Birth of a New Earth by Adrian Parr Summary
In response to unprecedented environmental degradation, activists and popular movements have risen up to fight the crisis of climate change and the ongoing devastation of the earth. The environmental movement has undeniably influenced even its adversaries, as the language of sustainability can be found in corporate mission statements, government policy, and national security agendas. However, the price of success has been compromise, prompting soul-searching and questioning of the politics of environmentalism. Is it a revolutionary movement that opposes the current system? Or is it reformist, changing the system by working within it? In Birth of a New Earth, Adrian Parr argues that this is a false choice, calling for a shift from an opposition between revolution and incremental change to a renewed collective imagination. Parr insists that environmental destruction is at its core a problem of democratization and decolonization. It requires reckoning with militarism, market fundamentalism, and global inequality and mobilizing an alternative political vision capable of freeing the collective imagination in order to replace an apocalyptic mindset frozen by the spectacle of violence. Birth of a New Earth locates the emancipatory work of environmental politics in solidarities that can bring together different constituencies, fusing opposing political strategies and paradigms by working both inside and outside the prevailing system. She discusses experiments in food sovereignty, collaborative natural-resource management, and public-interest design initiatives that test new models of economic democratization. Ultimately, Parr proclaims, environmental politics is the refusal to surrender life to the violence of global capitalism, corporate governance, and militarism. This defiance can serve as the source for the birth of a new earth.