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The Ecophobia Hypothesis
 9781138502055, 9781315144689

Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
1 Material Ecocriticism, Genes, and the Phobia/Philia Spectrum
2 Terror and Ecophobia
3 Ecomedia and Ecophobia: Marketing Concerns
4 From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology
5 Animals, Ecophobia, and Food
6 Madness and Ecophobia
7 The Ecophobic Unconscious: Indifference to Waste and Junk Agency
Works Cited

Citation preview

The Ecophobia Hypothesis

The Ecophobia Hypothesis grows out of the sense that while the theory of biophilia has productively addressed ideal human affinities with nature, the capacity of “the biophilia hypothesis” as an explanatory model of human/ environment relations is limited. The biophilia hypothesis cannot adequately account for the kinds of things that are going on in the world, things so extraordinary that we are increasingly coming to understand the current age as “the Anthropocene.” Building on the usefulness of the biophilia hypothesis, this book argues that biophilia exists on a broader spectrum that has not been adequately theorized. The Ecophobia Hypothesis claims that in order to contextualize biophilia (literally, the “love of life”) and the spectrum on which it sits, it is necessary to theorize how very un-philic human uses of the natural world are. This volume offers a rich tapestry of connected, comparative discussions about the new material turn and the urgent need to address the agency of genes, about the complexities of 21st century representations of ecophobia, and about how imagining terror interpenetrates the imagining of an increasingly oppositional natural environment. Furthermore, this book proposes that ecophobia is one root cause that explains why ecomedia—a veritably thriving industry—is having so little measurable impact in transforming our adaptive capacities. The ecophobia hypothesis offers an equation that determines the variable spectrums of the Anthropocene by measuring the ecophobic implications and inequalities of speciesism and the entanglement of environmental ethics with the writing of literary madness and pain. This work also investigates how current ecophobic perspectives systemically institutionalize the infrastructures of industrial agriculture and waste management. This is a book about revealing ecophobia and prompting transformational change. Simon C. Estok is a Senior Fellow and Full Professor at South Korea’s oldest university, Sungkyunkwan University (established in 1398), where he teaches literary theory, ecocriticism, and Shakespearean literature. He is a recipient of the Shanghai Metropolitan Government “Oriental Scholar” Award (东方学者) (2015–2018) at the Research Center for Comparative Literature and World ­Literatures at Shanghai Normal University. His award-winning book Ecocriticism and Shakespeare: Reading Ecophobia appeared in 2011 (reprinted 2014), and he is the coeditor of a book entitled Landscape, Seascape, and the Eco-­Spatial Imagination (Routledge, 2016). Estok also coedited International Perspectives in Feminist Ecocriticism (Routledge, 2013) and East Asian ­Ecocriticisms (Macmillan, 2013), and has published extensively on ecocriticism and Shakespeare in such journals as PMLA, Mosaic, Configurations, English Studies in Canada, Concentric, and Neohelicon. Estok received his MA and PhD in English Literature from the University of Alberta.

Routledge Studies in World Literatures and the Environment

1  Captivity Literature and the Environment Nineteenth-Century American Cross-Cultural Collaborations Kyhl D. Lyndgaard 2  Ecogothic in Nineteenth-Century American Literature Edited by Dawn Keetley and Matthew Wynn Sivils 3  The Ecophobia Hypothesis Simon C. Estok With a Foreword by Sophie Christman

The Ecophobia Hypothesis

Simon C. Estok With a Foreword by Sophie Christman

First published 2018 by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2018 Taylor & Francis The right of Simon C. Estok to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Estok, Simon C., author. Title: The ecophobia hypothesis / by Simon C. Estok. Description: New York; London: Routledge, 2018. | Series: Routledge studies in world literatures and the environment; 3Identifiers: LCCN 2018007822 Subjects: LCSH: Human ecology in literature. | Ecology in literature. | Nature—Effect of human beings on. Classification: LCC PN56.H76 E88 2018 | DDC 809/.9336—dc23 LC record available at ISBN: 978-1-138-50205-5 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-14468-9 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by codeMantra

To the memory of my mother.

‫לעילוי נשמת אמי ע״ה‬


Foreword Sophie Christman Acknowledgments

ix xvii

Introduction 1 1 Material Ecocriticism, Genes, and the Phobia/Philia Spectrum 20 2 Terror and Ecophobia 35 3 Ecomedia and Ecophobia: Marketing Concerns 52 4 From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology 78 5 Animals, Ecophobia, and Food 92 6 Madness and Ecophobia 119 7 The Ecophobic Unconscious: Indifference to Waste and Junk Agency 136 Works Cited Index

159 183

Foreword Sophie Christman

“People acquire phobias,” evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson observed, to “abrupt and intractable aversions, to the objects and circumstances that threaten humanity in natural environments” (The Diversity of Life 351). This often overlooked observation, conceptualized by an evolutionary biologist whose canon launched the Western corpus of biodiversity theories, locates an important problem unique to humanity’s current climate change moment—our phobia of nature. How many of us have jumped with fear at the sight of a nearby hairy spider, become alarmed by a slithering snake, or panicked at the clap of a lightning bolt? Why have we conditioned ourselves, as 21st century hominids, to dread the Earth’s daily descent into darkness, avoiding night by flipping the infrastructural switch of artificial light? In modernity’s modern moment, how has our all-consuming fear of nature created the collective human condition that Simon C. Estok terms the trauma of “ecophobia”? The fear of nature, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a condition that exists in its own category as a specific psychological phobia. Specific phobias, claim Lisa M. Shin and Israel Liberzon, “are marked by excessive, unreasonable and persistent fear of specific objects or situations” (179). Estok’s The Ecophobia Hypothesis registers these specific phobic instances of irrational fear and chronic aversion to nature whose cumulative effects have abetted the now irreversible course of global planetary warming. This fear of nature, Estok claims, has spurred a maladaptive “antagonism between humans and their environments,” the seriousness of which is evidenced by our human legacy—the Anthropocene (1). Estok begins his theorization of ecophobia by extending Serenella Iovino and Serpil Oppermann’s foundational work on material ecocriticisms: in short, he claims that ecophobia is undergirded by material and genetic components. The genesis for his hypothesis derives from Wilson’s 1984 theory of biophilia, defined as “the innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes” (Biophilia 1). The biophilic impulse, Wilson suggests, assumes a human “urge to affiliate with other forms of life” (85). The incubi of this theory, arguing an innate human conservation ethic that is affiliative with the natural environment, followed the advent of the American environmental movement led by biologist Rachel Carson’s canonic Silent Spring.

x Foreword And yet, in our 21st century moment, Estok reminds us that the idealism of Wilson’s beloved biophilia notion has not yet come to pass in practice; within this sober reckoning, we must acknowledge that over the history of humanity, we have taken a collective wrong turn away from terrifying nature, irrevocably destroying Earth systems. Our fears and aversions to what Estok deems nature’s dynamic, self-sufficient, and oftentimes violent “biotic communities” have disrupted our inherited biological drives and adaptive survival strategies. The modern human aversion to nature has, as Estok notes in his final chapter on garbage, conditioned our defenses to avoid the natural environment by aggressively erecting global and off-planet infrastructures of waste (75). What Wilson originally termed our “affiliation” with nature, today comprises what Estok describes in Chapter 4 as a type of “hollow ecology” or pseudo-union with Earth’s animals, plants, and minerals (116). And Estok makes us aware, in his second and third chapters, how this pseudo-union with nature is mediated through a cultural infrastructure of digital images that rapidly traverse the globe, creating enmeshments between terror, tragedy, and ecophobia. The ecophobic condition, he importantly claims, describes how we mask our relationships with rights-deprived nonhuman animals at home; in zoos; or, as he describes in his “Animals, Ecophobia, and Food” chapter, as meals. Evidence of ecophobia is also present when we engineer agrochemical practices that genetically alter plants while depositing toxic pollution into the Earth’s waterways and soils. And it certainly exists in our maladaptive relationship to minerals: humanity, in both neoliberal and economically developing nations, has formed surprisingly close associations with minerals by first gutting them from Earth’s crust and then appropriating them as commodity class adornments such as jewelry, which begs the question how do we make luxury taboo? As the prudent Celia observes in S­ hakespeare’s As You Like It, “the little foolery that wise men have makes a great show.” This tragic “show”—the Anthropocene—results from the human disavowal of nature. The history of the Anthropocene—or what is commonly referred to as “The Great Acceleration” and spurred by 19th century ­industrialism—is like Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7 in A, op. 92: just as the first movement begins very slowly, so did life on Earth. The symphony, the Earth, and now the Anthropocene all exist on very large scales that emphasize vast chords of carefully arranged musical, ecological, and forevermore destructive rhythms. Just like the ever-present permeation of the flute in Symphony no. 7’s four movements, humans have enmeshed themselves within the Earth’s soil, sea, and sky for 200,000 years. In our more recent history, we have created an allegro-like whirling frenzy of unrestricted and out of control industries that have ­abandoned—in a muscular show of force—Earth’s sophisticated ecology. Intransdisciplinary ways, both Beethoven and Estok can teach us valuable lessons regarding the Anthropocene: just as Symphony no. 7’s scherzo

Foreword  xi emphasizes the halting note of a-minor, the condition of global warming has triggered, as Carol L. Berzonsky and Susanne C. Moser acknowledge, the “profound ending” to life as we know it (“Becoming homo sapiens sapiens” 19). The abrupt phenomena of climate change has stalled our party and put modernity on pause as we begin to take responsibility for the dangerous ecological enmeshments that we, as humans, have carelessly created. Estok’s concept of ecophobia, like Beethoven’s sustained A note, forces us to confront our collective environmental error. Estok’s theorization performs what Stacy Alaimo calls on us to do: begin to “unmoor” our self-deceptions and critical ambivalence about our relationship with nonhuman nature (Alaimo 407).1 Estok is in league with a growing number of ecocritics, including Andy Fisher, Peter H. Kahn Jr. and Patricia H. Hasbach, Susanne C. Moser, Bill Plotkin, Theodore Roszak, Susan Rowland, and Fernando Castrillon, who have begun to use psychology and neuropsychology to emphasize the maladaptive human behaviors that have caused this global quandary. Moser, in particular, has succinctly defined maladaptive behaviors as “the denial of the existence of the threat… a belief that the problem won’t happen here…blaming others for it… wishful thinking… that the problem will go away on its own…. the displacement of one’s attention” or a general paralysis about the situation (67–68). Her rationale suggests that humans, even while experiencing a “psychic numbing” to climate change, are still complicit since we resist correcting our maladaptive responses. The Ecophobia Hypothesis, as Estok gingerly describes in his Introduction, is a timely “Platonic stepping stone” that considers a new methodological model to address the human complicity in climate change (2). Admitting the cleft between theory and practice, this hypothesis offers a new conceptual model that uses the interdisciplinary frameworks of the natural sciences, social sciences, and the environmental humanities, extending what Jesse Oak Taylor has dubbed as humanity’s “abnatural” relationship with Earth’s ecological environments (5). Incorporating the basic human affects of fear and anger into his definition, Estok reasons that The ecophobic condition exists on a spectrum and can embody fear, contempt, indifference, or lack of mindfulness (or some combination of these) towards the natural environment. While its genetic origins have functioned, in part, to preserve our species, the ecophobic condition has also greatly serviced growth economies and ideological interests. Often a product of behaviors serviceable in the past but destructive in the present, it is also sometimes a product of the perceived requirements of our seemingly exponential growth. Ecophobia exists globally on both macro and micro levels, and its manifestation is at times directly apparent and obvious but is also often deeply obscured by the clutter of habit and ignorance. (Introduction 1)

xii Foreword Estok’s theory begins to address how the unique human condition of ecophobia has undermined humanity’s self-preservation in its own ­environment—what E. Ann Kaplan has provocatively noted is a unique human form of eco-suicide (143). Estok’s theory first seeks our acceptance of ecophobia as a maladaptive, reflexive, and somewhat unconscious condition that is based in affect. He then offers intelligent insights about the ways in which we have amplified our aggressions towards nature, and he does so in a practical attempt to jump-start the reconditioning of our affective connections to nature. The book’s first chapter importantly asks us to reconsider the relationships between biophilia and ecophobia; Estok claims that both biophilia and ecophobia are located “on opposite ends of the same spectrum” (22). As Wilson notes in The Diversity of Life, biophilia involves “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life” (350). Therefore, it is reasonable to extend his premise to include ecophobia as a distinct affective condition occurring on the same pathological spectrum as biophilia, albeit positioned at the other end of the range. Both Wilson and Estok agree that phobias are acquired in what Wilson first described as the process of “prepared learning” (The Social Conquest of Earth 59). Though both consider the intricacies of neuroscience networks in forming phobias, it is significant that Wilson, as an evolutionary biologist, admits to the social acquisition of phobia as a maladaptive trait: this admission suggests possibilities for what Eva Jablonka has newly noted as a type of cultural epigenetic framework incorporating not just the biological sciences but, as she describes, “the social sciences and the humanities” (“Cultural Epigenetics” 55). Within the social science disciplines, environmental psychologists are addressing, as Janet K. Swim et al. note, the urgent “cognitive, affective, and motivational processes” of climate change adaptation (242). Psychology, Swim claims, is particularly suited to prompt a new value system by emphasizing how “collective action driven by individuals’ short-term benefits… degrades a long-term common good” (243). More recently, Berzonsky and Moser have put forth a polemical methodology for enacting the “psycho-cultural transformation” needed to confront climate change (15). Drawing from depth psychology’s archetypal death and rebirth process, they delineate the procedures involved in the “psychological transformative process” (17). This process first involves one’s severance from previous lifestyles, followed by an uncomfortable passing from the liminal death process to an eventual psychological renewal that supports “life-sustaining” cultures (19). Going forward, ecocritical scholars and scientists can utilize these cultural epigenetic frameworks to expand lines of inquiry into the study of ecophobia from the diverse and multiple perspectives of the biological sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. As Scott Slovic has suggested, the environmental humanities are central to this task since the field theorizes and succinctly communicates the ways in which “natural systems” are interpreted by human culture (181).

