31 Jul '14, 11am

Are there two different versions of environmentalism, one ‘white,’ one ‘black’?

The recent spate of critical attention paid to environmental concerns has–perhaps unsurprisingly–tended to assume a rather narrow conception of what, exactly, constitutes the environmental. In its popular usage (for example, ‘trying to save the environment’), the term becomes roughly equivalent to natural or is simply used to signify the out-of-doors, the organic. But its etymological roots lie in the Anglo-French environner (loosely, to physically encircle), and as such it is crucial to reconnect our awareness of both the environmental and the ecological to a sociologically based understanding of proximate space. Proximate space is our immediate, familiar environment: not, for most Americans, a space of trees and streams and hills but rather a space of concrete and glass and steel.

Full article: http://grist.org/climate-energy/are-there-two-different-v...

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