Article: Scientists love to hate greens, because what greens say matters

…many scientists suggest that human progress, understood in such a way, cannot reach ever greater heights. Indeed, the impacts of environmental shocks, food shortages, or technological developments may cause civilisation to break down. Martin Rees’s Our Final Century, Jared Diamond’s Collapse and Stephen Emmott’s 10 Billion, by a physicist, biologist and computer scientist respectively, each explore these concerns. The clear implication is that without radical changes to human society we may be undone by our own actions.

The difficulty for scientists having identified such potentially serious problems is what to do. There are no easy answers. Many consider it dangerous even for scientists to mention big political ideas of social and economic change. Won’t it upset our paymasters? Won’t it undermine the credibility of science? And this is where environmentalists’ political visions, and scientists’ complex relationships with politics, I think, come in.

The mild green view is that human society must profoundly change to live within environmental limits. The strong view is that capitalism is ultimately unsustainable. We have all heard the message: we cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. Nature doesn’t do bailouts. We should work less, consume less and live more. Environmentalists’ ideas are the most visible political expression taking seriously issues such as biodiversity loss, climate change and unsustainable resource exploitation that scientific analyses have identified as problems. Unsurprisingly, a good number of scientists are supportive of environmentalist causes.

via Scientists love to hate greens, because what greens say matters

Posted by KWB wandering among the borderlands of the Ether.


  1. This is such an important topic, but hard to discuss without falling deep into the political well which frames everything in terms of the current system, which is corrupt, no matter the political party or players we look to for definition of the problem or its solutions.
    For my part, I have tried on all hats at some point in my life and continue to conclude that I don’t want to wear any hat because they all eventually lead to worshipping of the hat with others who wear the same hat.
    I do enjoy the writing and ideas of Charles Hugh Smith, who, if we must classify allegiances, is an envirinmental conservationist,with libertarian leanings when it comes to big centralized government. He truly has simplified his own life and I think defines the problems of our times without aligning himself politically. I wrote a bit about him on my blog: His blog is here:

    1. I find myself–as an “anarchocynic”–always doing a dance between and among all the positions. Of course, what is most needed are the virtues of moderation in conjunction with justice and prudence. Good luck finding that combination within any position. Thanks for these links. I’m going to reblog your piece and explore Smith’s website. I see he is “new media”, meaning he does real journalism and depends on average people to support him in doing it. Kudos to him for that. About the only way to find a voice that has significant amount of freedom to be objective.

      1. Thanks Keith. I agree and like how you define the need for virtues. Well said!
        Anarchocynic, I will have to give that some thought…

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