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nature vs the man

With the end of summer closing in, gas and oil prices at an all-time high, and storms ravaging the country, things are looking pretty bleak for the man in the now-familiar man versus nature scenario. Fortunately, that scenario is a hoax. Why is it that every time a natural disaster strikes, the mainstream media insists on positing it against mankind in some horrific gladiator duel? Why, in an age when science is beginning to understand a possible correlation between weather patterns and human ecological impact, do we still accept this ancient metaphor of nature as a remote and mysterious enemy force? Watch the news today, and you’ll hear reporters assigning storm fronts absurd characteristics like wrath and fury—showing all the meteorological sophistication of an eighteenth century sailor. But this irresponsible use of a man versus nature metaphor is more than just a failure of good reporting. It also seems like a subtle way of keeping people from thinking about the possibility of human contribution to weather patterns. It seems like another way of discrediting climate change. Ross Gelbspan hit the nail on the head on Wednesday, when he exposed Katrina’s real name: Global Warming. Not to suggest that the devestation isn’t horrible, or doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. It is, and it does. But why does taking a problem seriously these days primarily mean assigning it status as an enemy force, and framing (yes, framing) it as a demon? If it could, the Bush administration would add Katrina to a list of rogue nations or enemy combatants, ship it off to an island to be disappeared, and call it done. God forbid we address the problem as if we were responsible participants in our own environment.


Author Petra Kuenkel: The Art of Leading Collectively

More than ever before, there is a focus on new, collective forms of leadership—and an urgency to get collective change processes underway, all over the world. What’s behind the recent push to move collective leadership to the fore? Whether we find ourselves in societal or organizational change, it requires collective energy and drive to bring […] Read More

10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More

Top 8 Chelsea Green Books the Self-Styled Oregon Militia Should Read

The ongoing armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is showing no signs of ending — so, rather than send them snacks, or sex toys, we had an idea: Send them a book! Better yet, send them several Chelsea Green books. Don’t worry, we’ve picked five key titles that we think […] Read More

Author David Stroh: First Steps to Becoming a Systems Thinker

Systems thinking is often seen as something relegated to scientific and business analysis – economics, resource depletion, and climate. However, Systems Thinking for Social Change focuses on how to use systems thinking to make breakthrough progress on intransigent social problems. We asked author David Stroh how this approach can make an impact, and how readers […] Read More

Use Systems Thinking to Make Lasting Social Change

What can be done when our best intentions create unintended problems—such as temporary shelters increasing homelessness or food aid accelerating starvation?After decades of helping change-makers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors address tough social problems, systems-thinking expert David Stroh shares the pioneering framework that both demystifies systems thinking and shows how it can lead […] Read More
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