San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources Seminar Series
After Sustainability: life beyond the end of pretending?
John Foster, Lancaster University
Dangerous climate change is coming. It has been clear since Copenhagen that the political will to make adequate cuts in global CO2 emissions isn’t going to be generated in any foreseeable future. The international attempt to shift the world by agreement onto a “sustainable” trajectory, always half-hearted, has failed.
But denial is not confined to those who refuse to see the serious environmental damage we are doing; it extends equally to those who refuse to see that we have missed our chance to stop it. The roots of such embedded denial lie in progressivism. Exorbitant resource consumption is the form in which this mindset has caused environmental damage in the first place; latterly, it has manifested itself as wilfully self-blinded technological optimism.
But what if we stopped pretending?
Environmentalism is about what is wrong with us here and now, not only what that might mean for the future. Our environmental situation is tragic in the full sense. Tragedy entails losses which can’t be mitigated or compensated, but it can also reveal us to ourselves in ways from which we may be able to learn.
We can’t really predict what will happen on the ground as global economic and ecological systems unravel. We must build existential as well as economic and social resilience, arming ourselves with recognition, insight and flexibility rather than with plans or blueprints. If we approach what is coming with a realism thus grounded in genuinely non-optimistic life-hope, we may here and there come through it.
John Foster is a freelance philosophy teacher and writer, and an associate teacher in the department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. His relevant work includes The Sustainability Mirage (Earthscan, 2008), and his new book After Sustainability: Denial, Hope, Retrieval, published by Earthscan/Routledge in July 2014.
The seminar will start promptly at 5.30pm, please make sure you arrive in plenty of time.
The talk will be followed by Q & A session and a networking reception with drinks and nibbles.
Any queries please contact Kiran Dhillon on 0203 108 5935 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When & Where
UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources
The UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources was established as an academic department in 2011. It is a cross-disciplinary institute set up to carry out research, teaching and enterprise work in the research theme of sustainable use of resources and the environment and to bring together capabilities from across UCL. In 2012 we were re-located within the Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, and have developed a close relationship with UCL-Energy, with which we undertake joint projects, and share research tools and approaches.