What is 'new environmentalism'?

Sunday 20 October, 3.30pm until 4.45pm, Frobisher Auditorium 2 Battle over Scientific Information

Like most ideologies or political movements, environmentalism has always contained different strands and shades of opinion. But in recent years, there has been increasing debate within the movement about what its core values are, which issues it should pursue and how. Since Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, the founders of the US-based Breakthrough Institute, wrote their influential 2004 essay, ‘The Death of Environmentalism’, many attempts have been made to redefine the environmental perspective. Most significantly, a growing number of environmentalists now make arguments in favour of nuclear power, GM technology and even fracking, and have questioned the policies designed to protect the climate and natural environment. Accordingly, some environmental organisations are now criticised by people who could be found supporting them just a few years ago. This fresh dimension to the green perspective and reflection on environmentalism’s failures has been dubbed ‘new environmentalism’.

But what has driven this change? Have new environmentalists responded to criticism from without the environmental movement, or to scientific developments and political failures? What possibilities exist for new environmentalism to make a difference and what institutions does it need? More profoundly, what might that change look like - what do new environmentalists think constitutes the Good Life, and how does this compare to the way of life imagined by environmentalists previously?

Dr Caspar Hewett
Lecturer in civil engineering at Newcastle University, and director of The Great Debate

Mark Lynas
environmental campaigner; author, The God Species, Six Degrees

Ben Pile
independent researcher, writer, and film-maker

Dr Joe Smith
senior lecturer in geography, The Open University

Timandra Harkness
journalist, writer & broadcaster; presenter, Futureproofing and other BBC Radio 4 programmes; author, Big Data: does size matter?

Produced by
Ben Pile independent researcher, writer, and film-maker
Recommended readings
Anthropocene: Do We Need a New Environmentalism for a New Age? Read more: http://science.time.com/2012/12/18/do-we-need-a-new-e

We're remaking the very face of the world thanks to population and economic growth. Environmentalism is being challenged—and a group of dissident greens believe we need to rethink the entire project

Bryan Walsh, Time, 18 December 2012

The Great Schism in the Environmental Movement

Can modern greens loosen nature’s grip on environmentalism?

Keith Kloor, Slate, 12 December 2012

Toward a New Environmentalism

While New Environmentalists may see bringing business—and even big business—on board as imperative to the movement's success, Murray argues that this does not equate to being pro-business-as-usual.

Sami Grover, Tree Hugger, 22 November 2012

Barry Commoner: Scientist who forced environmentalism into the world's consciousness

In 1980 he ran for President as Citizens Party candidate; he received 0.25 per cent of the vote

Rupert Cornwell, Independent, 6 October 2012

The New Environmentalism – Individuals and Property Rights

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi

Tisha Casida, IVN, 21 April 2012

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