Foreword  xiii One cannot consider the ecophobia hypothesis without also taking into account the term’s origins and its theoretical lineage. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term “phobia” as “(A) fear, (a) horror, (an) aversion; esp. an abnormal and irrational fear or dread aroused by a particular object or circumstance.” The first recorded use of the term occurred in 1786 in The Columbian magazine, or monthly miscellany, which defined “phobia” as the “fear of an imaginary evil, or an undue fear of a real one.” By the 19th century, the scientific study of phobias saw its early theorizations in studies of fear by scientists such as Charles Darwin. In his Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), Darwin noted that fear is “the most depressing of all the emotions,” inducing “helpless prostration, as if in consequence of, or in association with, the most violent and prolonged attempts to escape from the danger” (82–83). He went on to observe that “nevertheless, even extreme fear often acts at first as a powerful stimulant. A man or animal driven through terror to desperation, is endowed with wonderful strength, and is notoriously dangerous in the highest degree” (83). Emphasizing the scalar intensity of fear, Darwin suggested the term “terror” as a mode of extreme fear manifested by facial expressions, a rapid heartbeat, perspiration, and pupil dilation, among other things. Darwin’s studies of fear were extended with the advent of the scientific study of phobia conditions at the fin de siѐcle. In particular, Théodule Ribot’s Psychology of the Emotions (1897) began by distinguishing between hereditary, instinctual, and “unreasoning” fears, and those derived from experiences located in consciousness (209). Ribot observed clear differences between stages of fear, distinguishing them as either “healthy” or “morbid,” reasoning that forms of fear that cease to be useful to survival become destructive and pathological (213). Importantly, he observed that morbid fears that are “disproportionate” and “chronic” are examples of phobias (213). Freud’s notions of phobias, notes David S. Spira, evolved over three decades. Freud’s early understanding, put forth in 1894, theorized that phobias derive from unconscious affective reactions to trauma. This theory evolved between 1895 and 1920 with the Little Hans (1909) and Wolf Man (1918) case examples, which considered the formation of phobias through modes of objectification, repression, and displacement. Freud’s theory evolved once more in 1926, according to Spira, and focused on whether phobia is “an inhibition or a symptom” consisting of displacement and regression (390). While Spira claims that Freud was left unsatisfied with his canon of phobia theorizations, they remain relevant to the theory at hand—ecophobia. In “The Unconscious” (1915), Freud hypothesizes three stages inherent in the formation of phobias: unconscious anxiety, displacement and repression, and avoidance. These three modes are quite apparent in the many ways in which Estok’s book evidences ecophobic conditions in novels, poetry, plays, films, and mainstream media.

xiv Foreword The Ecophobia Hypothesis helps us consider fear’s biological and psychological bases in order to help us renegotiate our phobias of nature. Estok’s proposal, evidenced by today’s scientific studies that have made major advances in our understanding of the neurocircuitry of fear, anxiety, and phobias, is a reasonable proposition. The key physiological locations of fear circuitry, note Shin and Liberzon, include the amygdala, hippocampus, brain stem, insular cortex, and brain’s prefrontal regions (169). Yet, almost one hundred and fifty years after Darwin’s studies on fear, the exact brain location where fear memories are stored is still under debate (170). What we do know, according to Shin and Liberzon, is that avoidance and aversion—two hallmarks of ecophobia—are chronic reactions to anxiety and fear that cause us “significant distress and/or impairment in occupational, academic, or social functioning” (179). These maladaptations, extended to what we may now consider the epidemic of ecophobia, are quite significant, given that Shin and Liberzon cite phobias as a “common disorder, with a lifetime prevalence of 7–11% (APA, 2000)” (179). In considering the biology of fear, scientists now agree, claims Lea Winerman, that “the amygdala—a small, ­almond-shaped structure in the middle of the brain’s temporal lobes—is a key player” of phobias, and its “malfunctions” are associated with phobic formation (96). Although evidence now clearly indicates that phobic fears reside as brain-based material biological entities, Estok finds the way forward to this homoecological quandary by underscoring the epigenesis of ecophobia as a cultural illness deriving mostly from our maladaptive conditioning. 2 So, what is the way forward? We must first honestly acknowledge our fear of nature: how we displace it, repress it, or mask it. Estok’s analyses of waste provide a perfect Freudian analogy of our ecophobia of garbage since we universally displace our waste onto garbage barges or bury it in landfills that are then sealed by a cover mask of soil, grass, and kudzu. This mediation and disguise of our waste symbolizes humanity’s hollow ecology, and it is only when we begin to reframe our displacement and masking of garbage in this way as ecophobic repression that we can begin to cognitively restructure the way we approach the ecological systems of Earth. Just as the fields of ecofeminism, ecocinema, and ecomedia have emerged as environmental humanities’ subfields, Estok’s ecophobia hypothesis invites us to consider the ways in which the human condition has adopted the maladaptive trait of cultural ecophobia. It is a jarring invitation but one that, if acted on, could engender the human resiliency to restore our collective ecological trust. Sophie Christman, Ph.D. SUNY Stony Brook University

Foreword  xv

Notes 1 Many scholars have contributed diverse lines of inquiry to the ecocritical canon, including Joni Adamson’s work on indigenous cosmopolitics, Kevin Curran’s ecocriticism of Shakespeare, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s considerations of the inhuman, Greta Gaard’s theorizations on feminist ecocriticism, ­Catriona Sandiland’s considerations of political ecofeminisms, Nicole Seymour’s work on queer ecologies, Michael Rubenstein’s theories on infrastructure, and Cary Wolfe’s ideas on posthumanism, among many others. 2 Here, I purposely entangle the human genus within Earth’s ecology systems.

Bibliography Adamson, Joni. “Indigenous Literatures, Multinaturalism, and Avatar: The Emergence of Indigenous Cosmopolitics.” American Literary History, vol. 24, no. 1, 2012, pp. 143–167, doi: 10.1093/alh/ajr053. Alaimo, Stacy. “Unmoor.” Veer Ecology: A Companion for Environmental Thinking, edited by Jeffrey J. Cohen and Lowell Duckert, foreword by Cheryll Glotfelty, afterword by Nicholas Royle, U of Minnesota P, 2017, pp. 407–420. Berzonsky, Carol L. and Susanne C. Moser. “Becoming Homo Sapiens Sapiens: Mapping the Psycho-Cultural Transformation in the Anthropocene.” Anthropocene, vol. 20, November 2017, pp. 15–23, 2017.11.002. Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman. University of Minnesota, 2015. Compton, Allan. “The Psychoanalytic View of Phobias: Part I: Freud’s Theories of Phobias.” Psychoanalytic Quarterly, vol. 61, no. 2, April 1992, pp. 206–209. Curran, Kevin. Shakespeare’s Legal Ecologies: Law and Distributed Selfhood. Northwestern UP, 2017. Darwin, Charles. The Expressions of Emotions in Man and Animals, edited by Joe Cain and Sharon Messenger. With an Introduction by Joe Cain. Penguin, 2009 [1872]. Fisher, Andy. Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life. SUNY, 2013. Freud, Sigmund. “The Unconscious.” The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (1914–1916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Metapsychology and Other Works, ii–viii, edited and translated by James Strachey, The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-analysis, 1957 [1915], pp. 159–215. Gaard, Greta, Simon C. Estok, and Serpil Oppermann, editors. International Perspectives in Feminist Ecocriticism. Routledge, 2013. Iovino, Serenella and Serpil Oppermann, editors. Material Ecocriticism. Indiana UP, 2014. Jablonka, Eva. “Cultural Epigentics.” The Sociological Review Monographs, vol. 64, no 1, February 2017, pp. 42–60, doi: 10.1111/2059-7932.12012. Jablonka, Eva and Marion J. Lamb. With Illustrations by Anna Zeligowski. Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life. MIT, 2006.

xvi Foreword Kahn, Jr., Peter H. and Patricia H. Hasbach, editors. Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species, MIT, 2012. Kaplan, E. Ann. Afterword: Humans and Eco- (or Is It Sui->) Cide. Climate Trauma: Foreseeing the Future in Dystopian Film and Fiction, by Kaplan, Rutgers UP, 2016, pp. 143–150. LeDoux, Joseph. “The Emotional Brain, Fear, and the Amygdala.” Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, vol. 23, nos. 4–5, October 2003, pp. 727–738. Moser, Susanne C. “More Bad News: The Risk of Neglecting Emotional Responses to Climate Change Information.” Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change, edited by Susanne C. Moser and Lisa Dilling, Cambridge, 2007, pp. 64–80. Plotkin, Bill. Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World. New World Library, 2008. Rauch, Scott L., Lisa M. Shin, and Christopher I. Wright. “Neuroimaging Studies of Amygdala Function in Anxiety Disorders.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 985, April 2003, pp. 389–410. Ribot, Théodule. The Psychology of the Emotions. Walter Scott, Ltd., 1897. Roszak, Theodore. The Voice of the Earth. Simon and Schuster, 1992. Rowland, Susan. The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolutionary Complexity and Jung. Routledge, 2012. Rubenstein, Michael. Public Works: Infrastructure, Irish Modernism, and the Post Colonial. U of Notre Dame, 2010. Sandilands, Catriona. The Good-Natured Feminist: Ecofeminism and the Quest for Democracy. U of Minnesota, 1999. Sewall, Laura. Sight and Sensibility: The Ecopsychology of Perception. Putnam, 1999. Seymour, Nicole. Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination. U of Illinois, 2013. Shakespeare, William. As You like It. Folger Shakespeare Library, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. Simon and Schuster, 1997. Shin, Lisa M. and Israel Liberzon. “The Neurocircuitry of Fear, Stress, and Anxiety Disorders” Neuropsychopharmacology, Reviews, vol. 35, June 2009, pp. 169–191. Slovic, Scott. “Commentary.” American Literary History, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 180–188. Spira, David S. “The Evolution of Freud’s Conceptualization of Phobias.” Psychoanalytic Inquiry, vol. 11, no. 3, 1991, pp. 376–394, doi: 10.1080/0735 1699109533864. Swim, Janet K., et al. “Psychology’s Contributions to Understanding and Addressing Global Climate Change.” American Psychologist, vol. 66, no. 4, May–June 2011, pp. 241–250. Taylor, Jesse O. The Sky of Our Manufacture: The London Fog in British Fiction from Dickens to Woolf. U of Virginia P, 2016. Wilson, Edward O. Biophilia. Harvard UP, 1984. ———. The Diversity of Life. Belknap, 1992. ———. The Social Conquest of Earth. Liveright, 2012. Winerman, Lea. “Figuring Out Phobia.” Monitor on Psychology, vol. 36, no 7, July/August 2005, p. 96. Wolfe, Cary. What Is Posthumanism? U of Minnesota, 2010.


I want to thank Dr. Sophie Christman for her meticulous reading of several drafts of this book, in each of which she contributed sometimes brilliant conceptual insights, often wise editorial suggestions, and always unwavering encouragement and concise constructive criticism—and all of this while completing her dissertation on sustainable citizenship. When she agreed to write a Foreword, I was delighted, and I thank her for this. For her patience, diligence, intelligence, and kindness, I owe more than words can express. Without her, The Ecophobia Hypothesis would have been a very different, much weaker book. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to Greta Gaard, Scott Slovic, Iris Ralph, Doug Berman, Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek, Serpil Oppermann, and Shiuhhuah (Serena) Chou for reading and offering valuable comments on various chunks of this book. I am lucky and grateful to have had many opportunities to bounce ideas off of people, and I want to acknowledge this gratitude to Peter Singer, David Suzuki, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Vin Nardizzi, Ursula Heise, Won-Chung Kim, Harri Salovaara, Peter I-Min Huang, Zümre Gizem Yılmaz, Hong Chen (Lily Chen), Stephanie Bory, Muriel Cassel-Piccot, Molina Klingler, Başak Ağin, Xinmin Liu, Fatma Aykanat, Gülşah Göçmen, Peichin Chuang, ­Jonggab Kim, Pelin ­Kumbet, Young-Hyun Lee, Yoonji Lee, Rayson Alex, Dan Bloom, S. ­Susan ­Deborah, Saikat Banerjee, Peter Hajdu, Kerim Can Yazgünoğlu, ­Jonathan White, Susan Oliver, Ken Dong, Antoine Coppola, and Rabbi Osher Litzman. I would like to express my gratitude to the following venues for allowing opportunities to test and refine my ideas: the University of Cambridge (ASLE-UKI Conference: Green Knowledge); Leiden University in the Netherlands (Waste in Asia Conference); the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho (ASLE 2015 Conference); the International Symposium on Literature and Environment in East Asia—Unsetting Boundaries: Nature, Technology, Art in Okinawa, Japan; the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium (The 7th Biennial Meeting of the EASLCE, the European Association for the Study of Culture, Literature and Environment); Dr. K. N. Modi University in Rajasthan, India (The Environmental Justice, Culture, Resistance and Ethics and tiNai Ecofilm Festival); the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University

xviii Acknowledgments in Vancouver, Canada (Oecologies: Engaging the World, from Here); Hohai University in Nanjing, China (The International Symposium on Contemporary Literature as Cultural Production and Its Research Paradigms); Shanghai Normal University (the Environmental Humanities on the Ground: Materiality, Sustainability, and Applicability); Seoul City Hall (the International Symposium on Sustainable Urban Forest and Environmental Humanities); the Université Jean Moulin - Lyon 3 in Lyon, France (Croissance verte: de la théorie à la pratique; du savoir au pouvoir); M. E. S. College of Arts & Commerce in Goa, India (International Conference on the Culture of Food); Tamkang University in ­Danshui, Taipei, Taiwan (A Symposium on Sci-Fi and Planetary Healing); ­Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany (the Ecology and Life Writing conference); National Sun Yat-Sen University in ­Kaohsiung, Taiwan (E(co)-Media: Restoring Affect and Creativity—a one-day symposium with Simon Estok and Joni Adamson); and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai (The 4th International Symposium on Ethical Literary Criticism). Routledge has been a pleasure to work with, and I am indebted to the editorial staff there, particularly Michelle Salyga, Assunta Petrone, and Tim Swenarton for their diligence and support. The many suggestions of the anonymous readers made this a much better book than it was. I am also deeply grateful to Rachel Nishan and the indexing staff at Twin Oaks. In 2010, I thanked Peter I-Min Huang for graciously letting me use his office (and thus allowing me to put some of the finishing touches on my first book) during my month-long visit to Tamkang University in the summer of that year. He did it again in the summer of 2017 as I put some of the finishing touches on The Ecophobia Hypothesis, and, again, I thank him. I owe a debt of gratitude too to his two students (Monica Jai and Fang Yi Lee), who minded my children when I was in the library. The staff of the Sungkyunkwan University library have also been enormously helpful and have always responded kindly and quickly to my emails labeled “EXTREMELY URGENT,” and I want to thank Cha Yong Keun in particular for getting me articles and books from other libraries within Korea and from abroad with speed that often left me speechless. This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-­ Project No. 2014S1A6A4024636). I would like to thank the NRF for its generous support. I also thank Sungkyunkwan University for its constant support. Earlier versions of some of the chapters of this book have been published elsewhere. Chapter 1 has appeared in different form as an article by the same name in Neohelicon; large portions of Chapter 2 have appeared in earlier form in CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture

Acknowledgments  xix and Frame, a Journal of Literary Studies; parts of Chapter 3 have appeared in earlier form in ISLE and Neohelicon; Chapter 4 grew out of my “Hollow Ecology and Anthropocene Scales of Measurement” in Mosaic (forthcoming September 2018); and Chapter 7 appears in a much different form in Cultura. I also want to thank Jonathan and Sophia for being my children and for their intelligence, which is reflected in their being mindful of what they do and what they consume, and I want to thank them in advance for all of the work that they will do to make the world a better place. Finally, I would like to thank my hero, my wonder woman, my wife, Cho ­Yeon-hee, who, for more than half of the year while I’m in Seoul, does all of the practical work of raising our children in Vancouver, scurrying them to school and to their various lessons; doing their clothes; making their food and beds; cleaning the house; and, at the same time, working on her PhD, with a respite of a mere hour a day when I take the kids away for a Skype call. To Yeon-hee, I owe the deepest gratitude. Vancouver January 2018


Ecophobia is a uniquely human psychological condition that prompts antipathy toward nature. The American Psychological Association defines “phobia” as “a persistent fear of a specific object, activity, or situation (i.e., the phobic stimulus) out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the specific object or situation that results in a compelling desire to avoid it” (827). We may tentatively define the “specific phobia” toward nature as “ecophobia.”1 It is a phobia that has largely derived from modernity’s irrational2 fear of nature and hence has created an antagonism between humans and their environments. This antagonism, in which humans sometimes view nature as an opponent, can be expressed toward natural physical geographies (mountains, windswept plains), animals (snakes, spiders, bears), extreme meteorological events (Shakespearean tempests, hurricanes in New Orleans, typhoons), bodily processes and products (microbes, bodily odors, menstruation, defecation), and biotic land-, air-, and seascapes (every creeping thing that creepeth, every swarming thing that swarms, partings of—and beasts from—the sea).3 The ecophobic condition exists on a spectrum4 and can embody fear, contempt, indifference, or lack of mindfulness (or some combination of these) toward the natural environment. While its genetic origins have functioned, in part, to preserve our species (for instance, the fight or flight response), the ecophobic condition has also greatly serviced growth economies and ideological interests. Often a product of behaviors serviceable in the past but destructive in the present, it is also sometimes a product of the perceived requirements of our seemingly exponential growth.5 Ecophobia exists globally on both macro and micro levels, and its manifestation is at times directly apparent and obvious but is also often deeply obscured by the clutter of habit and ignorance. Writers, social theorists, and especially industries often perpetuate ecophobia through their unwitting representations of it, much as they have done with sexism, classism, racism, and homophobia. Indeed, ecophobia’s structural links and similarities with these comprise mutually sustaining feedback loops that are at once socially and environmentally oppressive. There is no template for uncovering any of these, and it is sometimes slogging work.

