Primary Concern as a “caring and responsible attitude to nature”

Harperworld’s heartland: Fort McMurray, Alberta

Picking up on our thread involving Stephen Harper’s intention to turn Canada into an “energy superpower” by churning out increasing amounts of the world’s dirtiest oil, here’s something from The Double Vision:

In the twentieth century, with a pollution that threatens the supply of air to breath and water to drink, it is obvious we cannot afford the supremacy of ideological concerns anymore. The need to eat, love, own property, and move about freely must come first, and such needs require peace, good will, and a caring and responsible attitude to nature. A continuing ideological conflict, a reckless exploiting of the environment, a persistence in believing, with Mao Tse-Tung, that power comes out of the barrel of a gun, would mean, quite simply, that the human race is not long for this world. (CW 4, 170)

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What we accept as beautiful or attractive or in accord with the way we want things to be has some connection, however indirect, with the satisfying of these concerns, and what we call ugly or dehumanized — air choked with pollution, land turned into waste land by speculators, infernos created by technologies from Chernobyl to Exxon Valdez — with the frustration of them. For a long time the established powers that be have looked at their civilization and said, “Probably much of it is very ugly, but that doesn’t matter as long as we make profits out of it, and certainly nothing is going to be done about it.” When it becomes clear that the ugly is beginning to mean dangerous as well, however, the point of view may slowly change. (191)

(Image: Peter Essick, National Geographic)

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