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SUBJECT: Grenfell Public presentation: The Second Wave of Eco-Anxiety: Nature’s Coming Back and It's Nasty
DATE: March 9
The presentation focuses on the idea that the environmental movement is anxiety driven. In the history of the movement, we can distinguish two waves of eco-anxiety: a first wave (late 20th century) was motivated by the fear that nature, a harmonious cosmic balance, was “all but gone;” we had eclipsed it with technology. The second wave (early 21st century) is motivated by the opposite fear: our technology will no longer work to keep nature in control. Nature, conceived differently now, as an inhuman horror of meaningless events, is breaking out of the grid. No longer a safely managed consumable, nature becomes something that consumes us. Common to both waves of eco-anxiety is a false dichotomy between technology and nature.
Sean McGrath is the author of The Early Heidegger and Medieval Philosophy and Heidegger: A (Very) Critical Introduction.
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