2  Introduction This book engages in some of that work and begins with ecophobia as a hypothesis in Plato’s sense of hypotheses as being “stepping stones and starting points” (165). The Ecophobia Hypothesis grows out of several concerns. The first of these articulates the limitations of E.O. Wilson’s well-wrought notion of biophilia; while important and idealistic, the biophilia concept does not explain why humanity continues to generate environmental crises at ever-worsening rates, with increasingly dangerous effects that disproportionately impact women, indigenous people, developing countries, the global south, low-lying nations, queer communities, and nonhuman animals. The second concern that prompted me to write The Ecophobia Hypothesis has to do with the nature of ecophobia itself and our failings to fully acknowledge the condition as a human maladaptation to the natural environment. Although the term “ecophobia” has been a part of the critical vocabulary within the environmental humanities since my 2009 “Theorizing in a Space of Ambivalent Openness: Ecocriticism and Ecophobia” (referred to as “Theorizing” from here on), there is clearly a need to hypothesize the existence and factuality of ecophobia as a starting point for understanding the origins of the Anthropocene, of current environmental crises, and of climate change.6

Controversy? What Controversy? It has been dubbed “The Estok-Robisch Controversy,”7 and it began with the publication of “Theorizing” in the spring of 2009 in the flagship journal of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE). This provocative article changed the direction of ecocriticism in unexpected ways. It evoked a fiery response from former Purdue University professor Kip Robisch, and this response substantially shifted ecocritical groundings. Robisch responded by complaining that theory, in his view, is counterproductive. He indicated that he has no patience for what he called “Francophilic scholasticism” (703), and he encouraged direct action against scholars he believes are “nature-­fakers” (707).8 The article was a disturbing manifestation of a resistance to theory (replete with threats of violence and an accompanying and working email address) that had the exact opposite effect of what he seems to have had in mind. A host of well-respected scholars have responded, and I include lengthy quotations from them here to make clear the fact that there really was and is little controversy, if any, at all—except perhaps to Robisch. In his review of ecocritical theory in The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (2009), Greg Garrard correctly identified the core of ­Robisch’s discontent as being a concern over the role of theory in ecocriticism. Though it might more properly be seen as a debate than a controversy, the phrase has certainly gained traction. Louisa M ­ ackenzie and

Introduction  3 Stephanie Posthumus summarized the contours of the debate exceptionally well in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment: In the Spring 2009 ISLE issue, an article was published by the wellknown ecocritic Simon Estok entitled “Theorizing in a Space of Ambivalent Openness: Ecocriticism and Ecophobia” (hereafter referred to as “Theorizing”). As its title suggests, the article was a position piece on theory itself. Estok argued the potential of the notion of ecophobia to provide a point of coalescence within the currently “open” and “ambivalent” space of ecocriticism, and suggested that such confluent theorizations would not only make ecocriticism more rigorous but also make theory itself more engaged with activism. “Theorizing” was sure to provoke debate, and it is still doing so—but the controversy came from the blazing response, published two issues later, of S. K. Robisch: “The Woodshed: A Response to ‘Ecocriticism and Ecophobia’” (which we’ll refer to as “The Woodshed”). This article sees Estok as representative of a modern theoretical machine in need of “monkey-wrenching” (700), a “masturbatory apparatus” (698) that erases nature and has nothing to do with green activism. “Francophilic scholasticism” (703) comes in for a particular drubbing. Furthermore, the author invites the like-minded to contact him at a published e-mail address in order to show up at conferences with red paint to “go PETA on these nature-fakers, these seated hikers” (707). “Feeding theory to the animals” will apparently merit an encounter with the “wrong end of [his] walking stick” (708), an echo of the title’s woodshed. (758) Ethan Mannon has also discussed “Robisch’s near-fanatic desire to defend the purity of an ecocriticism untainted by theory” (3) and characterizes the debate as follows: Robisch declares Estok’s piece contemptible from the start because it is hospitable towards theory. Robisch demonstrates a clear distrust of “the culture of ‘theory’”—which, he argues, “seeks rank and power more than it seeks art and insight,” “relinquishes thorough analysis in a quest for the limelight,” and “is the Monsanto of a native grassland” (698, 699, 703). Throughout his article, Robisch’s message to sympathetic readers is clear: he suggests it is high time to “start monkey-wrenching the theory machine” and concludes with a rallying cry capable of producing a wide range of emotions, including amusement, passion, and even anxiety (700). After describing his urge to pelt a panel of theorists with karo-syrup-filled water balloons, Robisch outlines his vision of a militant ecocriticism: he writes …. ‘Theory’

4  Introduction fantasizes itself victimized. I say, dreams can come true” (707) …. the Estok-­Robisch exchange stands apart in terms of venom. (2) Serpil Oppermann has described it thus: Estok’s provocative thesis on ecophobia has attracted some serious hostilities against theory in general, as exemplified by S.K. Robisch’s essay in the following Autumn 2009 issue of ISLE. This piece, which goes against the very spirit of ecocritical notions of engagement, places praxis in opposition to theory in the name of embracing the active side of life, which ironically leads to the nature/culture dichotomy ecocriticism has persistently sought to avoid. … Robisch’s fierceness, is a clear sign of an epistemic crisis in the field. (161, 163) Richard Pickard, past president of ALECC (the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada) observed in a blog that Simon Estok writes a mostly reasonable … piece suggesting that ecocritics need to think and work in a more consistently theoretical way. … It’s a solid piece … S.K. Robisch writes—and to his great detriment, Scott Slovic publishes—an angry and unhelpfully ad hominem reply to Estok, representing as well as a broader response to “the ecocritical equivalent of cosmetics testers—from Neil Evernden through Timothy Morton.” (I don’t think I’m alone in not understanding the equation in this phrase, or in disliking what I think I understand.) In Robisch’s view, “Poststructuralism, cultural criticism, and their sleazy uncle ‘theory’ have spun out of control to the point at which we should expect more frequent deformities resulting from inbreeding.” Perhaps most startlingly, Robisch suggests asking this question of conference presenters talking about questions of the animal: “If I got naked right now and came running at you, howling, what would you do?” It’s the kind of piece for which the word “screed” was invented—and I don’t think I’ve ever used the word before. ( And finally, Matthew A. Taylor, in a thoughtful discussion of Poe and posthuman ecology, one that seeks more detailed discussion and nuancing of the theory and definitions of ecophobia, found Robisch’s argument to be problematic, both for its Manichaean depiction of the evils of theory and for the violence with which its

Introduction  5 author imagines visiting physical harm upon his theoretical adversaries, as when he fantasizes withholding “food and water” from a “poststructuralist” stranded in the forest “until the survivor acknowledges the representational value of words like ‘giardia’… and ‘grizzly bear’” (705). Timothy Morton voices a similar concern regarding Robisch’s rhetoric in “Queer Ecology,” PMLA 125 (March 2010): 273–82. (370) Given the storm that was developing, the ISLE editor first added to the journal a disclaimer that ISLE would not publish articles that “imply the incitement of violence” and second issued “a call for submissions to a special forum on the broader topic of ‘Ecocriticism and Theory’ that would appear in a 2010 ISLE issue” (Slovic “Further Reflections”). The call—though it made no mention of the two articles that motivated it (mine or Robisch’s), effectively silencing debate about both—appeared in the first issue of 2010 and barely touched the hypothesizing that spurred it. Theorizng about “ecophobia” is now flourishing in the rich soils of ecocriticism and the environmental humanities. Tom Hillard’s “‘Deep Into That Darkness Peering’: An Essay on Gothic Nature” was in the same ISLE issue as the Robisch piece. Hillard is the first scholar to have made the connection between ecophobia and gothic nature. He suggests that to start analyzing ecophobia, “we need look no further than the rich and varied vein of critical approaches used to investigate fear in literature” (688). But I wonder: no further? Really? This seems “overly proscriptive, potentially stifling, and, let’s be honest, unlikely to happen” (187).9 The mistake here is in thinking that ecophobia is only about fear. Heather Houser, although in agreement with much of “Theorizing,” takes exception to what she sees as too heavy a stress on fear: “I do not agree that we should privilege fear over all emotions” (267). Nor, for that matter, do I, but more about definitional matters a bit later. The term “ecophobia” has, since Hillard’s response article, found considerable usage among scholars studying horror and the ecogothic. For instance, Tara K. Parmiter, in “Green is the New Black: Ecophobia and the Gothic Landscape in the Twilight Series,” finds use for the term in her discussion of how the “novels [of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series] reflect this pervasive fear of nonhuman nature but how they simultaneously model an increased engagement and appreciation—a more biophilic response—to the natural world” (222); Bernice M. Murphy uses the ecophobia concept in The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture: Backwoods Horror and Terror in the Wilderness (2013); the term appears in a couple of essays (one by Tom Hillard and the other by Sharae Deckard) in a collection by Andrew Smith and William Hughes entitled Ecogothic; it also appears in several of the chapters in Dawn Keetley and

6  Introduction Angela Tenga’s Plant Horror (particularly Elizabeth Parker’s “‘Just a Piece of Wood’: Jan Švankmajer’s Otesánek and the EcoGothic”); Sarah Groeneveld does not directly reference “ecophobia” when she mentions postcolonial gothic in her “Unsettling the Environment,” but she does refer to the seminal essay about it; Abby Goode identifies ecophobia in Leonora Sansay’s early-19th century Secret History; or, The Horrors of St. Domingo (see “Gothic Fertility”); Maria Parrino uses the term to describe the “sinister place… the frightening atmosphere” (88) of Antonio Fogazzaro’s Malombra (see “‘L’orrida magnificenza del luogo.’ Gothic Aesthetics in Antonio Fogazzaro’s Malombra”); Kaja Franck uses the concept to organize some of her thinking about the gothic in her PhD dissertation entitled “The Development of the Literary Werewolf: Language, Subjectivity and Animal/ Human Boundaries;” and in “Vegetable Monsters: Man-Eating Trees in Fin-De-Siècle Fiction,” Cheryl Blake Price draws on the term to discuss 19th century “gothic stories and fictionalized travel accounts featuring dangerous exotic plants” and how “by the end of the Victorian period, deadly plants had been transformed from passive poisoners into active carnivores” (311). It is logical to theorize the ecogothic through ecophobia; yet, as Derek Gladwin usefully points out, my own discussions of ecophobia do “not engage with the EcoGothic per se, …[but] do … foreground fear and phobia as a central concern in ecological readings of literary texts, as well as other cultural productions that have been Gothicised” (41). There is much room indeed within the ecogothic as a theoretical approach and eco-horror as a genre10 for continued theorizing. Outside of investigations into ecogothic material, the term has also been used extensively. Aaron Moe uses it in his engaging Zoopoetics: Animals and the Making of Poetry (2014); Alice Curry uses it in her timely discussions in her book Environmental Crisis in Young Adult Fiction: A Poetics of Earth of how the exploitation of women and nonhuman nature are connected; the term comes up in the witty yet serious discussion by pattrice jones of how perspectival shifts in human/­ nonhuman relations bear upon questions in clinical practice in psychology (see “Roosters, hawks and dawgs: Toward an inclusive, embodied eco/feminist psychology”); Laura Barbas-Rhoden raises it in feminist, postcolonial, ecocritical analyses in “Biopolitics and the Critique of Neoliberalism in El corazón del silencio by Tatiana Lobo;” two chapters— one by Ashton Nichols entitled “Affect and Environment in Romantic Nature Writing” and the other by James McKusick, entitled “Afterword: the Future of Ecocriticism”—in Ottum and Reno’s Wordsworth and the Green Romantics: Affect and Ecology in the Nineteenth Century find use for the term; Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands, in her “Whose there is there there? Queer Directions and Ecocritical Orientations,” published in the inaugural issue of [email protected], discusses the interweavings of ecophobia with homophobia, misogyny, racism, and speciesism, and argues

Introduction  7 “that these different relations of power are always already articulated in some way, that power relations cannot really be conceived outside the situated, material conditions of these articulations, and indeed that their inescapable specificity is often especially apparent in literary works” (64);11 Greta Gaard has noted in her remarkable review article of Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire that “ecophobia and erotophobia are intertwined concepts” (“Green, Pink, and Lavender Banishing Ecophobia through Queer Ecologies” 1),12 and she uses the term extensively in “New directions for ecofeminism: Toward a more feminist ecocriticism” in her contributions to and theorizing about an interspecies focus in ecocritical theory; Yves-Charles Grandjeat discusses the ecophobia of “the prototypical white man” in wide-ranging discussions about a Native American environmental ethos in “River Notes from the Montana Flathead Reservation: An Update on the ‘Ecological Indian;’” Ned Weidner, in his compelling “Rotting Fish in Paradise: Putrefaction, Ecophobia, and Olfactory Imaginations of Southern California,” offers important observations about how disgust and feelings about rot are often ecophobic; in “Ecological Martial Law,” David Heinimann offers one of the few extended discussions of the term and usefully analyzes how ecophobia can create a sense of anxiety and an incapacity to act; in “Literature, ethics and the bushfire in Australia,” Kate Rigby suggests social dimensions and how ecophobia can be involved in the transference of aggressions against the environment to the people who protect it (214); and R. Michael Fisher, in his research on fear, understands that the ecophobia hypothesis “is a large calling for critical analysis and re-framing of the entire field of ecocriticism” (16). Yet, although many scholars have used the term since 2009, relatively few have engaged in an extended discussion of it—hence, the need for this book. It is perhaps not surprising that scholars who have use for theorizing about ecophobia are also concerned variously about matters of injustice (interspecies, sexuality, gender, and race, for instance), while those who actively attack theorizing about ecophobia scorn what Timothy Clark mockingly refers to as “the latest developments of a left-liberal humanist programme of ever-expanding social inclusiveness” (Ecocriticism on the Edge 110).13 Interestingly, the first group is predominantly female, while the second group is predominantly male. I have presented all of this evidence here to make a point: theorizing about ecophobia may have been controversial at one point, but the evidence strongly suggests that it is no longer so. So, what exactly is it?

