Dumpster/Fire: Traces of Burning Man

With guiding principles like self-reliance and self-expression, and a focus on an inclusive community of free exchange (decommodified gift economy), the event and culture of Burning Man is a great example of the phenomenon referred to as “contemporary spirituality.” Much of my research is concerned with relationships between religious communities/traditions and the ecological systems withContinue reading “Dumpster/Fire: Traces of Burning Man”

Energy without Conscience

In Energy without Conscience: Oil, Climate Change, and Complicity (Duke University Press, 2017), David McDermott Hughes draws on his ethnographic work in Trinidad and Tobago to analyze the disregard, apathy, numbness with which most people interact with climate change. He highlights the banality of the complicities that connect people with energy, specifically with hydrocarbons (asContinue reading “Energy without Conscience”

On the Verge of a Planetary Civilization: A Philosophy of Integral Ecology

This book is the first in a series of works in which I explore the dynamics of planetary coexistence.  You can get it from from the publisher (Rowman & Littlefield International) HERE. Below you’ll find the summary and a few blurbs:

Politicize Aesthetics, Don’t Aestheticize Politics

It’s worth remembering the following passage from Walter Benjamin’s classic essay on “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” “Fiat ars—pereat mundus” says fascism, expecting from war, as Marinetti admits, the artistic gratification of sense perception altered by technology.  This is evidently the consummation of l’art pour l’art.  Humankind, which once, inContinue reading “Politicize Aesthetics, Don’t Aestheticize Politics”

APE: Actor-Partnership Ethics

Carolyn Merchant gives a good summary of the problems with anthropocentric and non-anthropocentric ethics in Reinventing Eden: the Fate of Nature in Western Culture (Routledge, 2003).  She proposes a “new ethic of human partnership with nature” in which humanity and nature are “considered as active agents.” Self-interested, or egocentric ethics (what is good for the individualContinue reading “APE: Actor-Partnership Ethics”

Burning Man

People have varying opinions on the Burning Man festival and on Burner culture in general.  Every year, when the time comes for the festival, I’m happy to get an earful of those opinions.  I’ve found it interesting that most of my students live in a countercultural hotspot (San Francisco), yet they have little or nothingContinue reading “Burning Man”

Multicentrism

A lot of teaching and writing in environmental ethics adopts a geometrical image: the center.  The field of environmental ethics began with numerous and varied critiques of anthropocentric values and practices. Here’s how the story often goes: to center on the human is to marginalize the non-human, and developing an ethic that accounts for the moral considerabilityContinue reading “Multicentrism”

South Park and Religious Environmental Ethics

The “Jewpacabra” episode of South Park (S16, E4) contains some good Passover jokes.  One joke is a comment made by Cartman.  In a dream where he is an Egyptian boy (the Pharaoh’s son, to be specific) experiencing the Biblical Plagues (e.g., locusts, raining frogs, etc.), Cartman asks Kyle what’s happening, and in response, Cartman offers a critique of God’s concern for nonhumanContinue reading “South Park and Religious Environmental Ethics”