The 'Environment' Is Us

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Taking up the green thread from ebr4, Harold Fromm reviews three new books of eco-criticism >— ebr4 critical ecologies

Books dealing with ecology and environment are now a vast industry, an avalanche of information and opinion that exceeds anybody’s ken. The “environment” itself keeps growing, enlarging, encompassing, so that the environment of 1998 is a very different thing from what it was on the first Earth Day in 1970. The sheer number of disciplines that has evolved since Aldo Leopold’s landmark Sand County Alamanc of 1949 is startling - environmental medicine, environmental history, environmental engineering, environmental ethics, social ecology, green travel, green farming, conservation biology, ecofeminism, ecocriticism, animal rights, to name a few - exceeding in subtlety and complexity such early concerns as emissions, toxic waste, acid rain, cancer clusters, etc. On the World Wide Web alone the information is daunting, hopeless, beyond belief.

Pull Quotes: 

After the Industrial Revolution, human beings came to be seen as more or less autonomous creatures who had been placed in an “environment” that they could use as they wished or even, in some perverse sense, do without.

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