Video to counter our McKibben article

This week we discussed Bill McKibben’s article “The Mental Environment.” It adopts a rather negative slant—that humans in modern western society are despairingly self-absorbed.  I came upon a video that proposes a different notion. Jeremy Rifkin asks, “Can we reach biosphere consciousness and global empathy in time to avert planetary collapse?”

The Reading and Media Group meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the second floor lounge of Memorial Union.

Discussion Questions for “The Endless City” and “The Mental Environment”

Adbusters 90Mallory chose two readings from Adbusters #90, Whole Brain Catalog. Both of these articles examine the changing of our environment due to physical “advances in technology” and, concordantly, how our “mental environment” is reacting.

From The Endless City:
  • How terrified are you after reading this article?
  • Let’s talk about our own pros and cons of this…think global, not just local.
  • “Cities, in short are the cradles of culture and wealth, and will allow earth to accommodate a further three billion people.” At who or what expense? (Ishmael?)
  • Would life actually be intolerable without contact with nature?  What does ‘contact with nature’ even entail?

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Discussion Questions for Blessed Unrest

Blessed Unrest book coverIn our first week, the Environmental Reading and Media Group chose to read excerpts from Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawken. Project leader Nick Mustoe offers the following questions for discussion:

  • The start of what became the modern method of biological categorization, Systema Naturae by Linnaeus, consisted of only 11 pages. Is it conceivable today that we could make such an important decision without numerous professional meetings, conferences and articles?
  • What do you feel Emerson was referring to when he discusses learning the language of nature? Is this a type of learning separate from the learning we get in the classroom? Does it have less, equal or more value than learning from traditional education?
  • How would you have reacted to being one of the first Europeans to see Sequoias?
  • Does this book’s account of history suffer from the “great man” approach to history?

The Reading and Media Group meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the second floor lounge of Memorial Union.