Mother Nature’s Sons

I loved this Robert Moor essay on environmentalism and masculinity.

Even as progressive men renounce the traditional notion of subordinated femininity, many still harbor conflicted notions about manhood. They want to feel individually reckless, but not socially irresponsible. They want to minimize carbon emissions, but not to scold, scrimp, or carry tote bags. They want to be pure of deed but wild at heart. So they dig ever deeper into the past, searching for a way of life that existed before “real” men and their ecological consciences parted ways.

His book On Trails was one of my faves of 2017.

Louisiana Loses Its Boot — Matter — Medium.

According to the U.S.G.S., the state lost just under 1,900 square miles of land between 1932 and 2000. This is the rough equivalent of the entire state of Delaware dropping into the Gulf of Mexico, and the disappearing act has no closing date. If nothing is done to stop the hemorrhaging, the state predicts as much as another 1,750 square miles of land — an area larger than Rhode Island — will convert to water by 2064. An area approximately the size of a football field continues to slip away every hour.

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water (review: 5/5)

Cadillac Desert was pretty awesome. Marc Reisner tells a story (in sometimes overwhelming detail) of the American West, and how we have explored, settled, and altered it. And how it was maybe a little idiotic to do it the way we have.
The Mormons were the first to understand and refine large-scale irrigation projects. Later we get into the geographic discoveries of the Powell expedition, the explosion of Los Angeles and California farming during the Mulholland era, the massive federal projects of the Depression and World War decades, and the competition between two federal agencies that LOVE to build: the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Where great rivers ran we now have dams and reservoirs—around 75,000. Not to mention canals and levees and aqueducts. They’re a mixed blessing at best. Aside from the environmental impact, the amount of political maneuvering, folly, thuggery, and outright deceit that has gone into some of these projects is just incredible. Very few of the projects would have been possible without Federal involvement (read: subsidized by Eastern tax dollars). I don’t even consider myself “environmentalist” but still found it all pretty outrageous. Great book.

From an interview with Christian Landers, he of Stuff White People Like:

We have a generation of white people who want nothing more than to distance themselves from being white. They need to believe that the earth is being destroyed by evil white people, culture is ruined by the wrong kind of white people, and that history’s sins were committed by distant relatives. And so by eating at ethnic restaurants, travelling, trying to save the world, you can say that “I’m part of the solution, if everyone were like me, the world would be so much better.” I think that attitude lends itself to pretty easy satire.

The Story of Stuff, a big-picture overview of consumption. The animation is surprisingly good at times and there’s some clever sound, too (shaky economics and eco-paranoia aside). “You cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.”