Capitalism’s grow-or-die imperative stands radically at odds with ecology’s imperative of interdependence and limit. The two imperatives can no longer coexist with each other; nor can any society founded on the myth that they can be reconciled hope to survive. Either we will establish an ecological society or society will go under for everyone, irrespective of his or her status.

  • MambabasaOPM
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    62 months ago

    This is Murray Bookchin’s posthumous work that clearly defines his post-anarchist and post-Marxist period where he develops social ecology and libertarian municipalism. It holds up I think, but I agree with Ian McKay who said Bookchin’s critiques of anarchism falls so flat that Bookchin’s earlier writings during his anarchist period could be used to rebut his later post-anarchist period.

  • @chonglibloodsport@lemmy.world
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    22 months ago

    This whole argument rests on a fallacious idea of steady-state ecology. Read about ecological succession, biofilms, the great oxygenation event, eucalyptus (and other fire-adapted) trees, surplus killing in predator species, and the incredible abundance of parasites in the wild. Nature is far more ruthless than we are. It’s been around far longer and will continue long after we’re gone.

    • @JacobCoffinWrites
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      42 months ago

      I never really get this argument - like, yeah life that isn’t humans will 100% persist in some form, but I’m kind of attached to the species and configuration of ecosystems we currently have.

      • @chonglibloodsport@lemmy.world
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        12 months ago

        It’s fine to have a preference! It’s just fallacious to appeal to nature in support of that preference. Nature doesn’t care about our preferences.

        If we want people to cooperate with us then we should appeal to their interests.

        • @JacobCoffinWrites
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          32 months ago

          Maybe I’m misunderstanding - we could wipe out species until there’s nothing left but that bacteria that eats radiation and still reassure ourselves that ‘nature’ still exists. But I don’t think it’s what these folks are talking about when they talk about ecology. Is it fallacious to argue for a society that coexists with the biosphere that supports it?

          • @chonglibloodsport@lemmy.world
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            12 months ago

            What I’m saying is: if we do things, we do them for our own reasons. We shape nature to our own advantage. We don’t speak for nature and we don’t have any say in what’s best for nature, only what’s best for us.

            Lots of people try to shelter their arguments from criticism by appeals to nature and that’s fallacious. Cooperation evolved by natural selection but it isn’t any more natural than competition. Arguably, competition is the more fundamental force in nature.

            • @JacobCoffinWrites
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              22 months ago

              So arguing that species of animals or plants have an intrinsic value and are worth preserving for their own sake is wrong? Or does it have to be couched in their value to humans, maintaining the biosphere that feeds us, air filtration, medicine, or aesthetic value or things like that? Does that apply to other people too? Intrinsic worth vs utility?

              I don’t think I can agree that we can’t have any say about what is good for nature. A lot of people devote their whole lives to identifying systems and patterns in the species around us. They can track numbers, identify habitats, tell when something is thriving, declining, and, with some confidence, gone. Often they can identify why. All the fields of scientific study aside, it’s pretty easy at least to identify things we do that are bad for other species. If I buy hundreds of gallons of herbicide and douse some land with it, I don’t think the outcome to nature is going to be unknowable, and I think it’d be hard to argue it’ll be beneficial. Seems like the inverse must be true - we can identify crucial habitats and protect them, identify the characteristics of good habitats and cultivate them on damaged lands to bring them back. This is testable stuff that’s already being done in real life. People devote their lives to conserving habitats.

              Sorry if I’m getting side tracked because this is something I’m somewhat involved in. Maybe this is a specific point about a nuance of philosophical discussions I don’t know enough about, and not an argument that humans can do whatever they want to their surroundings because the consequences are somehow unknowable or unimportant.

              • @chonglibloodsport@lemmy.world
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                2 months ago

                My argument is about the way things are, not about the way they ought to be. People as a whole tend to say one thing but do another. I’m arguing for some brutal honesty in the way we look at things. Unfortunately, idealism far too often gets in the way of that. I place a lot of the blame at the feet of Disney and other entertainment giants who make their living anthropomorphizing animals and preying on people’s instincts (to protect children) to make money.

                So with all that said, I challenge the people who claim to be acting for the benefit of nature. They’re imposing their own vision of what they believe is natural. Far too often they’re proven wrong.

                I think the only way forward is to acknowledge our own existence as part of nature. Like the beavers and the ants and the termites, we remake environments in a manner that’s pleasing to us.

                You want to work hard to save endangered species? That’s fine! Just admit that you’re doing it for your own satisfaction. It’s your interest and it makes you happy. We humans pick favourites. That’s the bottom line.

                • @JacobCoffinWrites
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                  12 months ago

                  So I sometimes see the argument that humans are part of nature so anything we do is inherently natural when someone’s arguing that you should be able to do whatever you want and it’s all equivalent as long as it makes you happy. Like clearcutting forests and building walmarts or storing leaking barrels of chemical waste on your land is a human instinct and we’re helpless to do otherwise.

                  I’m not saying that’s what you believe, but I think this might be a chance for me to understand this worldview better, and maybe get better at talking to those folks.

                  To me, the fact that humans are part of nature doesn’t seem like a gotcha or an out. I think it’s a kind of pointless distinction. We’re part of nature, yes, but that doesn’t mean that producing Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances is natural, and even if you can slap the label ‘natural’ on it, that still doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

                  We have a capability for reason and an ability to predict outcomes based on past evidence, which reaches way further out than those of other species. Environmentalists have gotten it wrong plenty of times before, but arguing that their efforts are equivalent to drilling for oil in a coral reef because they’re both human behaviors seems disingenuous to me.

                  Most of the time, what ecologists want is for society to stop changing the habitats that are already there. You say “they’re imposing their own vision of what they believe is natural” but I find it really hard to believe you think there’s no way to know if keeping a native forest is more ‘natural’ than building a shopping mall.

                  On top of that, most of what we’re doing as a species is incredibly new and we’re changing so much at once, everywhere. We’re completely erasing some habitats, rerouting rivers, introducing entirely new materials/chemicals, changing the weather - when beavers change their habitats, it’s still a fairly small local change, and the rest of the biosphere has had thousands of years to adapt and even use it, there are lots of other species ready to move into that changed environment. Maybe someday all the remaining species will be adapted to living in the margins around humanity. But we’re going to lose a ton of species (and likely a lot of humans to starvation) on the way there.

                  So I guess I have two questions: Do you believe other species (anything, plant, animals, insect etc) have any intrinsic value? Do other humans have intrinsic value?

                  If humans have intrinsic value and nonhumans don’t, what’s the difference?

    • MambabasaOPM
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      12 months ago

      Interesting. Maybe you should tell that to the Institute for Social Ecology.