The Hypothesis In the amazing catalog of nature discourses of which people have been and are afraid, Yi-Fu Tuan’s Landscapes of Fear is unmatched: fire, weather, disease, bugs, starvation, darkness—the list is extensive;

8  Introduction however, there is no analytic structure or model with which to organize and interpret this material. The analytic structure of The Ecophobia Hypothesis enables an interpretation that articulates how ecophobia has undermined our own self-preservation in the environment.14 The ecophobia hypothesis seeks an understanding of irrational fears—one step beyond the anxieties Tuan surveys—of nature and natural things, and how these fears pattern relationships that are very destructive to our environment. Ecophobia, like biophilia, exists on the scale of the human condition; however, while the biophilia hypothesis is based in the hard sciences, the ecophobia hypothesis (also to some degree rooted in the hard sciences) is more based in the social sciences. Thus, ecophobia begins to account for realities of human antipathy toward the natural environment in ways that the concept of biophilia cannot. The concept of “biophilia” has been one of the sunnier ideas about how humanity fits into the world, but in the final wash, it just doesn’t work as a model for understanding human/environment relations. The term originates with the German-born psychoanalyst and social philosopher Erich Fromm, who uses it in The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness to describe a “passionate love of life and all that is alive” (365). In a wide-ranging discussion of what motivates human cruelty and aggression, Fromm argues that “Biophilic ethics have their own principle of good and evil. Good is all that serves life; evil is all that serves death. Good is reverence for life, all that enhances life, growth, unfolding. Evil is all that stifles life, narrows it down, cuts it into pieces” (365–6). As an opening gambit, this is a good beginning, a literal translation of “bio” and “philia,” but Fromm’s definition does not contain any notion of the neuropsychology of science. This had to wait a decade before ­Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson would further develop the term “biophilia” in 1984. Wilson defines it as “the innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes” (Biophilia 1), “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life” (85), and “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life” (Diversity 350), and he hypothesizes that there are genetic bases for biophilia. It is a reasonable hypothesis, and it is reasonable also to hypothesize that there must be genetic bases for ecophobia. Studies have shown, for instance, that fear of snakes and of darkness are evolution-based.15 At what point a rational fear becomes a phobia is not within the scope of this book to address, but there is a point at which such a thing happens, and when it does, we are dealing with ecophobia. When I tell my two young children, therefore, that there is no rational basis for being afraid of the dark, or of bees, or of spiders, or of bugs, or of dogs, or of any of the other things of which young children are normally afraid, I know that I’m not being entirely truthful with them. These fears are not ecophobia, but they can certainly lead into it. Novels, films, and other narratives that exploit these fears, that nurture and coddle them, and that magnify and pervert them to sell a story or a product or a politician: that’s ecophobia. Evolutionary biologists have

Introduction  9 long speculated about the genetic roots of both our affinity with and our acrimony to nature, and ecocritics have been quick to fix on biophilia as a tenet of environmental salvation. In addition to being unproven (and perhaps unprovable), the biophilia hypothesis alone cannot account for the realities of the world, the kinds of things that are going on in the world, the factory farms, the rain forest destruction, or the biodiversity holocaust, and it cannot make (or, at least, has not yet made) productive connections with theories about exploitation; about people who gain while others (human and nonhuman) foot the bill; or about intersections among ecophobia, homophobia, speciesism, and sexism. As Scott McVay explains in the “Prelude” to The Biophilia Hypothesis, the concept of “biophilia” doesn’t quite work: until the biophilia hypothesis is more fully absorbed in the science and ­culture of our times—and becomes a tenet animating our everyday lives—the human prospect will wane as the rich biological exuberance of this water planet is quashed, impoverished, cut, polluted, and pillaged. (5)

The passives in this sentence are very telling: quashed by what? Impoverished by whom? Cut, polluted, and pillaged by? Apparently, for Wilson and his protégés, the culprit turns out to be rooted no deeper than in the soils of biophilia! The problem with the uses to which biophilic theories have been put is that they have failed to recognize that biophilia is a point on a spectrum. In The Biophilia Hypothesis, a book that Wilson coedited, Stephen Kellert explains that “the dominionistic experience of nature reflects a desire to master the natural world” (56). This “proficiency to subdue, the capacity to dominate, and the skills and physical prowess honed by an occasionally adversarial relationship to nature” (ibid) are, in this view, somehow a part of “the biophilia tendency.” Aversion, indifference, and fear-driven anxiety? An adversarial domination of nature? Resentment, hostility, and the imagining of nature (often gendered as Mother) as an opponent to be conquered, subdued, beaten, eaten, raped, ploughed, mutilated, regulated, and so on? Calling these biophilia is dishonest and misleading. The term “biophilia” fails to explain why environmental crises are worsening, does not adequately encompass the complex range of ethical positions that humanity generally displays toward the natural environment, and does not envision a spectrum condition but rather a single point on such a spectrum.16 As Wilson himself importantly indicates, biophilia is “the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life” (emph. mine, Diversity 350). Using Wilson’s own logic, then, it stands to reason that if humans possess the capacity to “subconsciously” affiliate with nature, then they also subconsciously have the capacity to dissociate from it, oftentimes becoming fearful of or indifferent to, or engaging in complete avoidance of the natural environment.

10  Introduction Ecophobia is another point on the spectrum of our ethical relationship with the natural world. It is the obverse side of biophilia, and it has certainly won less favor. Ecophobia is not an easy or particularly happy topic, and it does not offer the kind of cheerful picture of a world run by biophilic impulses that is so pleasing to ecocritics, a picture that is as fanciful and inaccurate as utopic visions of a world without anger or evil. Ecophobia is all about frustrated agency. No wonder it is so central in tragic narratives. Tragedy has traditionally represented the frustrated assertion of human agency in the face of what Terry Eagleton has called “the unfathomable agencies of Nature” (33). Tragedy dramatizes the unseating of the preeminent subject from a position of an imagined singular embodiment of agency, subjectivity, and ethical entitlements. Tragedy measures out both human impotence before nature and a persistent inability to conquer, subdue, and maintain control over nature. It seems, therefore, incongruous when Eagleton mockingly asks “how a tragedy differs from a congress on global warming” (6). In point of fact, such a congress—in narrating a loss of human agency to nature—is in the very process of writing tragedy (the fall of the human from a place of exceptionalism) while simultaneously announcing the ethical superiority of the human over the nonhuman. This is not such a new idea. Joseph Meeker made the same argument four decades ago, arguing that “literary tragedy and environmental exploitation in Western culture share many of the same philosophical presuppositions” (24). It is precisely the loss of agency—often to nature—that has defined tragedy. While I define ecophobia as an irrational and groundless hatred (often fear) of the natural world that is as present and subtle in our daily lives and literature as homophobia and racism and sexism,17 I have, over the past two decades, been tweaking and refining and clarifying and adding. In thinking through ecophobia over the years, I have also hoped that the term would come into more capable hands than Robisch’s and that in addition to being used, it would be theorized, and it has been—not much and not always in a cordial manner, but hostile reworkings are fine by me. Before getting into those, however, let’s get a clear sense of where we are with the term. As I have noted in various places,18 conservative American journalist George F. Will seems the first to have used the term outside of its psychological meaning in a Chicago Sun-Times article of September 18, 1988, entitled “The Politics of Ecophobia.” Here, Will defines ecophobia simply as “the fear that the planet is increasingly inhospitable” (n.p.). His definition is also the position from which I start, but it is a position from which David Sobel departs in Beyond Ecophobia. For Sobel, ecophobia is more a fear of the environmental effects of human actions—for instance, “[f]ear of oil spills, rainforest destruction, whale hunting, acid rain, the ozone hole, and Lyme disease” (5); yet, I would suggest that

Introduction  11 these are clearly more properly the results of ecophobia than examples of it. Ecophobia is a condition that allows humanity to do bad things to the natural world. No one would say that homophobia is the fear of the corpse of a gay man who has been bashed over the head with a bat; homophobia is the cause of the bashing. Similarly, ecophobia is the cause of the environmental despoliation that Sobel describes. For Sobel, “fear of… whale hunting” (ibid) is (by his definition) ecophobia; again, however, it seems more sensible to see that whale hunting is a result of ecophobia—in this instance, a yearning for control19 combined with either a general indifference or an outright contempt for the natural world and its inhabitants. Sobel makes no reference to Will in his important book and seems to have no knowledge of the article. 20 In any event, the need for a viable ecocritical terminology was recognized as early as 1995. In 1999, ­Robert van Tine proposed a similar term—“gaeaphobia”—(independently, it seems, since there are no references to his source for the term), which he defines as “a form of insanity characterized by extreme destructive behavior towards the natural environment and a pathological denial of the effects of that destructive behavior” (see Works Cited, van Tine). Potentially useful though it is for its identification (sometimes quite mechanical) of attitudes toward the natural environment in terms of pathologies laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), van Tine’s article has not been referenced in any scholarship anywhere that I can find. While this is a bit distressing, his scholarship is important nevertheless because it shows that the kind of theoretical articulation I am seeking in hypothesizing about ecophobia has been recognized as being necessary in the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. 21

Onward Modern humanities and social sciences have pictured society as if they were above material and energy cycles and unbound by the Earth’s finiteness and metabolisms. Now they must come back to Earth. Their understandings of economy and markets, of culture and society, of history and political regimes need to be rematerialized. They can no longer be seen only as arrangements, agreements and conflicts among humans. In the Anthropocene, social, cultural and political orders are woven into and co-evolve with techno-­ natural orders of specific matter and energy flow metabolism at a global level, requiring new concepts and methods in the humanities. (Hamilton, Bonneuil, and Gemenne 4) Imagining that we are not bound by the Earth’s finiteness and metabolisms is a serious problem for which theorizing about ecophobia is aptly

12  Introduction suited. It is ludicrous to imagine that we can address the issues of climate change that we face without understanding the ethical foundations of the actions that brought us into this crisis. The ecophobia hypothesis offers what the biophilia hypothesis does not—specifically, a responsible acknowledgment that some of the most destructive actions we have taken toward nature may be more difficult to change than we think, may have more genetic roots than we are comfortable acknowledging, and may align us more than we can bear with what we have so feverishly tried to define ourselves against. Our indifference to the pillage and scorch policies of development (witness what is going on with the tar sands in Northern Alberta) may have more in common with the Double-crested Cormorant (and its fecal desecration of the cliffs of Stanley Park) than with the climate change deniers. Where is the distinction between the indifference of the Cormorant and its waste, and the indifference of humans and theirs? Surely, it is a scalar and not a formal difference that distinguishes the two. There is a wider complexity to ecophobia that the American Psychological Association definition of “phobia” does not consider. It is more than a persistent fear. It is more than an irrational hatred. And it is more than just human indifference to nature. We have neither the time nor the cause to continue to ignore the role of ecophobia 22 in our efforts to create behavior change targets that will sustain nature—and this means looking at every aspect of ecophobia. Sometimes, it is the little things that show it. The Ecophobia Hypothesis looks at the little and the big, is a followup on “Theorizing in a Space of Ambivalent Openness,” and is a continuing attempt to add to the conversations that address the question about why we are so bad for the natural environment—a question that the biophilia hypothesis just cannot answer. Chapter 1 begins the explorations of ecophobia with investigations that many might consider controversial, blasphemous, and just plain wrong: theorizing about genetics. The chapter argues that to explore genetic materialism is to take up E.O. Wilson’s challenge to look at the very difficult question of genes and their importance in how we relate with the natural world. While what Wilson has to say about things that are not biophilia (things that are properly understood as ecophobia) are contradictory and baffling, it is clear that there is a need to take seriously his quest to understand the importance of our history as a species. There are points at which our history bashes up against our present. Perhaps this is what Michael Bates means in his PhD thesis comment about “Theorizing” that “Estok fails to acknowledge that a human’s desire to increase its survival chances at the expense of other creatures’ welfare can be considered natural behaviour patterns” (95). As with spiders and snakes, which we have historically had valid cause to fear, at what point do our evolutionary pasts, to reiterate from Clark, “become directly or

Introduction  13 indirectly destructive, even in ways that may not have been the case before”? Indeed, as this chapter shows, theorizing about ecophobia outside of the context of genetic materialism is idle musing—and in an age of irreversible global warming, these are not times for idle musings. Beginning with the work of W.J.T. Mitchell and his idea of agential images, Chapter 2 argues that imagining terror interpenetrates with the imagining of an increasingly oppositional natural environment. The resurgence of terrorism and the increasing violence of our climate in the 21st century has ratcheted up the tone of urgency and crisis defining media representations of nature and of identity (national, religious, ethnic, and so on).23 This chapter is specifically interested in how images of terror have become the signal motif of 21st century representations of nature. Control over the environment or over groups that want to reformulate and rearticulate global configurations of power, inhabitation, and life are illusory and temporary. Recognizing not only the ecological implications but also their causal relation to social conflicts such as war is vital. Jared Diamond has argued that “collapses for ecological or other reasons often masquerade as military defeats” (13). Understanding the current migrations of war and terror groups such as Boko Haram, Daish (the group calling itself ISIS), or al-Qaeda and of the death and life writing surrounding them must occur within a context that recognizes the interdependence of seemingly disparate and disconnected topics. War, migration, ecophobia, and narrativizing increasingly must be discussed together if we are to understand better the production and effects of post-9/11 narratives. This chapter argues that media and academic conflations of devastating natural events with war and terror reiterates an ethics in which nature is a thing to be fought. This is clearly a trajectory of thinking that is counterproductive to environmentalism. Imagining terror and the natural world in tandem obviously also sanctions the very ethics of distance and domination that have long contributed to the growing environmental problems we face today. Apocalyptic, militaristic models produce dystopic visions of both the present and the future, and these signal both unspoken and overt nonchalance and ­indifference—a very dangerous ecophobia—­toward the natural environment. This chapter shows how media discourses that conflate terror and nature are both ecophobic and unsustainable. Chapter 3 looks at ecomedia. Despite the fact that popular media are saturated with messages about environmental issues (things such as ocean acidification, species extinctions, rising sea levels, rising temperatures, the threats from Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs, the unsustainability of the meat industry, and so on and so on), things are getting much, much worse. This chapter suggests that there are many reasons for this worsening situation. One of these is that ecomedia itself often conveys the ecophobia it is ostensibly addressing. Worse yet, scholarship on ecomedia hasn’t looked seriously at ecophobia. A second reason why things are getting worse rather than better, despite

14  Introduction the enormous media investments in the topic, is that we are increasingly distracted and continuously bombarded with information, and our continuous partial attention 24 runs hand-in-hand with our compassion fatigue. A third reason is that mass media outlets simply dilute important and complex issues to the lowest common denominator in order to convey them to as broad a constituency as possible. The result is a blurring of abstract concepts to such a degree that it is simply difficult for people to make connections among issues. A fourth matter has to do with the way in which news becomes a kind of entertainment in the 21st century (possibly in part the effect of the blurring of virtual and actual worlds). Perhaps shockingly, this chapter argues that the selected ideas of liberty that America has enjoyed and promulgated—especially regarding representations in media that are clearly ecophobic—may need to be understood and regulated in the same way that hate speech and hate crimes are. The ways in which America has constructed ideologies of liberty through “the pursuit of happiness” are unsustainable; in an environmental context, the pursuit of happiness ironically relies on notions—such as sexism, racism, homophobia, and, not least of all, ecophobia—that are in stark conflict with the very bases of liberty. This is not a pretty thing to contemplate, but we must become accountable for the human behaviors that have caused the Anthropocene. The main topic of Chapter 4 is the staggering scale of human impacts and presences in the Anthropocene world. This chapter argues that Western food models are not good for the environment. 25 I claim that discussions about the Anthropocene are epidermal when they don’t deal with meat and that changing our destructive relationship with the natural world absolutely requires rethinking our ethical relations with that world—and this means rethinking meat. No progress to eradicate global warming will be made otherwise. All of the ecomedia, the news, the conferences, the articles, the books, and everything eco- will be hollow, and climate change will continue to get worse until it addresses the ecophobia in our relations with animals. Welcome or not, the biophilia hypothesis cannot account for our collective exploitation of animals, and the scale of it all is horrific. Chapter 5 continues the argument about food and ecophobia while touching on some of Chapter 2’s implications about terror and ecophobia. I begin with a discussion about veganism in the age of terror through Laura Wright’s The Vegan Studies Project. This chapter is animated by the conviction that our ethical relations with the natural world have deteriorated and need recuperation. This loss has been observed before. In a fascinating and exhaustive study of the cultural history of vegetarianism in the West from the early modern period to modern times, for instance, Tristram Stuart notes that “in the era preceding the Industrial Revolution the question of meat-eating was one of the fiercest ­battle-fronts in the struggle to define humanity’s proper relationship with

Introduction  15 nature” (xvii). The disappearance of this battle-front is what allows us to be blind to connections, to the ways in which food (and the ethics of its production) is deeply relevant to questions about national identity, racism, sexism, and matters of environmental justice. Chapter 6 moves into an area that, unlike food, has received virtually no attention from ecocritics. It asks questions about the entanglements of ecophobia with the imagination of madness. At the center of discussions about who is entitled to the rights and privileges humans enjoy, madness is everywhere in literature but nowhere in ecocriticism. How much does our fear of capriciousness and unpredictability define the contours of our ecophobia and of our boundaries of madness? This chapter looks at the early modern period—a period that was pivotal in the history of madness in the West—and at how ecophobia’s entanglements with ideas about madness continue from that period into the 21st century. Chapter 7 analyzes the dilemma of overproduction and waste—and suggests that there are important links among waste and ecophobia in their relationship with the landscape. This chapter interprets poems written about garbage as well as filmic representations of waste (particularly Wall-E) and reviews an enormous body of theoretical work on waste, from Mary Douglas to Zygmunt Bauman. Through analyses of “Garbage” (by American poet A.R. Ammons) and “Above the Water, Under the Water” (by South Korean poet Seungho Choi), I show that the agency of waste is both a concern in contemporary poetry and a material reality in contemporary life. I explore how these poems raise matters of environmental justice and environmental racism and how Ammons and Choi show that there is no place to put waste that will efface its agency. It is impossible to continue thinking that “there is a world elsewhere”—which was the forlorn dream of Shakespeare’s dysfunctional leader Coriolanus. There is no such world to which to send our waste. Why, this is hell, and nor are we out of it, Mephistopheles explains in Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus. We are in a position where we can no longer deny the hellish impacts of our ecophobic histories. I do not make much effort in this chapter to argue that dumping and pollution imply ecophobia or a disregard for nature, an indifference about its integrity and rights, and an outright contempt for its autonomy and agency, since these matters are tedious and fairly obvious and have been well-argued elsewhere. Rather, I show—premised on Christopher Todd Anderson’s notion that “garbage serves as a meeting point of human culture, the natural world, and the spiritual realm”—that there are enormous implications in Patricia Yaeger’s comment that “detritus has unexpectedly taken on the sublimity that was once associated with nature” (327). Yaeger has hit on something that points to a radical shift in thinking about nature. Gone is the contempt for and fear of waste, replaced by the kind of respect we accord language itself, and with this shift is an implicit change in how we understand the malleability of

16  Introduction nature. The world becomes even more pliable, even more subject to an ecophobic ethic of domination and control. 26 Moving forward will require candid acknowledgments and sincere negotiations with nature, whose agency we will eventually have to face. It will require recognition of the biophilia/ecophobia spectrum, an ethical spectrum on which everyone occupies a place. This is not a radical idea. Racism is also a spectrum condition, as is sexism, classism, and speciesism. Unlike these, both ecophobia and biophilia are hypotheses. This book does not prove the existence of ecophobia, but it does lay out some of the grounds for hypothesizing about it. Few intelligent scholars would deny the importance of identifying how texts participate in racist, sexist, and heterosexist/homophobic discourses. This book addresses how hypothetical ecophobia fits into these discourses. This type of intersectional analysis provides support for the ecophobia hypothesis, claiming that there is something in us, in part genetic, that is just not good for the environment.

