war of words about the environment has been waged furiously for the better
half of this century. Is the earth doomed because of the inevitability of
global warming, rising sea levels, biodiversity extinction, loss of essential
minerals, energy and the ill-effects of industrialisation? Or are these
eleventh-hour scares engineered by the same camp, which argued that acid-rain
heralded the end of the natural world or that millions would die of starvation
in the 1970s? The arguments between environmental optimists and the environmental
pessimists dominate the media, leaving the public largely in the dark. They
accuse each other of being unscientific, of lacking the necessary academic
qualifications to take part in the debate and of holding their views for
immoral reasons. Both camps of the environmental lobby complain that the
media gives too much coverage to the other side.
Next Stop Environmental Paradise?
So where exactly does the truth lie? In this seminar, Eric Neumayer draws
a fascinating and comprehensive guide to the environmental battlefield.
If you have ever felt lost amidst the contradictory words and forecasts
of the environmental optimists and pessimists, this seminar should equip
you with the arguments and fallacies of both camps, enabling you to steer
a reasoned, well-informed path through the various debates.
In session one, Neumayer sets out the parameters of the debate. He goes
on to explore the arguments and methods of both environmental optimists
and pessimists. In session three, he considers the most recent and controversial
addition to the debate, Bjorn Lomborg's widely celebrated book, The Skeptical
Environmentalist. He argues that even this book fails to provide a way
out of the old trenches of the debate between environmental optimism and
pessimism in choosing to join the optimistic camp. Finally, he considers
what lessons can be learned from such a survey of the debate.
- Session 1 The Environmental Debate
- Session 2 The Environmental Optimists
- Session 3 Sceptical About the
Environmentalist: Bjorn Lomborg's Thesis
- Session 4 The Similarities Between
Optimists and Pessimists
- Session 5 Explaining the Divergence
- Session 6 The Final Word on the
the basic arguments of the environmental optimists and pessimists.
the environmental problems faced by the world in the twenty-first
the factors that indicate that major human-induced bio-diversity loss
Describe the methods that environmental optimists and pessimists use
to discredit one another. Explain the extreme divergence in opinions
about the environment.
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