Friday, November 07, 2008

Alone, no more

I remember that bright June morning in 2005, it was the 7th Nordic Environmental Social Science Research Conference and it was time for my first real conference appearance. I remember that brief moment of silence as I stood in front of all the leading green scholars knowing that I would jump over the cliff and challenge the very foundations of their thinking. Though dead nervous at the time, it went quite well in the end and, afterwards, I have learned that I indeed had a few ideological friends hiding there in the audience.

Yet, that staggering feeling of going at it alone has followed me around the world over the last years, everywhere from Hong Kong to Manchester. It has always been a two-front battle, on one hand the dark green brand of environmentalists who relinquish technology and despise the notion of progress, on the other hand, market fundamentalists who deny the seriousness of our current predicament and consider economic growth to be the universal solution to everything.

But the times are truly changing. Not only am I currently reading the “bright green” bible of sustainable solutions edited by Alex Steffen, Newsweek comes with a green lifebuoy on the cover and support for a bright-green solution to the present economic crisis. Truth to be told, I am actually a bit disappointed that I did not come up with the notion of “bright-green” myself, it is such a simple way of pointing out how it differs from both light-green (as in greenwashed consumerism) and dark-green (as in civilization dismantling) thinking. Since this weblog is already overflowing with praise for dense urban settlements, energy innovation and cosmopolitanism I will spare my readers any further elaboration of what bright-green could mean. But let me conclude by saying that my sense of intellectual loneliness is rapidly disappearing.



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