4 women who radically reshaped our consciousness of the natural world

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Urban activist and author Jane Jacobs and Spencer B. Beebe, president of EcoTrust.

Bill McKibben at The Nation writes—Always Connect—Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters in the ’60s:

Since I was born during the short window between John F. Kennedy’s election and inauguration, I can claim with technical accuracy to be a child of the ’60s. True, my main accomplishment over the next 10 years was learning to ride a bike, but the iconography of the decade is so inescapable that I’ve always felt as if I actually knew what it was all about: raised fists, civil-rights and antiwar marches, hippies, the Beatles, the hair—an epoch of resistance.

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Andrea Barnet’s new biography of four women who helped shape that era rewrote that definition a little for me—or at least broadened it. One thing that unites Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters is, of course, gender. But (perhaps in part because of that fact) what really makes them fit subjects for joint consideration is the idea they shared, which was in many ways quite new when they broached it in the ’60s: that the world, both natural and human, is not a series of mechanistic interactions but rather a web. “Into a blustery, all-male world of patriarchs and company men, technocrats and cold warriors,” Barnet writes, “walked four women who saw things differently and were unafraid to say so.”

Carson, Jacobs, Goodall, and Waters weren’t friends; they weren’t all of the same generation, and they worked in different fields. But where the men who had made the world of the 1950s saw “strict hierarchies and separations, they saw entities and connections, the world as a holistic system…they saw movement and flow, evolution and process.” Indeed, Barnet tells us, all four “intuitively grasped the overarching idea of ‘connection,’ which is the basis of what we now call ‘web’ or ‘systems’ thinking. If these insights seem self-evident today, it is only because of how thoroughly we have internalized their essence.” Their ideas “not only turned out to be prescient, but culture-changing—the catalyst to a radical shift in consciousness.” There were others—men and women both—who helped push us in the same direction, but these four help us better understand the nature, and the beauty, of that shift. […]

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“The fact of Native existence is that we live modern lives informed by traditional values and contemporary realities and that we wish to live those lives in our terms.” 
               
~~Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (2012)
 

TWEET OF THE DAY

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2012Right-wing memo urges creation of bogus grassroots effort to undermine support for wind energy:

Billionaire money at work: Right-wingers are being urged to cooperate to trash President Obama’s clean energy plans. The approach specifies an attack on wind turbines and provides a list of suggested approaches. So says The Guardian after viewing a confidential memorandum edited by John Droz Jr., a senior fellow at the American Tradition Institute. Senior fellow and climate-change denier.

Droz is a long-time anti-wind activist who claims the technology is unsound and the benefits non-existent. This no doubt will come as a surprise to Iowans, whose state generated 19 percent of its electricity with wind turbines in 2011.

Droz has repeatedly urged anti-wind activists to develop an “effective National PR Plan.” The memo, which has been seen by reporters at The Guardian and Stephen Lacey at Think Progress, seems to be the blueprint for such a plan. ATI claims it has no connection to the memo. That may be so, but it sounds precisely like something it would produce having for years been in the business of climate-change denial, attacking state-level efforts at building renewable energy infrastructure and trashing environmental controls.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin rounds up primary results, authoritarian propaganda practices, and history’s Teflon Dons. Armando is riled over THE shell corporation that everyone is talking about, believe me. And “everybody knows” Elliott Broidy didn’t do it. (Tee hee!)

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USA News

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