs and practice, while the main obstacle to sustainable development is poverty. There was unanimity on the reclamation of religious values and principles that promote the idea of stewardship as a way forward toward a sustainable future. This, however, functions more as a faith claim and a religiously inspired normative postulate than a program of concrete action.
Richard York, Christina Ergas, Eugene A. Rosa and Thomas Dietz
We examine trends since 1980 in material extraction in China, India, Indonesia, and Japan—which together contain over 40% of the world's population—to assess the environmental consequences of modernization. Economic and population growth has driven rapid expansion of material extraction in China, India, and Indonesia since 1980. China and India exhibit patterns consistent with the Jevons paradox, where the economic intensity of extraction (extraction/GDP) has steadily declined while total extraction grew. In Indonesia, extraction intensity grew along with total extraction. In Japan, total extraction remained roughly constant, increasing somewhat in the 1980s and then slowly declining after 1990, while extraction intensity declined throughout the entire period. These different patterns can be understood to some degree by drawing on political-economic and world-systems perspectives. Japan is an affluent, core nation that can afford to import materials from other nations, thereby avoiding escalation of material extraction within its borders. China and India are rapidly industrializing nations that, although increasingly drawing on resources from beyond their borders, still rely on their own natural resources for growth. Indonesia, an extraction economy with less global power than the other nations examined here, exports its own natural resources, often unprocessed, to spur economic growth. The trends highlighted here suggest that in order to avert environmental crisis, alternative forms of development, which do not involve traditional economic growth, may need to be adopted by nations around the world.
Catherine Mei Ling Wong
In East Asia, climate change as a policy concern has been a late developer. The last decade, however, has seen the mainstreaming of environmental issues in core policy circles, but in the form of market-friendly, pro-industrial development framings. This paper problematizes such environmental framings by looking at the politics of state-led ecological modernization and the institutional reforms that have emerged out of it. It argues that State-led ecological modernization necessarily leads to environmental framings that are too narrowly defined by state and industrial interests - hence the focus on carbon emissions, energy security and the impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The State-driven assumption that society can modernize itself out of its environmental crisis through greater advancements in technological development also ignores the fact that this process often leads to the creation of other environmental and social problems, which in turn undermines the fundamental goals of stability and sustainability. Civil society needs to be given greater space in the policy and framing processes in order to have a more balanced policy approach to environmental reform in a more equitable way.