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Lights, Camera, Natural Resources
Film is often used to represent the natural landscape and, increasingly, to communicate environmentalist messages. Yet behind even today’s “green” movies are ecologically unsustainable production, distribution, and consumption processes. Noting how seemingly immaterial moving images are supported by highly durable resource-dependent infrastructures, The Cinematic Footprint traces the history of how the “hydrocarbon imagination” has been central to the development of film as a medium.
Nadia Bozak’s innovative fusion of film studies and environmental studies makes provocative connections between the disappearance of material resources and the emergence of digital media—with examples ranging from early cinema to Dziga Vertov’s prescient eye, from Chris Marker’s analog experiments to the digital work of Agnès Varda, James Benning, and Zacharias Kunuk. Combining an analysis of cinema technology with a sensitive consideration of film aesthetics, The Cinematic Footprint offers a new perspective on moving images and the natural resources that sustain them.
Using a case study of environmental debates about air pollution in Pittsburgh during the late 1960s and early 1970s, James Longhurst examines larger trends in citizen activism outside party politics, linking those trends with the rights revolution of the late twentieth century. He draws upon journalistic accounts, archival documents, legal records, and interviews to explore the actions and arguments of GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution). This group of environmental activists gained access to political power through claims to citizenship and scientific expertise, supported by the organizational skills, social capital, and maternal rhetoric of middle-class women. Once they gained entry to a newly confrontational policy process, the group engaged in furious public debates over implementation, enforcement, and employment, all amid the decline of Pittsburgh's industrial economy. The grassroots actions of GASP, and many other groups like it across the nation, show that new developments in policy-making, concepts of citizenship, and the long-standing tradition of middle-class women's civic activism did more to drive the creation of the modern environmental movement than did changes in environmental philosophy.
Garden and Forest Magazine and the Rise of American Environmentalism
The weekly magazine Garden and Forest existed for only nine years (1888–1897). Yet, in that brief span, it brought to light many of the issues that would influence the future of American environmentalism. In The City Natural, Shen Hou presents the first “biography” of this important but largely overlooked vehicle for individuals with the common goal of preserving nature in American civilization. As Hou’s study reveals, Garden and Forest was instrumental in redefining the fields of botany and horticulture, while also helping to shape the fledgling professions of landscape architecture and forestry. The publication actively called for reform in government policy, urban design, and future planning for the preservation and inclusion of nature in cities. It also attempted to shape public opinion on these issues through a democratic ideal that every citizen had the right (and need) to access nature. These notions would anticipate the conservation and “city beautiful” movements that followed in the early twentieth century. Hou explains the social and environmental conditions that led to the rise of reform efforts, organizations, and publications such as Garden and Forest. She reveals the intellectual core and vision of the magazine as a proponent of the city natural movement that sought to relate nature and civilization through the arts and sciences. Garden and Forest was a staunch advocate of urban living made better through careful planning and design. As Hou shows, the publication also promoted forest management and preservation, not only as a natural resource but as an economic one. She also profiles the editors and contributors who set the magazine’s tone and follows their efforts to expand America’s environmental expertise. Through the pages of Garden and Forest, the early period of environmentalism was especially fruitful and optimistic; many individuals joined forces for the benefit of humankind and helped lay the foundation for a coherent national movement. Shen Hou’s study gives Garden and Forest its due and adds an important new chapter to the early history of American environmentalism.
Adaptation and Transformation from the Ground Up
A thought-provoking investigation of an urgent issue facing American communities today, Edward C. Lorenz’s book examines the intersection of corporate irresponsibility and civic engagement. At the heart of this case study is a group of firms responsible for seven of the most contaminated Superfund sites in the United States, the largest food contamination accident in U.S. history, stunning stock and financial manipulations, and a massive shift of jobs off shore. In the face of these egregious environmental, employee, and investor abuses, several communities impacted by these firms organized to confront and combat failures in corporate and bureaucratic leadership, winning notable victories over major financiers, lobbyists, and indifferent or ineffective government agencies. A critical analysis of public and private leadership, business and economic ethics, and civic life, this book concludes with a stirring blueprint for other communities facing similarly overwhelming opposition.
Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals
The Nineteenth-Century Ecological & Cultural Transformations of Cape Cod
In just over a century Cape Cod was transformed from barren agricultural wasteland to bountiful fishery to pastoral postcard wilderness suitable for the tourist trade. This complex social, ecological, and scientific transformation fundamentally altered how Cape Codders used and managed their local marine resources, and determined how they eventually lost them. The Cape Cod story takes the usual land-use progression--from pristine wilderness to exploitation of resources to barren wasteland--and turns it on its head. Clearing the Coastline shows how fishermen abandoned colonial traditions of small-scale fisheries management, and how ecological, cultural, and scientific changes, as well as commercial pressures, eroded established, local conservation regimes. Without these protections, small fish and small fishermen alike were cleared from Cape Cod's coastal margins to make room for new people, whose reinvention of the Cape as a pastoral "wilderness" allowed them to overlook the social and ecological dislocation that came before.
What It Means for Us, Our Children, and Our Grandchildren
Mankind and the World's Changing Weather
In recent years, world climate changes have drawn more attention than at any other time in history. What we once called "crazy weather," just a few years ago, is now beginning to be seen as a part of a logical and, in part, predictable pattern, an awesome natural force that we must deal with if man is to avoid disaster of unprecedented proportions.
Climates of Hunger is a book of paramount importance for our time. It will be essential reading not only for professionals in the field—including agricultural meteorologists, political scientists, geographers, sociologists, and business counselors—but for all who are concerned in any way with environmental trends, world and domestic food supplies, and their effects on human institutions.
The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Climate Change
Global climate change poses not only environmental hazards but profound risks to planetary peace and stability as well. Climatic Cataclysm gathers experts on climate science, oceanography, history, political science, foreign policy, and national security to take the measure of these risks. The contributors have developed three scenarios of what the future may hold. The expected scenario relies on current scientific models to project the effects of climate change over the next 30 years. The severe scenario, which posits a much stronger climate response to current levels of carbon loading, foresees profound and potentially destabilizing global effects over the next generation or more. Finally, the catastrophic scenario is characterized by a devastating "tipping point" in the climate system, perhaps 50 or 100 years hence. In this future world, the land-based polar ice sheets have disappeared, global sea levels have risen dramatically, and the existing natural order has been destroyed beyond repair. The contributors analyze the security implications of these scenarios, which at a minimum include increased disease proliferation; tensions caused by large-scale migration; and conflict sparked by resource scarcity, particularly in Africa. They consider what we can learn from the experience of early civilizations confronted with natural disaster, and they ask what the three largest emitters of greenhouse gases the United States, the European Union, and China can do to reduce and manage future risks. In the coming decade, the United States faces an ominous set of foreign policy and national security challenges. Global climate change will not only complicate these tasks, but as this sobering study reveals, it may also create new challenges that dwarf those of today. Contributors include Leon Fuerth (George Washington University), Jay Gulledge (Pew Center on Global Climate Change), Alexander T. J. Lennon (Center for Strategic and International Studies), J.R. McNeill (Georgetown University), Derek Mix (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Peter Ogden (Center for American Progress), John Podesta (Center for American Progress), Julianne Smith (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Richard Weitz (Hudson Institute), and R. James Woolsey (Booz Allen Hamilton).