EGMT 1540: Should You Chain Yourself to a Tree?

Although recent polling data shows the majority of Americans agreeing that climate change is a “major threat,” there is less agreement on how to actually address the problem. Calls to reduce our individual carbon footprints are commonplace, but so are the responses from climate strikers that responsibility should fall on Big Oil and its allies in DC, making these calls for individuals to focus on their lifestyle choices a form of victim blaming. In this course, we’ll examine these and other competing visions of climate action. In the first half of the class, we’ll look at the history of environmental activism to understand why mainstream environmentalism since the 1980s has focused on individual consumer choice, as opposed to the collective civil disobedience that prevailed in the 1960s and early 1970s. In the second half, we turn to contemporary debates about what must be done—engaging with everyone from the oil execs calling on people to reduce their own carbon footprints to the writer and filmmakers behind a recent, provocative call for people to start learning How to Blow Up a Pipeline.
Years Offered: