Meet the ecomodernists: ignorant of history and paradoxically old-fashioned
George Monbiot's column in response to the Ecomodernist Manifesto
Beware of simple solutions to complex problems. That is a crucial lesson from history; a lesson that intelligent people in every age keep failing to learn.
On Thursday, a group of people who call themselves Ecomodernists launch their manifesto in the UK. The media loves them, not least because some of what they say chimes with dominant political and economic narratives. So you will doubtless be hearing a lot about them.
Their treatises are worth reading. In some important respects they are either right or at least wrong in an interesting way. In other respects … well, I will come to that in a moment.
With the help of science, technology and development, they maintain, human impacts on the natural world can be decoupled from economic activity. People can “increase their standard of living while doing less damage to the environment.” By intensifying our impacts in some places, other places can be spared. Through reduced population growth, the saturation of demand among prosperous consumers and improved technological efficiency, we can become both rich and green.