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David Harvey on the Environment

9 Jul

“the postulation of a planetary ecological crisis, the very idea that the planet is somehow ‘vulnerable’ to human actions or that we can actually destroy the earth, repeats in negative form the hubristic claims of those who aspire to planetary domination. The subtext is that the earth is somehow fragile and that we need to become caring managers or caring physicians to nurse it back from sickness into health….Against this, it is crucial to understand that it is materially impossible for us to destroy the planet Earth, that the worst we ca do is to engage in material transformations of our environment so as to make life less rather than more comfortable for our own species, while recognizing that what we do also does have ramifications (both positive and negative) for other living species. It is vital, furthermore, to disaggregate ‘the environmental issue’ into a tangible set of problems that exist at quite different scales, varying from the global issues of ozone, climate warming, and biodiversity to regional problems of soil depletion, desertification, and deforestation to the more localized questions of water quality, breathable air, and radon in the basement.”

–David Harvey, “What’s Green and Makes the Environment Go Round?”, in The Cultures of Globalization, eds. Frederic Jameson and Masao Miyoshi, Durham & London: Duke Univ. Press 328-29; 327-355.