Bookshelf: The Troubled History of Environmentalism

By Bob Wilson


The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-In Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation

by Adam Rome

The Light-Green Society: Ecology and Technological Modernity in France, 1960-2000

by Michael Bess

Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images

by Finis Dunaway


Why have Americans been unable or unwilling to address climate change? Given the dire genius of earth day romethreat of global warming, why has it taken so long for a political movement to tackle climate change to emerge in the United States? These are some of the questions that have guided my project at the RCC about the development of the American climate movement, in many ways, an offshoot of the environmental movement. Yet there is another related question: What happened to American environmentalism? A robust, popular environmental movement should have been able to respond to climate change and activists should have been able to pressure their government to take measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the consequences of a warming world. But until recently, that has not happened. Why?

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Making Tracks: Jenny Price

In the “Making Tracks” series, RCC fellows and alumni present their experiences in environmental humanities, retracing the paths that led them to the Rachel Carson Center. For more information, please click here.

“And you ask yourself, well . . . How did I get here?” —Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

by Jenny Price

When my nephews or my students talk about their future careers, I can only marvel. Theirs seems to be a well-directed generation, with clearly-laid plans for the whats, whens, and whys. Yet I always wonder, could the financial advisor eventually decide to be a dancer? My own career has been a series of stumbles, accidents, three steps back, and advances to Go. It feels a bit more like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercial: “You got peanut butter in my chocolate!! What the hell were you thin . . . ooohhhh.” All of which led me to the Rachel Carson Center, and to my current major project, in which I am trying to persuade people—especially educated and well-meaning Americans—to stop saving the planet NOW.
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Worldview: Environmental Conflicts and Interdisciplinarity in Argentina

by María Valeria Berros

Environmental issues are highly debated in today’s Argentina, and are researched across a range of disciplines—political science, sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy, literature, and law—as problems linking nature protection, development, and poverty. Analysis has begun to focus on disciplines where the ecological question is fundamentally relevant, such as public debate, risk, and social protest. New social actors have also begun to appear, including environmentally concerned assemblies of neighbors, networks of nongovernmental organizations, and groups of professionals including doctors and lawyers. The different judicial and legislative legal strategies arising from such interdisciplinarity are relevant not only for resolving conflicts but towards widening their visibility, and in some cases establishing new and more protective regulations. Continue reading “Worldview: Environmental Conflicts and Interdisciplinarity in Argentina”

Living with Zombie Mines

Post by John Sandlos and Arn Keeling

Mention the words “zombie mine” and you risk conjuring images of grotesque undead figures lurking in dark abandoned tunnels, more the stuff of movie or video game fantasies than anything to do with mining in the real world. And yet, the idea behind the zombie – that of a malevolent force expressed though the afterlife – is a useful metaphor for thinking about the social and environmental issues surrounding abandoned mines. Our research project, Abandoned Mines in Northern Canada, has suggested to us that mines can have a zombie-like ‘afterlife’ in two ways: through the redevelopment of a formerly abandoned mine to remove remaining ore deposits as prices improve on global markets, or (the focus of this blog contribution) though long-term environmental impacts such toxic tailings, acid mine drainage, or landscape change.

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Fifty Years of Silent Spring

Post by Arielle Helmick

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published fifty years ago today. Having taken her name, we at the RCC would like to take a look back at Carson’s legacy, in terms of what she has meant for the Center, as well as what positive environmental change has happened in the last fifty years, as reflected upon by some of our fellows.

The Rachel Carson Center is…in Germany?

One of the most common questions we get at the RCC has to do with our name. Why is a center for advanced study in the environmental humanities that is based in Munich named after an American biologist and nature writer, who never worked in Europe? The reasons for our recognition of Carson highlight the legacy she left for the world and reflect the Center’s mission.

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