Among many, the argument against sustainability elicits an emotional response. As the ecological theorist Timothy Morton writes in his book “Ecology Without Nature,” the environmental movement has become, and perhaps always was, infused with a sense of mourning and melancholia (not to mention nostalgia). This melancholia, I would argue, is connected to the death of God, or the ability to conceive God in a certain way, and stems from that Romantic transference of the divine into nature. In either case, as with any death, first comes denial — we can save nature! — but it eventually gives way to acceptance. Talk about “sustaining” nature, or “preserving” it, only exacerbates this mourning and indulges our melancholia. Like the bereaved who must learn to speak of the dead in the past tense, if we are to move forward in our habitation of the planet, to face the future and not the past, to say “yes” to the anthropocene, we should change our language.
Monday, August 8, 2016
Ecology without Nature in The New York Times
Excellent. It's an a really well reasoned piece about sustainability. As I often say, imitating Goebbels on culture, when I hear the word sustainability, I reach for my sunscreen.