Notes 1 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM V) explains that “Individuals with specific phobia are fearful or anxious about or avoidant of circumscribed objects or situations” (189). Within psychology, the term “ecophobia” defines a “fear of home.” It is reasonable that a term can have multiple definitions (many terms do), and what I am proposing here is an additional definition of the term to describe an emotional and ethical response not to the concept of home in the narrow sense but in the larger sense of the natural world. 2 Ecophobia, unlike socially oppressive ideologies, is often largely irrational. Stephanie Posthumous and Louisa Mackenzie have asked, however, whether ecophobia is “necessarily always irrational and aligned with a will to dominate” (760). They note that “there are specific, embodied situations in which fear of the nonhuman world might be considered as grounded in specific experiences of being the Other, rather than the oppressor” (760–1) and in a brief discussion of rural antigay violence suggest that “a reflex of ‘dread’ when contemplating certain natural landscapes ‘is not necessarily irrational’” (761). 3 My use of biblical sources here (Lev. 11: 41, 42; Ex. 14; Rev. 13) is meant to suggest at the outset that ecophobia has a long biblical history that reaches deeply into the very origins of Western cultures. 4 Biophilia is also on this spectrum. There is no evidence that it is anything but a human trait. Biophilia, on the other hand, does seem to be something that we share with other animals. There are many viral examples of species saving other species. One of my personal favorites is of a bear saving a crow in the Budapest Zoo (see Medveš, Works Cited). Fictional animals are a different story. King Kong, in at least three of his manifestations, combines sexist assumptions and behaviors (he is the precious male ego we follow and that makes the leading female protagonists virtually mesmerized in obeisance and deference) and at the same time seems both chivalrously sexist and biophilic in his defense of a different species.

Introduction  17 5 Compulsive use of hand sanitizers in public venues is a recent example of our obsessive fear of dirt and bacteria. The reality, however, is that the ­human body is comprised of more nonhuman than human DNA, and obsessive hand sanitizing is more harmful in the long run than beneficial in that we are killing microorganisms that are beneficial to our own survival. For instance, we need intestinal flora in order to digest our food, regulate our immune system, and reduce inflammation. These gut flora (the bacteria) produce antimicrobial substances that outnumber the total number of cells in the human body by 1000% (10 to 1). See also Saxena et al., Works Cited. 6 Christian Hummelsund Voie may have a point in suggesting that Tom Lynch’s understanding of “biophobia” (a term that derives from the earlier work of Roger Ulrich) is more moderate than what the term “ecophobia” covers (see Lynch 2; Ulrich 73–137; Voie 27); however, in its focus on “bio,” it is also a far more restrictive term. I argue here that biotic and non-biotic environmental stimuli evoke ecophobic responses. 7 See Garrard (2009) and Mackenzie and Posthumus (2013), Works Cited. 8 This material has been well summarized elsewhere—see, for instance, Mackenzie and Posthumus. 9 These are the very words Hillard used to describe my modest proposal that ecocritics start looking at ecophobia. 10 Elizabeth Parker explains that ecogothic is “a theoretical lens as opposed to a genre classification” (217), which, as she notes, is consonant with the definition that Andrew Smith and William Hughes offer in EcoGothic (1). Parker also claims that ecogothic is at least in part a response to my insistence that ecophobia needs theorizing (217). If ecogothic is an approach, such is not the case with eco-horror, and Parker reiterates the position put forth by Joseph J. Foy that eco-horror is a genre (217). See Foy, Works Cited. 11 Mortimer-Sandilands notes that the apparent meaning in “Theorizing” is “that ecophobia needs first to be theorized on its own terms before being ‘eventually’ looked at in its interweavings with homophobia, misogyny, racism and speciesism” (111). It is a position with which she rightly disagrees. Mortimer-Sandilands is referring to the following: “If ecocriticism is committed to making connections, then it is committed to recognizing that these issues (ecophobia, racism, misogyny, homophobia, speciesism) are thoroughly interwoven with each other and must eventually be looked at together” (Estok “Theorizing,” 208). Admittedly, my comment was misleading, and what I meant by “eventually” was that whether scholars like it or not, these issues are thoroughly interwoven and must be theorized ­together—sooner rather than later (hence, “eventually”), this will happen. 12 In “Toward a Queer Ecofeminism” (1997), Gaard defines “erotophobia” (a fear of eroticism) and how it has always been an environmental issue and a “problem… of Western culture, a fear of the erotic so strong that only one form of sexuality is overtly allowed; only in one position; and only in the context of certain legal, religious, and social sanctions” (118). Building on this work, I note in “Theorizing” that one of the manifestations of ecophobia is sometimes a contempt for the body, its functions, and its requirements (208)—hence, for me, as for Gaard, “erotophobia is thus a component of ecophobia” (“New directions for ecofeminism: Toward a more feminist ecocriticism” 650). Serenella Iovino uses the term “sexophobia” (certainly an echo of Gaard’s “erotophobia”) and links it with ecophobia (see “Toxic Epiphanies” 44). 13 I will cite this again and discuss it in greater detail in Chapter 4. 14 We are not alone in producing waste or in being ignorant of its effects; we are, however, singular in our indifference, in our not caring when we are

18  Introduction

15 16 17 18 19


21 22

aware of the effects of our actions. Nor are we alone in our capacity to radically refashion the biosphere in our own interests and in total disregard for the interests of other species. Again, what makes collective humanity stand out is its capacity to know but simply not care about the environmental effects of its actions. Ecophobia is a uniquely human condition. See Roach, Works Cited. Parts of this and the previous paragraph appear in slightly different form in my “Ecomedia and Ecophobia” (133) and in my “Virtually There” (10). The preceding five sentences appear in my “Spectators to Future Ruin,” 52. This paragraph appears in slightly different form in my “Remembering the Feminist Body of Ecocriticism” (75, 81). The epic frustrations of not being able to hold and control nature are at their core ecophobic. They have found expression in King Lear, with the aging sovereign raging at the storm. They register in films featuring heroic men battling weather (such as The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and Waterworld). The epic frustrations of control by nature indeed have been very influential in how some tragedy has developed as a genre. Nor did I when I first used the term. Dates here are important. My PhD dissertation was accepted and dated in the spring of 1996. I wrote the first draft of the final chapter of my dissertation in the early summer of 1995 and submitted to it Linda Woodbridge—my supervisor—on August 9, 1995. Several months later, by which time the dissertation had already gone to my committee for approval, David Sobel’s “Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education” came out in Orion. The fact that Sobel and I clearly seemed to independently coin the same term at roughly the same time is perhaps more than simply coincidental, registering perhaps a broader felt need for theorizing about antipathy toward nature. See also Theodore Roszak’s The Voice of Earth and Susanne C. Moser’s “More bad news: the risk of neglecting emotional responses to climate change information” in Creating a Climate for Change. When someone such as Timothy Clark mocks ecophobia, it is done within a history of disengagement with feminist issues. In his Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment, for instance, Clark promises to give an “introductory overview of the arguments, methods and concepts of literary and cultural criticism that concern environmental crisis in some form” (xiii), and it very quickly becomes clear that the form will not be a very inclusive one. It is strange to see Clark using phrases such as “strident assertiveness” (119) to describe the work of Adrienne Rich, especially given feminist critiques of the use of such terms as “strident” and “shrill” (see, for instance, McConnell-Ginet 548). It is strange because it seems inconsonant with Clark’s goal of giving a balanced and nonsexist introduction to ecofeminism. Moreover, the absence in Clark’s book of discussions about species, sexuality, and race—discussions that we find in such foundational books as Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature (a book Clark does not mention even once)—similarly calls into question the value of his “introductory overview.” The anti-feminism, omissions, and mufflings are rehearsed more vigorously in his Ecocriticism on the Edge, a book in which he aims his dull sword at the concept of ecophobia. The result is little more than an articulation in his own words of the definition I have offered for the term. Clark notes that ecophobia is “an antipathy, dismissive stance or sheer indifference towards the natural environment, including attitudes which, however understandable in the past, tend now in the emergent contexts of the Anthropocene to become directly or indirectly destructive, even in ways

Introduction  19

23 24 25


that may not have been the case before” (111–12, italics in the original). Presumably, the intent here is to be mocking toward the “left-liberal humanist programme” (110) that seems to have left a rather large chip on his shoulder. See also Kaplan, Works Cited. This term comes from past Microsoft Vice President Linda Stone. See Works Cited. Things are changing but not quickly enough. The first ASLE conference I went to (1999) had only salad for vegetarians at the conference banquet, and it was pretty heavy on the meat. I found this odd for a bunch of ecocritics. So, I was curious about just how many vegetarians there were in this group of concerned citizens. Scott Slovic explains in the Editor’s Note to the Fall 2009 ISLE that “Ecocritics who've been treated to one of Simon Estok's provocative conference presentations know very well that he tends to fish for audience responses, looking at listeners as he asks, ‘How many of you are vegetarians? Let me see a show of hands’” (“Editor’s Note” 681). I’ve never fished (and it is an ugly image to be associated with me), but I did challenge my audiences. Perhaps my challenges had at least some effect on the changes that have been made: not only are vegetarian options now available at these conferences but meat isn’t! Nevertheless, mocked in print, I stopped asking, but the resistance to people who offer such challenges keeps up. Harold Fromm’s rant against veganism (discussed in Chapter 5) is but one example. Feminists have been addressing the topic of the domination of nature for a long time now. Yet, as new generations of feminist thinkers have noted, ecocriticism hasn’t acknowledged its debt to or dependence on the work of ecofeminist thinkers. As Greta Gaard has explained, these omissions of feminist work in “ecocritical scholarship are not merely a bibliographic matter of failing to cite feminist scholarship, but signify a more profound conceptual failure to grapple with the issues being raised by that scholarship as feminist, a failure made more egregious when the same ideas are later celebrated when presented via nonfeminist sources” (“New Directions” 3). See also Laura Wright, especially 14–18.

1 Material Ecocriticism, Genes, and the Phobia/ Philia Spectrum

[…] genes hold culture on a leash. The leash is very long, but inevitably values will be constrained in accordance with their effects on the human gene pool. The brain is a product of evolution. Human behavior—like the deepest capacities for emotional response which drive and guide it— is the circuitous technique by which human genetic material has been and will be kept intact. Morality has no other demonstrable ultimate function. (Wilson, On Human Nature 167) To suggest the possibility of genetic influence, genetic difference, of an evolutionary past bearing down in some degree on cognition, on men and women, on culture, was to some minds like entering a camp and volunteering to work with Dr. Mengele. (McEwan 166)

Ecophobia, like any other human behavior (including biophilia), is written into our genes. It cannot be otherwise since there is no magical ventriloquism here, no enchanted space outside of our genes from which human behavior can reasonably be thought to originate. Yet, as Michael Beard—the voice of evolutionary compulsions in Ian McEwan’s Solar— notes, one must be wary when theorizing about genetics and culture. Solar nevertheless seriously questions the human capacity to make the behavioral changes needed to stop climate change, reflecting a larger debate that has been going on for a long time. For E.O. Wilson, “human emotional responses and the more general ethical practices based on them have been programmed to a substantial degree by natural selection over thousands of generations” (On Human Nature 6). On a business class flight circling over London, Beard himself wonders about the dangerous human impulses toward excess and their effects on global warming. He wonders, “how could we ever begin to restrain ourselves? We appeared, at this height, like a spreading lichen, a ravaging bloom of algae, a mold enveloping a soft fruit—we were such a wild success. Up there with the spores!” (McEwan 127–8).1 Is it reasonable to contemplate the feasibility of halting or reversing climate change, given that human beings do what other species do? We grow semper sursum. Without

Material Ecocriticism  21 natural predators or obstacles, any species will thrive to excess. We do not differ in this. It is in the genetic nature of all living organisms to do so, a point Darwin himself makes: “There is no exception to the rule that every organic being naturally increases at so high a rate that if not destroyed, the Earth would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair” (54). We need to be clear here: nature is not moderate. It is often characterized, Elizabeth Grosz explains, by “an invariable tendency to superabundance, excessiveness, the generation of large numbers of individuals, in the rates of reproduction and proliferation of individuals and species” (30). Nature revels not only in superabundance, but in diversity, as ­Darwin also theorized: “more living beings can be supported on the same area the more they diverge in structure, habits, and constitution, of which we see proof by looking to the inhabitants of any small spot or to naturalized production” (105). The genetic drive toward producing abundance and diversity is an inescapable material reality of life. One of the key elements of Darwinian theory is that the size of a population is limited by what its given environment can sustain, but obviously we have subverted this mechanism through an excessive form of what Jean-Baptiste Lamarck termed adaptive force; 2 adaptive force has extended the capacity of environments to sustain overpopulations. The human species stands in league with many others who have made their environments more habitable, their food more attainable, their future prospects more viable. Some birds build nests, some ants farm aphids, and many animals kill members of their own species in fights. Nor are we the only species that is indifferent to the natural environment. We are not the only species that pollutes, and we are not the only species that radically refashions the biosphere. The mountain pine beetle of the Pacific Northwest decimates temperate rain forest ecosystems. The Chinstrap penguins of Zavodovski Island have no natural predators on the island itself (though they face sea lions when they dive into the waters for food). The result is a colony of almost two million penguins in an area of 25 square kilometers. It has been dubbed the world’s smelliest island. The penguins are, it seems, indifferent to the pollution they produce and to the fact that their prolific reproduction has resulted in overcrowding that matches that of any human megacity. The list could go on. We resemble many species. Even so, the human species stands alone in its environmental degradation to such a dangerous extent that geologists and laypeople are increasingly opting to call our current age The Anthropocene—The Age of the Human. The Anthropocene is, in part, a result of the human epidemic of ecophobia; one solution to our collective Anthropocene problem lies with our notion of human agency. Agency is precious to humanity—so precious that the loss of it puts in peril not only our sense of exceptionalism but our very sense of human identity. One of the issues that material feminisms (and its offshoot, material ecocriticisms) have investigated and stressed is the notion that nonhuman things—biotic and nonbiotic—have agency. 3 Some materials, in

