Love Your Monsters Ebook

Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene

by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus


But if greens rejected technology and modernization in the 1960s, there is no reason they can’t embrace them today. One of the founders of science and technology studies, Bruno Latour, points the way. Through a novel reading ofFrankenstein, Latour argues that we must learn to love our technologies as we do our children — not reject them at the first sign of trouble. And given the critical role played by tool use in human evolution, the two of us conclude, we must understand technology as natural and sacred, not alien and profane. A new, postenvironmental liberalism should thus, Sarewitz argues, understand technology as a public good — a way to achieve broadly agreed upon societal goals, whether for improved health or cleaner air.

The apocalyptic vision of ecotheology warns that degrading nonhuman natures will undermine the basis for human civilization, but history has shown the opposite: the degradation of nonhuman environments has made us rich. We have become rather adept at transferring the wealth and diversity of nonhuman environments into human ones. The solution to the unintended consequences of modernity is, and has always been, more modernity — just as the solution to the unintended consequences of our technologies has always been more technology. The Y2K computer bug was fixed by better computer programming, not by going back to typewriters. The ozone-hole crisis was averted, not by an end to air-conditioning, but rather by more advanced, less environmentally harmful technologies .

Environmentalism, in its failure to evolve, has become an obstacle to addressing these challenges. A political movement founded on shrinking the human footprint is doomed to fail in a world of seven going on ten billion souls seeking to live energy-rich modern lives.


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