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Environmental Discourse Essay

Although environmental concerns have attained increasing currency within society, general coverage by the media fails to recognize that not all environmental discourses are alike. Different ideological strains exist and maintain different assumptions about not just the source of environmental problems, but the kinds of solutions that are necessary to solving environmental problems.

In the latter half of the 20th century, when environmentalism arose as a distinct political and social ideology, the form of environmental discourse held by most of its proponents is what is now called deep green environmentalism. Deep green environmentalisms operate under the assumption that the dominant political and social ideologies such as unchecked growth, pervasive consumerism and extreme industrialism and capitalism are inherently flawed and contributive to ecological damage.

They believe profound lifestyle changes and a willingness to confront dominant social institutions are needed to keep these problems in check. (Beder, 1991) By contrast, light green environmentalists are more common today: they have a casual concern regarding planetary welfare and do not view environmental protection as a distinct political ideology. They do not seek the political emasculation of industrialism and capitalism but instead emphasize environmentalism as a lifestyle alternative.

They choose strategic consumption and a responsible modern living as the means to address environmental issues. As such, light green environmentalists make no pretense of possessing the same subversive aspirations of their dark or deep green counterparts. (Beder, 1991) Today, a new form of environmentalism has emerged: Bright green environmentalism. Bright green environmentalism holds that the guilt of modern living can be reconciled with environmental anxiety and sustainability is possible through tools and technology.

The primary assumption is that it is difficult for individuals to go deep green and “turn their backs” on material luxury, and that the strategic consumption of light greens is ultimately trivial in relation to our ecological problems. To that end, bright green environmentalists embrace new forms of energy production, manufacturing, biotechnology, urban planning and other forms of sustainable design technologies as a means of retrofitting the present capitalist-industrialist mode of life rather than seeking to overthrow it.

They celebrate the potential for economic abundance and material plenitude without compromising ecological sustainability. (Steffen, 2006) REFERENCES Beder, S. “Activism vs. Negotiation: Strategies for the Environment Movement. ” Social Alternatives, Vol 10, No 4, pp. 53-56, December 1991. Retrieved on January 26, 2009 from: http://homepage. mac. com/herinst/sbeder/activism. html Steffen, A. (2006, May) “The Next Green Revolution. ” Wired Magazine, 14. 05. Retrieved October 13, 2008 from: http://www. wired. com/wired/archive/14. 05/green. html

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