Lewis Mumford, Technics and civilization
New York
Harcourt Brace
1934

Page 359

Le Play once asked his auditors what was the most important thing that came out of the mine; after one had guessed coal and another iron and another gold, he answered: No, the most important thing that comes out of the mine is the miner.

Thompson, William Irwin,  The American Replacement Of Nature
New York, 1991
ISBN 0385420250

Pages 68, 133-4

We will have this polity of mediocracy in which imagineers manipulate images for the electropeasantry as long as we have television as our dominant form of communication. It will do no good to try to create some new Amish Lancaster County in which there is no TV, for that quaint space will only become yet another movie set of heritage and tradition in the midst of the vast electronic polity. It will only be when television is superseded by some new technology of communication, just as television superseded print, that we will have a new noetic polity created by the new means of communication. When that happens, humanity will probably look back upon the age of television as a dark age....

AtKisson, Alan.  Believing Cassandra
White River Junction, VT
Chelsea Green Publishing
1999
ISBN 1890132160

Pages 14 and 25

In one of several articles concerning the book [Limits to Growth], Time magazine described it as written in "restrained, nonhysterical, at times almost apologetic language," and noted with sadness that "the study closes almost every escape hatch." Technology would solve the resources problem only to exacerbate the pollution problem. Efficiency could reduce pollution, but that wouldn't stop population growth from running rampant and using up all the land for growing food. "There is only one way out," says the report: "economic as well as population growth must be stopped cold some time between 1975 and 1990 by holding world investment in new plant and machinery equal to the rate at which physical capital wears out."

Gorner Peter,  “Simplicity, efficiency of bull calf clones moves society closer to human cloning”
Chicago Tribune
01/07/2000


They’re called Tommy, Andy, Timothy and Anthony - the first initials spell TATA, for the genetic control region of their DNA - and they are rambunctious clones of a world-famous Japanese bull. But the simplicity, efficiency and elegance behind their creation moves society a giant step closer to human cloning, and it’s happening much faster than anyone predicted. The four bull calves, ranging in age from 7 to 9 months, unveiled last week by the University of Connecticut and the Kogashima Cattle Breeding Development Institute in Japan, indicate how biologists are overcoming technical difficulties that once seemed insurmountable.

Shephard, Paul  “Virtually Hunting Reality in the Forests of Simulacra”
in Soule
Michael E., and Gary Lease
Reinventing Nature?

Responses to Postmodern Deconstruction. D.C.: 1995 ISBN 1559633107
Page 17

The postmodern constructionist view is that all texts, reports, narratives are but descriptions -- focused chatter about an unknowable external world, psychobabble, webs of words that serve as ammunition in struggles over who dominates whom. But Derrida, Lyotard, and other deconstructionists have about them the smell of the coffeehouse, a world of ironic, patronizing remoteness in which the search for generality and truth would be an embarrassment.

Moreover, somehow justified by the deconstruction of nature are the theme parks, malls, and other virtual simulations of originals that create a world easier to control, a world where imagination is the only real landscape and where denial replace even disengagement and relativism. The loss of contract with nature, a biophilic deprivation, must lead to pathology. But other animal species, because they have no words to confuse themselves, are not so deluded.

Kunstler, James Howard  Home from Nowhere
New York, 1996
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 0684811960

Page 85-6

The artifact replacements for these rural things in the form of a suburban housing subdivision turn out to be rather paltry. They end up acting more as sinister barriers to other living patterns, leaving us in a kind of neurobiological slum. There is the numbing undertone of the lawnmowers in their ceaseless battle to discipline the monoculture of grass. There is the sound of radios and the smell of soapy water evaporating on warm asphalt as the cars are washed in the driveways. The odor of pesticide wafts off the rose bushes, making us shudder with intimations of cancer or mutant offspring.

Cooper, Gail.  Air-Conditioning America
Maryland: 1998
ISBN 0801857163

Page 2

For years both the pleasant and the irritating aspects of opening windows were inevitably linked, for the weather has always been something admittedly beyond human control. That is why we still laugh at Mark Twain's joke that "everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it." Yet with the appearance of air conditioning, the technical community began to take seriously the idea of creating a man-made indoor climate -- the mechanical reproduction indoors of the best aspects of the weather outside. At last, engineers argued, human beings would be in control. We could -- and some argued that we should -- close our windows forever.

McKibben, Bill.  “Out There In The Middle Of The Buzz.”
FORBES ASAP
December 2, 1996

Page 107

Electronic communication, for the first time, makes culture ubiquitous. Almost nobody read books five hours a day, or went to the theater every night. We live in the first moment when humans receive more of their information secondhand than first; instead of relying primarily on contact with nature and with each other, we rely primarily on the pre-chewed, on someone else’s experience. Our life is, quite literally, mediated.

Kunstler, James Howard,  The Geography Of Nowhere
New York, 1993
ISBN 0671707744

Page 131

The road is now like television, violent and tawdry. The landscape it runs through is littered with cartoon buildings and commercial messages. We whiz by them at fifty-five miles and hour and forget them, because one convenience store looks like the next. They do not celebrate anything beyond their mechanistic ability to sell merchandise. We don’t want to remember them. We did not savor the approach and we were not rewarded upon reaching the destination, and it will be the same next time, and every time. There is little sense of having arrived anywhere, because everyplace looks like noplace in particular.