22  Material Ecocriticism fact, may have much more agency than we might imagine or wish. This was the radical proposal of E.O. Wilson more than three decades ago in a book entitled Biophilia; yet, as I have shown in the Introduction, the biophilia hypothesis is misleading and incomplete, since it fails to take into account the current Anthropocene moment, in which human and environmental kinship have been largely supplanted by the ecophobic conditions of irrational fear, contempt, and indifference to the environment. Theorizing ecocriticism without discussing ecophobia is as illogical as articulating feminist theory without discussing sexism. And it is worth repeating that ecophobia (no less than sexism) is a subtle, ubiquitous, and marketable condition. While I’ve stated elsewhere that ecophobia is analogous to misogyny, homophobia, and racism, no analogy is perfect.4 Ecophobia and biophilia are ordered on opposite ends of the same spectrum. A key question for theorists focusing on biophilia is about the extent to which “an affinity with life [can] urge moderation on our behavior” (McVay 17); for theorists of ecophobia, the question is more about the degree to which an antipathy, distance, or dislocation from nature can allow or encourage behaviors that are destructive both to biotic and nonbiotic environments. To see ecophobia as part of a spectrum condition in which we also find biophilia isn’t inherently problematical—until we start addressing ­Wilson’s theories about the biological bases of biophilia. W ­ ilson’s insistence on the genetic character of biophilia has, according to Roger Ulrich, no “convincing support for the proposition that positive responding to nature has a partly genetic basis” (122). As such, it is important to focus on the genetic dimensions that comprise the spectrum of biophilia and ecophobia. Failing to do so results in epidermal readings, 5 approaches that are hollow surface endeavors. We might call this “hollow ecology,” explorations of environmental crises that—­whatever they claim—do not perform the analyses of intra-action that Karen Barad so masterfully accomplishes in her theories about agential realism.6 Hollow ecology, in the plainest of terms, avoids the internalities of bodies, living and other. As theoretical physics is important for the study of the material agency of objects (living and non-), so too is there a real need to analyze how evolutionary biology and evolutionary processes (genetic and cultural) affect the human body and its material agency from the perspectives of material ecocriticism. Ignoring the dimensions and depths of ecophobia would be unproductive.7 Only through such analyses is it possible to appreciate the sheer depth of the issues associated with ecophobia. Ecophobia is such a pervasive phenomenon, akin to Timothy ­Morton’s concept of hyperobjects, that some critics simply can’t endure any theorizing about it. British Shakespeare enthusiast Gabriel Egan, for example, finds the term “virtually useless” (31). Kip Robisch incorrectly believes that “We’ve ‘theorized ecophobia’ enough already to prove the ineffectuality of such a course” (703). But the cultural attitude of indifference (and inherent contempt) that enables society to kill fifty-six billion farmed

Material Ecocriticism  23 animals each year8 —even though researchers Gowrii Koneswaran and Danielle Nierenberg have shown that “the farm animal sector is the single largest anthropogenic user of land, contributing to many environmental problems, including global warming and climate change”—is evidence of ecophobia.9 Their article, published in 2008, articulates the then emerging concerns of how farmed animals impact global warming. Even with today’s media coverage of global warming, we have not yet overcome our indifference to the ways in which human uses of nonhuman animals reflect a perfect contempt for nature. Only the ecophobia hypothesis— and its characterization as the irrational fear, dread, dislike, antipathy, apprehension, avoidance, and indifference toward nature—allows us to acknowledge, and attempt to redeem, our collective human mistake. Just as the antipathy inherent in sexism causes women harm, the ecophobic aversion to nature causes ecological harm. Ecophobia in people derives at least in part from learned behavior, and it is our ecophobic disavowal that enables us to cut down magnificent (and carbon-sequestering) trees without shame or guilt as much as it is the disavowal of sexism that allows Trump supporters to minimize his crude comments and promote dangerous legislation undermining American women. It is ecophobia that enables adults to legislate animal holocausts, something children perhaps would never knowingly do, since most children find it innately repugnant to cause animals to suffer or die. In short, the ecophobia hypothesis performs a dystopian bildungsroman10 for modernity’s children. Once children reach the age of maturity, their dependence on the cultural currencies of capitalism and indifferent media washes out all sense of empathy, like Aldo ­Leopold’s “rivers washing the future into the sea” (140), enabling ecophobic behaviors to take prominence. There is a war between biophilia and ecophobia, and the current state of the world shows which is winning. Both biophilia and ecophobia are vying for control of how we live, and both are deeply rooted. Biophilia is not confined to the human species (one example is the 2014 event in which a bear in the Budapest Zoo saved a drowning crow),11 and neither is the moral indifference that the Chinstrap penguins readily display (and this cannot qualify as ecophobia since the penguins face no possibility for any moral choice but indifference).12 Proponents of the ecophobia hypothesis face the same “daunting assertions” that Stephen Kellert notes (21) as facing the biophilia hypothesis. Among these assertions, Kellert observes, are that the condition is inherent (biologically based), part of human evolutionary heritage, and associated with survival advantages. What makes both ecophobia and biophilia hypotheses is that “the richness and depth of the subject preclude the possibility of achieving any definitive ‘proof’” (ibid). What is hypothetical about the ecophobia/biophilia spectrum is first the notion that it permeates everything that we do and second that this spectrum is innate.13 If biophilia and ecophobia are on the same spectrum, and biophilia is an adaptive strategy, then ecophobia exists on the opposite end of the range as a maladaptive strategy.14 Acknowledging this polemical reality, as Kellert argues, requires

24  Material Ecocriticism

Figure 1.1  B ear saving crow at Budapest Zoo, June 2014.  Biophilia is not confined to humans, as the bear in Budapest shows. Ecophobia, on the other hand, it would seem, is distinctly human. There are no examples to suggest otherwise. Source:

“the mitigation of [our] environmental crisis [that] may necessitate nothing less than a fundamental shift in human consciousness” (26). To reduce and reverse anthropogenic climate change, it is imperative to interpret ecophobia as an obsolete adaptive strategy for survival.15 The approach George Williams takes to this in his highly controversial “Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics in Sociobiological Perspective” is to damn nature: The process and products of evolution are morally unacceptable… and justify an… extreme condemnation of nature…. Brought before the tribunal of ethics, the cosmos stands condemned. The conscience of man must revolt against the gross immorality of nature…. Natural selection…can honestly be described as a process for maximizing short-sighted selfishness. (Williams 383–5, cited by Rolston 387)

Material Ecocriticism  25 But the very lack of ethics behind the revolt against nature and the failure to accept human embeddedness is an example of ecophobic human exceptionalism. A certain amount of our ecophobia and our biophilia are hardwired. This fact does not logically warrant an ecophobic condemnation of nature any more than it does a biophilic celebration of nature. The anger Williams expresses, like McEwan’s reference to Mengele, is very revealing: these waters are roiling with controversy. Mixing biology and literature has been described by Judith ­Heerwagen and Gordon H. Orians as “both futile and ideologically dangerous” (141), and oftentimes with good reason. It is also reasonable to suggest here that without verifiable data, virtually every ecocritical reading or theory we put forth amounts to little more than what Richard ­L ewontin calls “an exercise in plausible story telling rather than a science of testable hypotheses” (11). One of the ways to avoid falling into this trap without becoming a puppet for the sciences is to recognize that behavioral traits, though often shared, are contextual and individual, meaning that any kind of empirical or systemic analysis must also be case-by-case and not reducible to the kind of template that is so pleasing to literary critics. Maybe we can plop deconstruction or new historicism down on any old text, but material ecocriticism of the sort I am proposing here is a much more painstaking endeavor. Keeping in mind the dangers of “literary Darwinism,” I will argue that there are genetic roots of ecophobia (an argument consonant with evolutionary psychology) and that adaptive behaviors that were serviceable to a material past function differently in the 21st century than they did, say, 12,000 years ago. Clearly articulating ecophobia is crucial if we are to authenticate the causes of our current environmental crisis, understand our destructive human behaviors, and recognize that sustainable futures will only occur through a kinship model of humans and nature.

Volunteering to Work with Dr. Mengele I am increasingly of the opinion, along with Joseph Carroll, that “no reputable psychologist or anthropologist can ignore the findings of biologically oriented study, and even sociologists and political scientists will have to accommodate themselves to the reality of what is empirically known about the biological basis of human behavior” (x). The topic has lately been getting a lot of attention. In a recent book entitled Ecocriticism and the Idea of Culture: Biology and the Bildungsroman, Helen Feder talks about “the cogent reality of materiality, […] an agential world apart from human culture” (1), of how “the need for a more biologically, ecologically informed critique is, if anything, now more urgent” than ever (1). Feder notes that other people have made such a call for a more biologically informed critique, citing Glen Love’s remark that humanists “have for the most part ignored the life sciences, especially evolutionary biology and ecology” (1). “By turning to biology,

26  Material Ecocriticism cultural biology, and related branches of the life sciences,” Feder argues, “we find the broader and more nuanced notion of culture necessary for a materialist ecocritical perspective” (1). Feder proposes an “ecocultural materialist” approach (2). Published in 2014, the same year as the important Iovino/Oppermann collection entitled Material Ecocriticism, Feder’s book is an explicitly materialist ecocritical inquiry that references and builds on the work done in the field to that date. Any meaningful analyses after 2014, therefore, of “material ecocriticism” without reference to the work of Feder and of Iovino and Oppermann is flawed. The strength and value of these works at least in part resides in the persistent attention they pay to questions about agency and to questions about agency beyond the human—or what ­David Abram has called the “more-than-human” (15). Material ecocriticisms (like their parent “material feminisms”) demand attention to materials, of which genes are one. Yet the revulsion toward such research has been powerful, a revulsion that Jonathan Gottschall references in his part of the Introduction to The Literary Animal: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative: I quickly learned that when I spoke of human behavior, psychology, and culture in evolutionary terms, their [other professors and graduate students] minds churned through an instant and unconscious process of translation, and they heard “Hitler,” “Galton,” “Spencer,” “IQ differences,” “holocaust,” “racial phrenology,” “forced sterilization,” “genetic determinism,” “Darwinian fundamentalism,” and “disciplinary imperialism.” (xx) Although the work of scientists in gene theory, evolutionary biology, and cognitive neurology has used ideas about genetic determinism in nefarious ways throughout history, gene theory is not intrinsically ethically compromised. The work that has been done initiating such research, however, has been understandably defensive and tentative: It is not clear why Darwin—whose enduring impact on knowledge and politics is at least as strong as that of Hegel, Marx, or Freud—has been left out of feminist readings. It is perhaps time that feminist theorists begin to address with some rigor and depth the usefulness and value of his work in rendering our conceptions of social, cultural, political, and sexual life more complex, more open to questions of materiality and biological organization, more nuanced in terms of understanding both the internal and external constraints on behavior as well as the impetus to new and creative activities. (Grosz 24)

Material Ecocriticism  27 Largely missing from feminist readings, Darwin is also largely absent, with a few exceptions, in the developing field of material ecocriticism. Wendy Wheeler’s foundational research in biosemiotics offers profoundly useful work that develops ways of understanding this topic. Wheeler defines “biosemiotics” as “the study of signs and significance in all living things” (The Whole Creature 19).16 Her comments at the end of her “Postscript on Biosemiotics” serve as a suitable extended definition of biosemiotics: Living things are not machines; their readings of the signs which constitute their world are also always interpretations which are, ipso facto, recursively fed back into that world where further readings and interpretations go on producing newer layers or strata of understanding. It is in these constant semiosic processes that we can talk about the ways in which worlds are both made and real. (“Postscript” 154) She suggests that “in understanding that semiosis and meaning-making belongs to all living things, perhaps the biosemiotic turn will prove itself part of a wider movement toward reuniting what has too long been held apart” (“The biosemiotic turn” 280). This could take us toward mending the rift, removing the revulsion, and finally dealing with the materiality of genes. The revulsion toward integrating biological theories with matters of culture, the arts, and so on is indeed well known. Wheeler refers to this revulsion as “the puzzling story… of how many intelligent people in the humanities and social sciences came to ignore the theory of evolution, and to believe that everything we think we know is just an effect of spoken or written language” (The Whole Creature 24). Not so puzzling, though. Darwinism obviously, as the Gottschall quote reflects, has been put to uses from which many of us would wish to distance ourselves. In her daring discussion of Darwin and feminism, Elizabeth Grosz acknowledges that “the suspicion with which biological accounts of human and social life are treated by feminists, especially feminists not trained in the biological sciences, is to some extent understandable” (23). At least part of what is at stake here is the very question of our own agency. “If we are our biologies,” Grosz continues, “then we need a complex and subtle account of that biology if it is to be able to more adequately explain the rich variability of social, cultural, and political life” (ibid). Not all work in this area achieves the complexity and subtlety of which Grosz speaks. Joseph Carroll, for instance, argues that “if one affirms that science gives access to the real structure of the natural world, including human behavior and the products of the human mind, [then] one must necessarily reject most of the foundational theories currently accepted in the academic literary establishment” (“Biocultural theory” 21).

28  Material Ecocriticism Yet this position assumes that such theories rest on “an overarching belief that culture alone shapes human minds and motivates human behavior” (ibid). Ecocritical theories in general and material ecocriticism more specifically clearly do not fit into the overarching belief structure Carroll describes. Iovino and Oppermann explain in the Introduction to Material Ecocriticism that “the new materialism suggests that things (or matter) draw their agentic power from their relation to discourses that in turn structure human relations to materiality” (4).While Carroll imagines a single-source, unidirectional causal agent as the engine of “theories currently accepted in the academic literary establishment,” the new material turn and material ecocriticisms imagine something different, a mesh of inter-, and intra-actions17 in which there are many material sources of agency, including biological materialities. What Iovino and Oppermann describe as a “porosity of biosphere and semiosphere” (5) is clearly an acknowledgment of the entanglements of cultural, biological, and nonbiological agents. To reject questions about what could, for lack of a better phrase, be termed “genetic materialism,” is clearly not something which material ecocriticism encourages. Indeed, to conduct material ecocriticism without acknowledging and theorizing about the materiality and agency of genes would be like doing oceanography without acknowledging and theorizing about water. By the same token, however, material ecocriticism, like Marxist materialism, rejects the core of genetic materialism and its insistence that materiality of our genes is the sole source of everything we do and produce. Paul D’Amato describes this idea of genes as the motive force of culture in the following way: This line of reasoning, which goes back to such social Darwinists of the late nineteenth century as Sir Francis Galton and Herbert Spencer, presents us with the argument that human nature is the fixed and unchanging result of our biological makeup. Why do people behave the way they do? It’s part of our genetic coding. Greed, selfishness, xenophobia, racism, male domination, violence, and war are all attributed to something innate to all of us. Needless to say, this is a very convenient argument for someone who is trying to uphold the status quo, for it places the blame for all sorts of nasty behavior on human traits that are beyond anyone’s power to change. (24–25) D’Amato’s nuanced description of genetic materialism captures the real issue here: there is much more to the story than genes. For George ­Williams, a staunch advocate for the argument that we can—and, indeed, should—resist “patently pernicious” (392) elements of our evolution, “an unremitting effort is required to expand the circle of sympathy for others. This effort is in opposition to much of human nature” (437). Yet, despite

Material Ecocriticism  29 Wilson’s persuasive arguments for the genetic bases of biophilia, we have, by the end of the day, no more than a hypothesis about biophilia: These fashionable ideas, though continually offered as fact, have no scientific foundation. Search as they may, biologists will never find a war gene—because war isn’t innate to humans any more than is nonviolence. It’s not that there is no biological basis for our behavior. (D’Amato 25) Such is equally true for ecophobia. There is a biological basis for our behavior, of course, but it is mediated by a great many other factors.

