Ecomodernism Debated: American Association of Geographers to Host Panel on Ecomodernism

Saturday, March 31, 2018
Bellevue Room, The Marker Hotel

Ecomodernism will be debated as part of the 2016 American Association of Geographers' Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Since its publication last year, "An Ecomodernist Manifesto" has attracted a great deal of academic and media attention, and contains numerous points of potential agreement and discord with environmental geographers. The manifesto's rejection of Malthusian narratives of environmental change and conceptions of a pristine nature are potential points of agreement with political ecologists, who have long championed such arguments. Nevertheless, the manifesto's apolitical approach toward technology and innovation, and its largely unqualified embrace of modernity as an emancipatory project are points of tension with critical geographers.

In addition, the document makes sweeping empirical claims about the scalability of energy technologies and the environmental benefits of land use intensification. These are topics on which geographers have carried out extensive empirical work and can potentially add complexity to these claims.

This session titled "Geographers Respond to 'An Ecomodernist Manifesto'" is meant to further a dialogue about potential points of friction and bridge building between geographic scholars and ecomodernists. The session will be moderated by David Lansing (University of Maryland- Baltimore County) and include panelists representing some of the primary intellectual areas that this document touches on - political ecology, land change science and energy portfolios—in order to offer critical and empirical appraisals of some of the key arguments and claims found in the document, along with a response from one of the document's primary authors.


Kathleen McAfee (San Francisco State University)

Leila Harris (University of British Columbia)

Kirby Calvert (Univeristy of Guelph)

Rinku Roy Chowdhury (Clark University)

Ted Nordhaus (Breakthrough Institute)

The session will take place Thursday, 3/31/2016 from 3:20 PM - 5:00 PM in the Bellevue Room, Marker Hotel, Lobby Level and is part of the larger AAG meeting, March 29 - April 2, 2016. The AAG meeting will feature over 6,600 presentations, posters, workshops, and field trips by leading scholars, experts, and researchers.