Wilson, Edward Osborne,  In Search Of Nature
Washington, 1996
ISBN 1559632151

Page 119

It is notable that the phobias are most easily evoked by many of the greatest dangers of mankind’s ancient environment, including tight spaces, heights, thunderstorms, running water, snakes, and spiders, but are rarely evoked by the greatest dangers of modern technological society, including guns, knives, automobiles, explosives, and electric sockets.

White, Richard. The Nature of Progress: Progress and the Environment.

Mainstream environmentalism, however, has never really demanded deprivation, at least from its supporters. It, in the best progressive tradition, often only seeks to make consumption more efficient. Environmentalism has been, and remains, a largely middle-class and metropolitan movement. And, as Samuel Hays has argued, it has represented not a rejection of consumption, but a new aspect of it. In saving the earth, middle-class environmentalists also opened it up for their own leisure activities. Wild lands no longer consumed for their ore, timber, or energy are now consumed as sources of experience: hiking, skiing, rafting, photography. It would be hard to read a magazine such as Outside or an REI or Eddie Bauer catalog as a rejection of consumerism and consumption. And as organized groups, environmentalists assert a privileged claim to valued resources.

Sagoff, Mark.  The Economy of the Earth
New York
ISBN 0521341132

Pages 28-9

Our environmental goals—cleaner air and water, the preservation of wilderness and wildlife, and the like—are not to be construed, then, simply as personal wants or preferences; they re not interests to be “priced” by markets or by cost-benefit analysis, but are views or beliefs that may find their way, as public values, into legislation. These goals stem from our character as a people, which is not something we choose, as we might choose a necktie or a cigarette, but something we recognize, something we are.

Sagoff, Mark.  Carrying Capacity and Ecological Economics.
Pages 28-9

Moreover, the so-called carrying capacity of the earth for human beings is not a scientific concept and cannot be measured by biologists. It is an elastic notion depending on social, economic, industrial, and agricultural practices.

Morality teaches us that we are rich in proportion to the number of things we can afford to let alone, that we are happier in proportion to the desires we can control rather than those we can satisfy, and that a simpler life is more worth living. Economic growth may not be morally desirable even if it I ecologically sustainable.

Roodman, David Malin.  Harnessing the Market for the Environment
New York: 1998
ISBN 0393318524

Pages 71 and 155

Not only does a modern combine harvester, for instance, let one pair of hands do the work of many, it also works most economically on large fields. Technologies like these contributed much to the rapid fall in the number of U.S. farms since 1930. Similarly, factory trawlers as long as football fields are leading to the demise of whole fishing towns.

The automation threat to jobs and communities does not end there. Industries that do not automate as fast as the rest of the economy will shed jobs as surely as those that do. This is because the more efficiently other industries use workers -- that is, the more income they generate per hour of labor employed -- the higher pay those workers can demand.

Callicot, Baird, J.  Earth’s Insights: A Survey of Ecological Ethics from the Mediterranean Basin to the Australian Outback
California: 1994
ISBN 0520085590

Page xvii

As the environmental movement has arisen these past two decades, the environmental crisis itself has deepened. Paradoxically, a majority of Americans describe themselves as strongly committed to the environment, yet our soils, water, air, and countless species of plants and animals degrade and disappear at catastrophic rates. Globally, population has doubled and natural resources have been cut in half in only fifty years.

The crisis cannot be resolved simply by making present arrangements more efficient, although that would help. Our political and economic systems are based on obsolete notions that the environment is an infinite storehouse of raw materials for industry, as well as a bottomless container for waste.

Brooks, David.  “Cell Phones Naturalists.”  UTNE Reader March - April 1999
Page 76

My main problem, though, was that I brought to REI a set of false presuppositions. I thought that if you were the type who wanted to go out into nature, you would want to be natural. You’d be a woodsy sort of person who likes to get away from the pollution and artificiality of civilization and find spiritual cleansing in the wilderness. In short, you’d value nature, not high-tech wizardry. You’d aim for anti-commercial simplicity, not flashy consumer connoisseurship....

Back at REI, however, the culture war between the party of the machine and the party of nature is obsolete. The people here are simultaneously pro-technology and pro-nature.

David G and Carol P. Myers.  Wealth and Well-Being
New York: 1992
ISBN 0380-715228

Page 39

This may be a surprise, but in the University of Michigan’s national surveys what matters more than absolute wealth is perceived wealth. Money is two steps removed from happiness. Actual income doesn’t much influence happiness; how satisfied we are with our income does. If we’re content with our income, regardless of how much it is, we’re likely to say we’re happy.

Berger, John,  Pig Earth
New York, 1979
ISBN 0394512685

Page 208

When a peasant resists the introduction of a new technique or method of working, it is not because he cannot see its possible advantages—his conservatism is neither blind nor lazy—but because he believes that these advantages cannot, by the nature of things, be guaranteed, and that, should they fail, he will then be cut off alone and isolated from the routine of survival.

Leider, Richard,  Repacking Your Bags
California, 1995
ISBN 1881052672

Page 3

I’m a walking advertisement for a Patagonia or L.L. Bean catalogue. But of course, I have to be. As expedition leader, I’m responsible for the entire group. So, in addition to the required group-size first aid kit, I’ve also been sure to bring along items that will make our trek not just safe, but enjoyable. I’m no Boy Scout, but I certainly subscribe to their motto, “Be prepared.” And I have made it a point to be prepared for just about anything.

As we walk along, Koyie keeps glancing at my pack. Time and again, I see him mentally comparing the heavy load I carry with his own, which consists of nothing more than a spear and a stick used for cattle tending.