Fools Rush in Wheeler has spoken of “the need for a return to biology—to break the great nervous silence in progressive thought on culture” (The Whole Creature 14), of the “need for a materialist, but non-positivistic and non-­ reductionist, account of evolutionary cultural change” (15). Indeed, but the cultural terrain is riddled with explosive debates, and… well, fools rush in. It is one thing to say, for instance, as Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending do, that a thing such as intelligence is heritable, but it is quite another to show an intelligence gene, to try to prove in scientifically valid ways why one group does better on tests designed to measure intelligence, and why biology should take precedence over culture. It was with considerable trepidation that I read their The 10,000 Year Explosion, especially the chapter entitled “Medieval Evolution: How the Ashkenazi Jews Got Their Smarts.” As the son of two Ashkenazi Jews who survived the Holocaust, I read with an acute alertness to possible anti-Semitism, and although the chapter is not anti-Semitic, it does engage in groundless musings that sit on the borders of racism, offering musings that are no less arbitrary than nazi eugenics. There is little science here but much dubious conjecture. The argument they make is that Ashkenazi Jews ­ ay-Sachs have an unusual set of serious genetic diseases, such as T disease, Gaucher’s disease, familial dysautonomia, and two different forms of hereditary breast cancer (BRCA1 and BRCA2), and these diseases are up to 100 times more common in Ashkenazi Jews than in other European populations. (138) They go on to argue that these diseases “have effects that could plausibly boost intelligence” and that Tay-Sachs disease produces “increased levels of a characteristic storage compound (GM2 ganglioside), which causes a marked increase in the growth of dendrites, the fine branches

30  Material Ecocriticism that connect neurons” (200). Neither is this proof of a genetic inheritance of intelligence, nor is it real science, since it ignores an enormity of cultural factors that distinguish observant Judaism from other cultures. We see here not a word about cultural factors, such as the emphasis within Judaism on education and study and the resulting early language acquisition required for such study, the study of the Torah being one of the commandments (mitzvah) of Judaism. Cochran and Harpending’s chapter is a re-working of an article entitled “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence,” which received substantial attention. In a New York Magazine feature entitled “Are Jews Smarter?,” Jennifer Senior nicely summarizes some of the more pointed responses: the fact that it did not meet the standards of traditional scientific scholarship, Harpending and Cochran’s paper attracted a barrage of criticism from mainstream geneticists, historians, and social scientists. “It’s bad science—not because it’s provocative, but because it’s bad genetics and bad epidemiology,” says Harry Ostrer, head of NYU’s human-genetics program. “I see no positive impact from this,” says Neil Risch, one of the few geneticists who’s dipped his oar into the treacherous waters of race and genetics. “When the guys at the University of Utah said they’d discovered cold fusion, did that have a positive impact?” “I’d actually call the study bullshit,” says Sander Gilman, a historian at Emory University, “if I didn’t feel its idea were so insulting.” (see Senior, Works Cited) As Senior goes on to note, “the problem with theories that exploit stereotypes… [is that] they’re titillating, sure, but also handy refuges for the intellectually lazy” (ibid). Obviously, it is not all just about genes. In arguing that “there is more to heredity than genes,” Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb cogently explain in Evolution in Four Dimensions, Molecular biology has shown that many of the old assumptions about the genetic system, which is the basis of present-day neo-­ Darwinian theory, are incorrect. It has also shown that cells can transmit information to daughter cells through non-DNA (epigenetic) inheritance. This means that all organisms have at least two systems of heredity. In addition, many animals transmit information to others by behavioral means, which gives them a third heredity system. And we humans have a fourth, because symbol-based inheritance, particularly language, plays a substantial role in our evolution. It is therefore quite wrong to think about heredity and evolution solely in terms of the genetic system. Epigenetic,

Material Ecocriticism  31 behavioural, and symbolic inheritance also provide variation on which natural selection can act. (1) Yet, even in this mindful and careful discussion, the currents are deep and treacherous. Among scientists, the concept of epigenetics, for instance, is by no means uncontentious. Mark Ptashne has defined “epigenetic” as “a change in the state of expression of a gene that does not involve a mutation, but that is nevertheless inherited in the absence of the signal or event that initiated the change” (R233).18 A valid scientific basis for the notion is perhaps spotty, and evolutionary biologists have had to contend with “pseudo gene genies” (see Rutherford, Works Cited) and “quacks” (see Gorski, Works Cited).19 What I’m not proposing here is a search of causal evolutionary sources for the particularities of literary texts (the use of this word over that, the choice of such-and-such clusters of images, the development of this theme or that theme, the writing of so-and-so’s dialogue as X or Y, and so on). So, while, as Wilson puts it, “culture helps to select the mutating and recombining genes that underlie culture” (Consilience 179), the story, as he well knows, doesn’t end there; indeed, as he goes on to explain, although “complexes of gene-based epigenetic rules predispose people to invent and adopt such conventions… genes do not specify elaborate conventions such as totemism, elder councils, and religious ceremonies. To the best of my knowledge no serious scientist or humanities scholar has ever suggested such a thing” (181). But even if genes did do such things as specify elaborate social conventions, proving this would be an entirely different matter. To understand material causation, we must first analyze genes and hardwiring, and then look beyond them. The ecophobia hypothesis, therefore, while acknowledging genetic predispositions to certain anti-environment behaviors, does not theorize about a humanity condemned to genetic programming, incapable of making ethical choices. The ecophobia hypothesis suggests that the ethical choices we make are as important as our genetic inheritance. It is dubious whether we actually have the capacity to make changes that are necessary for our survival. In his comments about McEwan’s Solar, Adam Trexler dryly observes that “genes don’t grant humans the foresight to prevent extinction” (49). The narrative voice in Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow takes much the same stance: “evolution ruled against the fearless. The dodo, the most trusting and friendly animal that mankind had ever encountered, was first identified in 1581. The bird was extinct less than a century later” (62). While the aggregational effects of Earth’s climate change are clearly too large in scope for us to see and too gradual for us to perceive without the kind of distancing that history offers, it is still a relatively quick event: relative, that is, to human and nonhuman life in their capacities to adapt—hence, as many scholars

32  Material Ecocriticism have noted, we are in the middle of “the sixth extinction.”20 Our behavior needs to change because genes simply won’t change quickly enough. For Michael Beard, it will not be people that change: “For humanity en masse, greed trumps virtue. So we have to welcome into our solutions the ordinary compulsions of self-interest” (McEwan 172). The materiality of his body, his genetic predispositions, it seems, are the motive force of this novel, and Beard dismisses ethics and virtue as “too passive, too narrow… a weak force” (ibid). We can’t afford to dismiss ethics or genes. They are both central to our agency, to what we do, to our behaviors, and to our participation in the ecophobia/biophilia spectrum.

Conclusions Perhaps one of the reasons that mainstream media representations of climate change looks so much like the news about terrorism is that both climate change and terrorism jerk our nerves about what we can control and what we can’t control, about where our agency stops. As E. Ann Kaplan notes, “where the ‘self’ begins and cultural reactions end may seem impossible to determine” (Trauma Culture 2). Serenella Iovino has proposed that “The ‘material turn’ is the search for new conceptual models apt to theorize the connections between matter and agency on the one side, and the intertwining of bodies, natures, and meanings on the other side” (“Steps to a Material Ecocriticism” 450). It is reasonable to see our genes as a profoundly important material, deeply relevant to our anxieties about agency. It has always seemed to me politically suspect to want to talk about evolution in the same breath as culture, yet it also seems a kind of omission not to do so, not to recognize and explore the position held by some that “the ultimate explanation for cultural phenomena lies in understanding the genetic and cultural evolutionary processes that generate them” (Richerson and Boyd 238). To talk about biophilia meaningfully (and the term is one that has been well received among ecocritics), W ­ ilson insists that we talk within the context of evolutionary biology. To explore genetic materialism, therefore, is to follow through on ­Wilson’s challenge, and although Wilson does not acknowledge the matter of ecophobia, the implications for the human condition are clear: theorizing ecophobia within the context of genetic materialism is essential. The final word should go to Wheeler, whose extensive and pioneering work on biosemiotics is so very productive and inspiring. We need, she argues, “radically to reconsider what we might mean when we talk about mind, consciousness, and intentionality” (“Natural Play, Natural Metaphor” 69), and a “view of culture as natural and evolutionary can help us to a more nuanced view of the evolution of ideas, and the value of different aspects of the experience of the human semiotic Umwelt” (“Postscript on biosemiotics” 148). It is difficult to imagine how the future of material ecocriticism could be otherwise.

Material Ecocriticism  33

Notes 1 Adam Trexler observes that Michael Beard’s relationships and behaviors “are overdetermined by an evolutionary drive to compete and dominate against members of the same species” (48). Beard embodies excessive appetites, and he compulsively seeks to satisfy these appetites. 2 Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was a pre-Darwinian theorist who tried to understand how inheritance works. He is most known for his theory of 1801 (some fifty-eight years before Darwin’s theory of natural selection in On the Origin of Species) that changes occurring within an organism’s lifetime can be inherited by the offspring. I will discuss Lamarck and the larger question of epigenesis below. 3 Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s Stone: An Ecology of the Inhuman is one of a growing number of books that productively theorizes about the vitality, force, and agency of non-biotic things. 4 It is difficult, for instance, to imagine how discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual, or racial difference could ever have been an evolutionary necessity for continued human survival. Recognizing the social ideologies of misogyny, homophobia, and racism when they happen is nuanced in very different ways than is recognizing ecophobia. As a teenager, I was told that using the word “girl” to describe women is misogynistic, similar to the analogy of the racist use of “boy” to describe African-American men. Antipathies and ecophobia toward nature, on the other hand, often arise from rationally perceived threats to physical survival, such as tsunamis or earthquakes. ­Dangerous manifestations of nature do not, in themselves, constitute ecophobia. Nor, for that matter, is controlling nature ipso facto ecophobic. 5 Wilson shares this concern in Biophilia about what he terms “surface ­ethics” (126). 6 See Barad. 7 Karen Thornber scrupulously lists—in her encyclopedic 688 page Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures—numerous monographs that explain what she sees as a reverence for nature that stands in ambiguous contrast with less reverential views. But in the interests of advancing her own thesis on “ecoambiguity,” a term at best problematical, Thornber too readily dispenses with the notion of ecophobia. As I have argued elsewhere, Of course, ambiguity is everywhere, but what would happen if we really did what Thornber is suggesting and walked away from the concept of ecophobia (or biophilia, for that matter) in favor of ecoambiguity? One way to come at this question is to work through an analogous model and to ask what would happen if we decided against theorizing about homophobia in favor of homoambiguity. Certainly a similar case for homoambiguity over homophobia could be made analogously to the case Thornber makes for ecoambiguity over ecophobia. But who would make such a case, and for what reason? What would be the politics of such a stance toward the notion of homophobia? What kind of denial would this be? And what position(s) would such a denial implicitly endorse? What would happen if, following the same analogous pattern, Thornber argued for gynoambiguity over misogyny? Again, what would be the politics of such a stance toward the notion of misogyny? What kind of denial would this be? And what position(s) would such a denial implicitly endorse? (“Reading Ecoambiguity” 134) While of course there is no single approach that will shed light on and answer all questions about how to deal with the contradictions the literature

34  Material Ecocriticism Thornber presents offers, surely the privileging of the human over the nonhuman is central to everything that is going on in such texts and in theorizing about such texts. If such is the case (as I firmly believe that it is), then ambiguity is an effect rather than a cause, a branch rather than a root, a result rather than a reason. And if this is the case (and, again, it is difficult to see how such is not the case), then how do we address the root issue here, the anthropocentrism that keeps the human in a sanctified place above and immune from everything nonhuman? (Ibid 134–5) 8 See AnimalEQUALITY, Works Cited. 9 Koneswaran and Nierenberg indicate that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations deems farmed animals a significant environmental threat, emitting “18%, or nearly one-fifth, of human-induced GHG emissions, more than the transportation sector.” 10 I am indebted to Sophie Christman for this turn of phrase. 11 An amateur video recording by Aleksander Medveš of a bear rescuing a crow at the Budapest Zoo in June 2014 was posted and went viral: the stills in Figure 1.1 are from that video. See Medveš, Works Cited. 12 As moral indifference per se is not ecophobia, neither is fear. Yi-Fu Tuan speaks eloquently on the necessity of fear for survival: “To survive, animals must be sensitive to danger signals; they must know fear. Human beings, individually and collectively, are no exception” (35). 13 This spectrum, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen explains in his Introduction to ­Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory Beyond Green, “is an unfinishable totality” (xxiii). 14 There is a long history of adaptive responses that have perhaps been useful for our survival but have become long obsolete: the appendix, the tailbone, wisdom teeth, and so on. 15 See also Estok (“Tracking Ecophobia” 32). 16 For an extensive history of biosemiotics, see Favareau, Works Cited. 17 “Intra-action” is a term developed by quantum physicist Karen Barad, who explains that the neologism ‘intra-action’ signifies the mutual constitution of entangled agencies. That is, in contrast to the usual term ‘interaction,’ which assumes that there are separate individual agencies that precede their interaction, the notion of intra-action recognizes that distinct agencies do not precede, but rather emerge through, their intra-action. It is important to note that the ‘distinct’ agencies are only distinct in a relational, not absolute, sense, that is, agencies are only distinct in relation to their mutual entanglement; they don’t exist as individual elements. (33, emphasis in original) 18 On some of the disputes associated with the term, see Pearson, Works Cited. 19 Discussing C.H. Waddington’s 1930s experiment involving fruit flies and “why epigenetics is not a Darwinian heresy,” Steven Rose explains that Lamarckism assumes that “experiences during the lifetime of an organism can also be inherited or transferred to the next generation.” This is “a preference acquired during the lifetime of one organism [and] transmitted generationally down to others. This is epigenetic inheritance” (Rose, cited slightly differently in Christman, chapter 3, forthcoming). 20 See, for instance, Kolbert; Leakey and Lewin; Heise; and Dawson, Works Cited.

2 Terror and Ecophobia

After the World Trade Center, and after Katrina, few of us are under the illusion that the United States is sovereign in any absolute sense. The nation seems to have come literally “unbundled” before our eyes, its fabric of life torn apart by extremist groups, and by physical forces of even greater scope, wrought by climate change. (Wai Chee Dimock 1) In returning to science fiction and recognizing a new dystopian genre in the disaster films, it is possible to see their proliferation in the wake of 9/11. I have no doubt that 9/11 seriously destabilized an American society that had previously seen itself as secure and invulnerable. (Kaplan 3)

In “Ecocriticism in an Age of Terror,” I argued that “imagining terror on the one hand and conceptualizing hostile environments on the other” (1) is important for any theorization about ecophobia. E. Ann Kaplan has since published a remarkable set of observations linking climate change narratives with discourses about terror and 9/11. While there is an increasing body of exciting work suggesting links between terror narratives and ecomedia, there remains a lack of scholarship investigating the intersections among terror and ecophobic narratives. Wai Chee Dimock’s drawing together of terror narratives and ecomedia suggests several things: first, that terror and climate change narratives should be understood as both producing and depending on fear; second, that the fear generated by post-9/11 narratives (xenophobia and racism) and by climate change discourses (ecophobia) are more than simply isomorphically similar and are, in fact, mutually interdependent; and third, that mainstream media often produces a kind of numbness and immobilizing disquiet to the very matters it reports. This numbness and sense of helplessness, in turn, allow the media to continue to exploit both racism and ecophobia. The fall that terror and climate prompts us to imagine is generically tragic, requiring us to reimagine a sufficiently expansive scope for tragic theory to accommodate understanding of nature and its tragic reconstitution through ecophobia. These are the main lines this chapter follows.

