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Chelsea Green Blog

nature vs the man

With the end of summer closing in, gas and oil prices at an all-time high, and storms ravaging the country, things are looking pretty bleak for the man in the now-familiar man versus nature scenario. Fortunately, that scenario is a hoax. Why is it that every time a natural disaster strikes, the mainstream media insists on positing it against mankind in some horrific gladiator duel? Why, in an age when science is beginning to understand a possible correlation between weather patterns and human ecological impact, do we still accept this ancient metaphor of nature as a remote and mysterious enemy force? Watch the news today, and you’ll hear reporters assigning storm fronts absurd characteristics like wrath and fury—showing all the meteorological sophistication of an eighteenth century sailor. But this irresponsible use of a man versus nature metaphor is more than just a failure of good reporting. It also seems like a subtle way of keeping people from thinking about the possibility of human contribution to weather patterns. It seems like another way of discrediting climate change. Ross Gelbspan hit the nail on the head on Wednesday, when he exposed Katrina’s real name: Global Warming. Not to suggest that the devestation isn’t horrible, or doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. It is, and it does. But why does taking a problem seriously these days primarily mean assigning it status as an enemy force, and framing (yes, framing) it as a demon? If it could, the Bush administration would add Katrina to a list of rogue nations or enemy combatants, ship it off to an island to be disappeared, and call it done. God forbid we address the problem as if we were responsible participants in our own environment.


Economic Development is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It

Economic development today is completely broken. That’s the argument of author Michael Shuman in his new book, The Local Economy Solution. The singular focus on attracting global corporations is not just ineffective but counterproductive, Shuman argues, especially given the huge opportunity costs. Indeed, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way most communities can […] Read More..

5 Shareable Strategies for Creating Climate Action

Frustrated about climate change? You’re not alone. Most people in our society find themselves somewhere on the spectrum of depressed about our climate situation to flat-out denying that it exists. In fact, the more information about global warming that piles up, the less we seem to do to combat it. What is the reason for this […] Read More..

A Mini-Festo for Earth Day – Rebuild the Foodshed

For the past month, author Philip Ackerman-Leist has been on a Twitter MiniFesto campaign – each day sending out a new tweet designed to spark conversation and pass along some lessons he learned whilst working on his last book, Rebuilding the Foodshed. You might also know Philip as the author of his memoir Up Tunket […] Read More..

Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. “Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its […] Read More..

Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives? In What We Think About When […] Read More..