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Week 2

CH 2 “A Spectrum of Environmental Ideologies�

Before reading this chapter my notion of the term “conservationism� applying to the environment was that it was one of the more extreme ecocentric ideologies favoring environmental protection. I had no idea that it is actually closer to an anthropocentric belief system and I was unaware of the many other ideologies that exist. The two extreme ideologies I just mentioned lie on a spectrum with anthropocentric (human-centered) on the left and ecocentric (all living and nonliving elements of nonhuman world are intrinsically valuable and important) on the right. In between lie the following ideologies:
Unrestrained instrumentalism (natural world and its resources exist solely for human use)
Conservationism (“Wise use� and “greatest use for greatest number� of people)
Preservationism (conserve for scientific, ecological, aesthetic or religious worth)
(Midpoint of spectrum)
Ethics & value-driven ideologies (nonhuman entities have intrinsic value/right to exist)
Transformative ideologies (attempt to find root causes of anti-environmental attitudes)
There are subcategories of many of these main principles as well and virtually the entirety of environmental communication in America is taken from the anthropocentric side of the spectrum (which is exactly how I felt after discovered that there was another side of the spectrum). I think the message Corbett wanted to get across in this chapter was that it is difficult for people to discuss environmental ideologies and come to conclusions about what needs to be done to help the environment if we aren’t equipped with the correct understandings that allow us to relate to the natural world. Knowing the full spectrum of environmental ideologies is the first step to understanding where environmental messages are “coming from.� I have discovered that my ideology lies somewhere between conservationist and preservationist. I believe that building a society requires that we develop and conserve the land’s resources as well as leave some of the wilderness untouched purely to value it for its beauty as well as the valuable information it can give us for scientific purposes like gene pools and undiscovered medicines.
Since I barely knew about the right side of the spectrum and those beliefs closest to ecocentricism I decided to look into the transformative ideology of ecofeminism. Corbett points to the fact that “throughout history, nature has been more identified with the feminine than the masculine� (47). After exploring an ecofeminist group website (http://eve.enviroweb.org/what_is/index.html) called “ecofeminist visions emerging�, I read an essay by Catherine Roach which emphasized that the ideology is still struggling to find its definition. Some women felt that a mother-nature relationship empowered them while others felt it should be more about gender equality and not letting a patriarchal view dominate nature. Roach says, “we're all part of nature, some of us are just more aware of our connection.� Similar to feminist debates in general, there still seems to be some discrepancy on what the ecofeminist view encompasses. The homepage describes it by saying, “although there is no one "correct" ecofeminism, most ecofeminists would agree with the core precept that the domination of women and the domination of nature are fundamentally connected. In other words, violence against Mother Earth came to be intertwined with an emerging urge to subdue and control women.� Whatever the definition of ecofeminism will become, it was refreshing to realize that there are plenty of ideologies that exist besides what is constantly portrayed in the media.