Jeff Foss, Beyond Environmentalism

The opening lines of my eventually upcoming review in Ecozon@ of Beyond Environmentalism:
When I finished reading Jeffrey E. Foss’ Beyond Environmentalism: A Philosophy of Nature, one recent evening, I walked out of my house, across the street into the local golf course. It was late, so there was little natural light as I padded through the grass and over the rocky outcroppings into the very centre of the course, working my way around the swashing sprinklers that keep the course’s fairways lush and greens receptive. On arriving at the course’s dark centre, not far from the pond to which my dog occasionally vanishes and from which he’s subsequently flushed by cranky golfers, I stopped to stare upward for as long as my neck could manage it.

The Perseid meteor shower. With more than eighty large fragments per hour, it’s truly a magnificent spectacle, offering little material significance for the planet but great pleasure to humans observing it. This year, however, in spite of my admittedly feeble efforts, I was not one of its observers. Although the skies were clear, the bowl of suffused light rising from the streets around the golf course meant that I couldn’t locate a single one of the meteors. The stars, and the world, weren’t the way they’d been last August.

The traditional environmentalist reading of this experience would involve a critique of the simulated nature in which I tried to experience unmodified nature; a lament or attack on the sources of light pollution; and possibly a dismissal of my naivety in looking skyward for unmodified nature, rather than taking action against the wanton modification of nature all around me. What, though, would Jeff Foss’ reading be, given the confrontational tenor and oppositional title of his book?
Wonder how it'll turn out....


Popular Posts