My book Everyday Environmentalism was reviewed in Oxford University Press’ Journal of Environmental Law. It reads:

“The premise underlying this fascinating volume is that public policy can affect individual behaviour; and, more importantly, there is a significant role for government and law to play in addressing the more intractable environmental problems that are driven by aggregate behavioural choices. This requires the development of a new generation of regulatory mechanisms, to shape individual consumption decisions in accord with efforts to change social and cultural norms on grounds of sustainability. The search, therefore, is for not only technical but also cultural solutions, and in this, the overall objective is perhaps an anthropological equivalent of the butterfly effect on hurricanes (by a flapping of wings). Thus, the author emphasises the importance of ‘individual, seemingly insignificant, choices that, taken in the aggregate, can have potentially enormous effects’ (p 1).

There are two introductory chapters. Chapter 1 traces the (New World) exploitation of nature as a matter of ‘manifest destiny’, and its modern day evolution into the bloated modern trends of consumption. The author draws a withering comparison with the ‘wilderness’ writings (Thoreau, Muir, etc) and the loss of an ideal of resource stewardship. The narrative thereafter develops in numerous, separate but inter-locking contexts, concerned with cause and effect implications of an increased cognitive consumer severance from the environment. The reviewer was reminded here of the (hopefully apocryphal) footballer who, when set to play in New Zealand and upon finding his favoured breakfast unavailable, bewailed: ‘How come in a country with eight million sheep you haven’t any bacon!’ Chapter 2 completes the introduction, identifying a range of threats posed by climate change. This, he suggests, offers a ‘unique window for understanding why environmental regulation of cutting-edge problems remains difficult’ (p 14): for cutting-edge, we should surely read ‘chronic’ or, perhaps simply, ‘dire’.”

See here, but unfortunately you need a subscription to see the whole review.

About these ads