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Kristina Berglund – Reflection Joachim Radkau 17/11 “The Age of Ecology”
Today’s session was interesting, I liked that Radkau was keen on asking us questions as well as his easy-approachable manner.
I was intrigued by the way he proposed that the environmental movement can be seen as a ‘new enlightenment’ but how that book title was turned down by his publishers. Enlightenment is quite a strong word, with positive connotations of being aware and educated. But in one sense that contradicts his argument that the age of ecology also is a way of forgetting what has been happening in the past and how there is no reason to believe that our present environmental awareness is the highest level of ecological understanding. On the contrary Radkau argues that people in earlier times might have been more advanced in certain aspects than we are today, e.g. with soil preserving methods (430).
Our seminar discussion revolved a lot around energy politics and pros and cons with different methods of producing energy. It is interesting how perceptions on these different alternatives vary so much and how they are framed by proponents and opponents. This made me think about the debate in Sweden about conventional farming versus ecological farming that has been going on for many years now but that was revitalized again on Sunday when a few professors from the Swedish Agricultural University launched their book ‘The ecological dream’ and a debate article in leading Swedish newspapers. Their argument is essentially that ecological farming will lead to starvation and that the current idea that ecological farming is climate friendly and produces healthier food is false. The authors argue that the increase of ecological farming would be a catastrophe in terms of food supply and would put higher pressure on the environment to a very high cost. Instead of subsidizing ecological farming resources should be put into improving conventional farming practices. They also wrote that ecological farming stems from homeopathy and that the debate has been too much focused on emotions and not ‘real’ natural science.
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