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Getting Hitched and Unhitched with the Ecomodernists

Bronislaw Szerszynski

"The ‘eco-’ prefix refers to their recognition that 'humanity must shrink its impacts on the environment to make more room for nature.' Here, they seem to align with the direction of travel of the wider environmental movement. Yet the ‘-modernist’ half of their name firmly asserts their belief that if this is to happen, it will not come about through any slowing or reversal of the modernisation process but only through greater energy use, urbanisation, technological innovation and agricultural intensification. In this they seem to set their trajectory at an angle nearing 180 degrees to the usual orientation of the environmental movement, which would more usually call for degrowth, ecological agriculture, contraction of energy and resource use and more ‘natural’ lifestyles. The ecomodernists believe that there is no contradiction here: anti-technological sentiments and romantic ideas of pristine nature were always stowaways, illicit passengers that did not really belong in the environmentalist package."