18 September 2013

Human Desires

In an essay I'm re-reading for a course this semester, SuEllen Campbell asks, "When human desires ... conflict with other environmental values, how does the author-narrator choose?"

Human desires -- not human needs.  So many of us in the developed world have so much beyond what we need, yet the culture of capitalism creates constant desire for more.  And "more" has come into stark conflict with other environmental values: clean air, clean water, the survival of animal species.

So there's the key to moving forward as a human species trying to mitigate the damage we've done to the planet.  What do we need?  What do we want?  How much more damage will we do before we learn to make the distiction?

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*"Asking Ecocritical Questions," in Teaching North American Environmental Literature, ed. Laird Christensen, et al. (New York: MLA, 2008), p. 219.