Posts filed under ‘Articles’
“Untangling Intentions: Teaching the History of Climate Politics,” in Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities, Stephen Siperstein, Shane Hall and Stephanie LeMenager (eds.), (New York: Routledge, 2016), 272-278
“Ouroboros Architecture,” in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture, Charissa N. Terranova and Meredith Tromble (eds.), (New York: Routledge, 2016), 112-135.
This article explores how and why imagined and real environments in space came to serve as models for ecological design of earthly landscapes and buildings in the 1970s. It claims that life in space came to represent the peaceful, rational, and environmentally friendly alternative to the destructive, irrational, ecological crisis down on Earth. Spaceship management aimed narrowly at the biological survival of astronauts, an ethic which also came to dominate ecological design proposals on board Spaceship Earth. The result was a design programme which was at the expense of a wider aesthetic and social understanding of the human condition. The article reviews the work of leading ecological designers of the period, such as Ian L. McHarg, John Todd and the New Alchemists, Alexander Pike and John Frazer, Brenda and Robert Vale, Ken Yeang, Phil Hawes, and others. It situates their projects in the perspective of ecological research methods of the period and puts forward an understanding of their thinking in the context of space exploration. Today’s challenge is to escape the intellectual space capsule that ecologists have created for environmentally concerned architects.
“Art in the Anthropocene,” in Jan Freuchen: Columna Translantica, (Oslo: Press, 2015), 112-121.
Global warming is now at the forefront of public debate, along with a host of related environmental concerns. Indeed, humans are changing the face of the earth so dramatically that geologists use the word “anthropocene” to describe a new planetary epoch formed by human impact. Artists have increasingly begun reflecting on how to engage in the climate debates about the degradation of our shared environment. Jan Freuchen’s Columna Transatlantica may belong within this new school of environmental art.
“A pioneer country? A history of Norwegian climate politics” Climatic Change, (March 2016), 1-13.
The shift away from ecology towards climatology in Norwegian environmental policy in the late 1980s and 1990s was not accidental. A main mover was the Labor Party politician Gro Harlem Brundtland who did not want to deal with unruly and highly vocal Deep Ecologists. Better then to start afresh with a different set of environmental scholars appealing to the technocratic tradition within the Labor Party. Instead of changing the ethical and social ways of dealing with environmental problems as the Deep Ecologists were advocating, she was looking for technological and economic solutions. And she mobilized an international regime of carbon capture storage (CCS), tradable carbon emissions quota (TEQs), and clean development mechanisms (CDMs), all of which eventually were approved in Kyoto in 1997. This move towards technocracy and cost-benefit economics reflects a post-Cold War turn towards utilitarian capitalism, but also a longing to showcase Norway as an environmental pioneer country to the world. The underlying question was how to reconcile the nation’s booming petroleum industry with reduction in climate gas emissions. Should the oil and gas stay underground and the country strive towards the ecologically informed zerogrowth society the Deep Ecologists were envisioning? Or could growth in the petroleum industry take place without harming the environment as the Labor Party environmentalists argued?
“From Bauhaus to Ecohouse: A Short History of Ecological Design,” in Behind the Green Door: Architecture and the Desire for Sustainability, Helle Benedicte Berg (ed.), (Oslo: Oslo Architecture Triennale, 2013), 129-139.
Order the catalogue here.
“The Call for a New Ecotheology in Norway,” Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 7:2 (2013), 187-207.
The call for a new ecotheology in Norway began in the early 1970s with environmentally concerned deep ecologists and continued within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway and the university system. Church officials and intellectuals saw ecotheology as an effective way of engaging the young in caring for the Creation. Alongside the eco-philosophical projects of redefining the natural, the deep ecologists also sought to renew religious faith. Norwegian theologians found their questioning of economic growth, technocracy, and industrialism appealing, and they sympathized with their call to save wilderness and their endorsement of outdoor life, rural communities, and modest lifestyles. Deep ecology represented for theologians an opportunity to revive the Church, mobilize a new and younger audience, and address the question of how to behave towards God’s Creation.
“Wissenschaft als Urlaub: Eine Geschichte der Ökologie in Norwegen” in Tue Greenfort: Eine Berggeschichte, (Dornbirn: Verlag für Moderne Kunst, 2012), 26-57.
Translation of Peder Anker, “Science as a Vacation: A History of Ecology in Norway,” History of Science, 45:4 (2007), 455-479.