36  Terror and Ecophobia In the global community that has emerged after the 9/11 terror attacks, the immediacy, accessibility, and urgency of writing about the world have created new narrative forms that require new models of understanding. Flooded with images that have taken on a life of their own, where agential images1 make their own connections, we are living in increasingly dangerous times. When images of terror and environmental crises fuse, adversarial boundaries develop and become entrenched. As unapologetically Islamophic as it is ecophobic, the media becomes a perfect ground for someone such as George W. Bush (and now Trump) to plant divisiveness and destruction. The “link between terror and territory” (Borradori xiii) is as unmistakably geopolitical as it is environmental. Conveyed through narratives infused with what can only be called a life writing impulse, the new genres of post-9/11 literature and films have sought to restabilize the suddenly unstable ontologies that the West has come to inhabit, exploiting the conceptual indeterminacies of terror and war. Along with literary and other artistic cultural documents, there has been a phenomenal barrage of mass media narratives that have urgently sought such stability. One of the effects of this bid for ontological stability has, ironically, been a destabilizing of generic forms, with news reportage blending into personal narratives, fact and fiction collapsing into each other, and materiality creeping out of reach from a constituency whose attention is at best increasingly partial. The implicit and explicit indifference toward the natural environment in dystopic visions of both the present and the future, and the apocalyptic, militaristic model out of which these narratives grow manifests ecophobia. Reputable mainstream media in fully industrialized nations offer a constant barrage of images and narratives about the state of the world that have the effect of producing spectatorial viewers who, though they may indeed care about the traumas they witness, are, nevertheless, effectively disempowered by the volume and speed of the images. Post-9/11 narratives about the “war on terror” depend on and develop a racist and Islamophobic ethics; narratives about climate change depend on and develop an ecophobic ethics. Twenty-first century mainstream news offers frenetic and urgent reports, and the target audience seems to lap it up. Ever-evolving forms of media make constant consumption more and more accessible, and yet there is no satiation: media evolves, terror groups become more and more repulsive, and our hunger for newer and more startling material grows. At some point, the question of how the media and the message converge (an idea that goes back to Marshall McLuhan) must arise. At some point, the effect of the speed at which narratives appear and disappear, the sheer ephemerality of it all, and the implications that this has on our continually divided and partial attention must be addressed. What are the implications of how digital media normalize racism and ecophobia, and how do these affect how we

Terror and Ecophobia  37 organize our lives? To what degree do these media and their narratives produce a kind of indifference to the objects of the narrative, and how does the world (environmental and social), therefore, become an object of indifference and ethical inconsiderability? Like European colonialism before it, Daish (the group calling itself ISIS) is the expression and enactment of a deadly combination of indifferences that grow out of a sense both of exceptionalism and of ethnocentrism. One result of this sense of exceptionalism is an implied exploitation of the natural environment, one rooted in anthropocentric arrogance, disavowal of interdependence, and affirmations of sovereign power over other forms of life. Movements of people through environments have roots in environmental factors that have long played a role in migration patterns as well as in conflicts, and there are clear relations between climate change, on the one hand, and war, migration, and terror, on the other. A March 2015 article entitled “New Study Says Climate Change Helped Spark Syrian Civil War” (see Holthaus) argues, for instance, that there are relationships between the historic drought (2006–2010) that afflicted Syria, the events apparently happening within that country now, and the creation and movements of Daish (see also Strozier and Berkell; Fountain; and Abrams). If the hypothesis is to have real credibility in claiming that environmental issues are related to the development of things such as Daish, then there needs to be empirical evidence. And then there is the question of “how to translate empirical knowledge of the world into nonfictional text, and how to portray the impact of the nonhuman world on the human” (Allister 2). Simply drawing a link between drought and the growth of a terror group looks ecophobic, nature being to blame in such a vision, even though the drought itself was an effect of anthropogenic forces. Data showing a coinciding of drought and terrorism may lead to empirical data about a causal relationship between the two, but representing nature as the culprit behind terrorism is ecophobic. Period. Even so, such an idea, because it strikes so visceral a nerve is marketable indeed. Whether rooted (at least in part) in environmental issues such as food shortages, resource shortages, or water shortages, events such as European colonialism and the more contemporary advance of Daish are conscripted to compelling narratives that develop a story of collective memory. Each defined by an ethics of exclusion, the anthropocentrism and ethnocentrism that have largely delineated the patterns of migration, settlement, and colonization (and therefore our world map) have also revealed the unexpectedly radical reach of mortal dangers. When Daish beheads dozens of Christians and when Hamas fires missiles into a civilian Jewish population, as when the loggers of British Columbia were cutting down thousand-year-old forests and leaving a horrendously denuded landscape, the precondition for these violent narratives of cultural progress is callous indifference or outright aversion to natural

38  Terror and Ecophobia environments. If the giant step in the West out of medieval ontologies was the Renaissance triumph of humanism, America took it one step further. In imagining itself in isolation, America effectively drew the line between the human and the nonhuman. The ideologies of nationhood create and define not only land boundaries but also ethical schema that define our intellectual categorizations of the natural environment. 2 Two hundred years ago, when the United States was still young, Alexis de Tocqueville cautioned against a society wherein “each citizen… generally spends his time considering the interests of a very insignificant person, namely himself” (627) and claimed that in such a state where “all a man’s interests are limited to those near himself, folk… form the habit of thinking of themselves in isolation and imagine that their whole destiny is in their hands” (653–4). One of the things 9/11 revealed is that destiny is clearly not in their hands. To what extent is this a crisis of a nation under siege, this “city upon a hill” reduced to dust and debris, its denizens indistinguishable from the ruins through which they walk, a “scary disconnection of the human from the not-human” (Bell 33)? (Figure 2.1) The trauma of erasure effected by the religiously motivated attacks and the chaos brought to New York City, occurring at the beginning of the 21st century out of strong religious motivations, positions post-9/11 narratives within a tradition strongly evocative of apocalyptic discourse. Coverage of Hurricane Katrina had similar epic, biblical overtones. The destruction of a city (or the imagined destruction of a city) collapses any viable concept of “the human” since the presumption of the modern

Figure 2.1  T  he Semoilova photo of dust-covered people produces an affect of dislocation, a blurring of real, unreal, and surreal. The Watson photo is of a dust- and debris-covered statue. The blurring of human and nonhuman challenges human exceptionalism here, arousing an ecophobic recoil from the fact of embeddedness within a nonhuman material world. Source: AP Photo/Gulnara Samoilova,­slider-htmlstory.html/James Robert Watson, www.jamesrobertwatson. com/nycpixwtc.html.

Terror and Ecophobia  39 city as a concept rests on an aversion to the natural world, which is perceived as a hostile, alien, and distinct entity separate from human sovereignty. Ζωη, bloss leben, vita nuda, bare life, unaccommodated man: each of these terms describe life outside of protective social and political structures (Agamben 88), as it were, to use Giorgio Agamben’s terminology, succinctly drawn in his phrase “bare life.” Charles T. Lee defines Agambenian “bare life” usefully as “human subjects reduced to a naked depoliticized state without official status and juridical rights” (57). ­Terrorism is, by its very nature, engaged in the reduction of human subjects to bare life, and although this is not the same as their reduction to the plane of nonhuman animals, the isomorphic similarities between bare life and nonhuman life are obviously substantial. Agamben himself says this: “bare life… [is] a zone of indistinction and continuous transition between man and beast, nature and culture” (109). Post-9/11 literature thus is as much about the dislocation of humanity from the human as it is about human dislocation from social sovereignty. The narrative implications abound in this warlike space. As Jeffrey C. Alexander explains, one of the responses to cultural trauma “is to restore collective psychological health by lifting societal repression and restoring memory” (7), and what we find in post-9/11 narratives is a creation of collective cultural memories of the present that speculate on uncertain futures—futures derived from the fear and loathing that come about with permeable boundaries. We see this in the two senses in which we can talk about post-9/11 literature—in the literal sense of what has been written after 9/11 and in the sense of literature written about the event, literature that “takes the measure of [the] sense of crisis that has seemed to haunt the West, and the United States in particular, ever since the destruction of the World Trade ­Center” (Gray 39–40). In the former, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road offers a particularly grim and gray vision of a postapocalyptic world where the sharpness of everything has diminished. Color is absent, and boundaries have disappeared. Home as a conceptual material reality is gone, as is civilization. A man and his son walk through a devastated landscape, the prey of what remains of humanity. In danger of becoming victims of cannibalism, the man and the boy are indistinguishable from the nonhuman in an environment that is palpably hostile. The “human” is as readily prey as predator. The very concept of “the human” has collapsed in this story of individual lives, a story to come that is really ours. It is a fictional story (like the film The Age of Stupid or the Oreskes/Conway future history narrative The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future3), a kind of parable that tells a story from our current trajectory, a warning for humanity no less potent and personal than the images and stories about terrorism about which Giovanna Borradori has written (xiii). In a post-9/11 world, writing the lives that are likely to happen has become more urgent perhaps than writing those that have

40  Terror and Ecophobia already happened. The didactic pressure motivating it, certainly, is the animalistic impulse to survive. Our trajectories are grim and frightening, promising great losses. Of these, perhaps the most frightening is the prospect of the loss of agency. Fear of a loss of agency does strange things to people. Fear of the loss of agency and the loss of predictability are what form the core of ecophobia, and it is a fear of a loss of agency (or the proximity of things that would cause such a loss) that is behind our primary responses, at least, to pain, death, and even sleep. When Dimock argues that one way to imagine tragedy is “as a particular kind of irony—an irony of scale—one that arises when the gravest consequences fall where our cognitive powers are least adequate” (69), a sudden reversal Aristotle called peripeteia, we have to wonder if it is more the case of an irony of proximity (of things we obsess over but that can take away agency) than of scale (I will discuss scale in Chapter 4). Obsessed though we are with pain (which is an undeniably central part of human ontology), proximity is the key here: pain at a safe and controlled distance is fine, distance both in terms of affect and space. Definitions of tragedy (and we do well to remember that tragedies are enacted through the body) almost invariably distance the concepts of danger, pain, and suffering by elevating and ennobling them, and it is important to consider how we might better understand precisely relationships between tragedy and ecophobia. Theorists of tragedy have gone far in describing the human exceptionalism that the genre promotes. Gilbert Murray argues that tragedy “attests the triumph of the human soul over suffering and disaster” (66), George Steiner argues that suffering “hallows” the victim as if he/she “had passed through fire” (10), and Terry Eagleton (summarizing Schiller) argues that “the protagonist shakes himself free from the compulsive forces of Nature and exultantly affirms his absolute freedom of will in the face of a drearily prosaic necessity” (32). Pain brings us to the limits of who we are and threatens to take us beyond, a point Elaine Scarry made long ago about how pain makes the self disintegrate (35). That’s a good reason to keep it at a safe distance. One of the fundamentally different things about this century from the previous one is the proximity of unpredictable material danger. Those odd and terrifying moments when the world held its breath as the clock ticked twelve-ward ended up a dud of a firecracker ringing in 2000. The silence of the fireworks would not last long.4 From Y2K to 9/11 to Katrina, we may rightly be said to have entered an Age of Terror. Unpredictability has become the new norm for an increasingly anxious global community and how it sees both social conflict and environmental events. Part of our inability to respond effectively to these events, as I noted earlier, has to do with the speed and violence (and, to some degree, the ephemerality) of the images we receive. Another critical issue here, however, is what Kaplan describes as “pretrauma,” a condition in which “people unconsciously suffer from

Terror and Ecophobia  41 an immobilizing anticipatory anxiety about the future” (Climate xix). Kaplan goes on to explain that “future time is a major theme, along with thinking through the meanings and cultural work (including that pertaining to race and gender) that dystopian pretrauma imaginaries perform in our newly terrorized historical era” (4). Because the sense of a fall is so central to these imaginaries, it is crucial here to return to theories about tragedy and how the genre relates to terror and ecophobia. The stage of Tragedy, like the disaster and terror narratives (real and fictional) that have recently been flooding the market, alternately distance, or make us relive or fantasize about, the material realities that surround us. Perhaps all the world’s a stage, but all of the stages are not the world. The arrogance of humanism is its belief that all of the stages are the world. Positing the notion of agency in matter, materialist ecocriticisms challenge human exceptionalism and unseat humanity from its self-­appointed onto-epistemological throne, its imagined singular embodiment of agency, subjectivity, and ethical entitlements. Stacy Alaimo makes a similar point, discussing what she terms “transcorporeality.” Citing Andrew Light and Holmes Rolston III, Alaimo maintains that If the predominant understanding of environmental ethics has been that of a circle that has expanded in such a way as to grant ‘moral consideration to animals, to plants, to [nonhuman] species, even to ecosystems and the Earth’ [“Light and Rolston” 7], trans-­corporeality denies the human subject the sovereign, central position. (Bodily 16) Literary representations of such unseatings have tended not to be celebratory: tragedy does not celebrate the rise and preeminence of the self but rather mopes and whines about its impossibility, an impossibility rooted in isolation. The spatial and environmental dimensions of tragedy chart connections, connections that make impossible the preeminent self. Lear’s inability to separate himself from the natural environment is his tragedy. What would the play be without his being locked outside in the storm? His tragedy is his failure to see himself as embedded in materials with “interacting agencies” (Iovino “Steps to a Material Ecocriticism” 138). One of the methods of refusing to recognize and accept these agencies and of attempting to assert and maintain control over nature is discursive and has to do with naming things such as extreme weather events. Naming our environmental disasters—Sandy, Katrina, Ivan, and so on—bestows subjectivity. The ecophobic ferocity of the discourses that accompany the production of these subjects needs our attention. There are several reasons for this. One of these is that the writing of hostile environmental subjects is—at least in the 21st century—deeply implicated in many other things. The sheer complexity and size of ecophobia is daunting, and the data streaming in by the second can be overwhelming: “since the attacks of

42  Terror and Ecophobia 9/11, the media have been bombarding the world with images and stories about terrorism” (Borradori xiii), but that is not what the problem is. The problems we face do not have to do with “too much data” but rather with too little ability to translate data into knowledge and to translate that knowledge into the kinds of affect that produce real (and really necessary) action. For all of the potential good of the massive exposure to media representations of important issues (for instance, ecological issues), overexposure and commercialism also produce their own kind of fatigue about a heavily stressed and degraded environment. Responses in Vancouver or Boston, say, to environmental issues such as severe drought in the Middle East may be weak, an effect both of the numbness that results from over-stimulation and of the perceived distance between the site of the news and the reception of it. Similarly, responses in Vancouver or Boston, say, to news about Daish may be also weak, again an effect both of the numbness that results from over-stimulation and the distancing effect this has (which, compounding with the real physical distance of Vancouver and Boston from the news sites, results in a surreal blur). Miming life writing, news media try to bring the stories to a more personal level. Not just news media: scholarly work, too, often begins with a “where I was when it happened” prologue, both effectively situating the author and personalizing the narrative. In some ways, it seems that narrative itself has changed since September 11, 2001. Since 9/11, reports about environmental crises and terror have vied with each other for ascendancy, sometimes fusing, in our narratives of future ruin. At the time of my writing this article, there have been hundreds of songs, films, stories, and poems produced in response to 9/11, with a range of topics covering an immense area, each category of which itself is multi-faceted. Among the literary critiques of responses to 9/11 alone, for instance, are condemnations of censorship, of discriminatory backlash, and of unjust military actions (indeed, of war crimes by the United States—of this genre, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is the most famous). Critiques of responses are only some of a range of 9/11 literary reactions. Others include attempts (i) to understand the politics of what happened and the political fallout to it (both in terms of domestic American and international politics); (ii) to recreate a mimetic repetition of the experience of the chaos for those who were not there; (iii) to understand 9/11 as an event in the daily lives and activities of average Americans; and (iv) to “understand the longer-term psychological effects of terrorism on families, communities, and nations” (Aronstein), of which Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close are perhaps the more prominent examples. Perhaps most remarkable about post-9/11 scholarship and cultural productions is the sense of commitment it bears: Jeffrey R. Di Leo and Uppinder Mehan argue that “Post 9/11, it no longer seems responsible for theorists to engage in apolitical analysis,” and “there is an obligation to take

Terror and Ecophobia  43 theory out of the classroom and the library, and to bring it into the public arena” (18). This is precisely what ecocriticism has sought to do, and a large part of the ecophobia hypothesis is that theorizing is sometimes a precondition and basis for activism. One of the most amazing recent efforts to put theory about terror into a frame that is both publicly relevant and explicitly activist has come from Jasbir Puar’s book entitled Terrorist Assemblages: “9/11 … [is] a particular turning point or a central generator of desires for expediency, rapidity, political innovativeness” (xviii). Within the joint narratives of terror and climate change, something is going on. There is a synchronicity of terror and climate change narratives that mainstream news media mobilizes with vociferous distress, and the consumption of these narratives is disturbing because of the oppressive messages (homophobia, ecophobia) that the narratives carry. Puar theorizes about the increasing use of the figure of “the queer” as traitor to the nation (a figure of espionage and terror), at the imagining of gay marriage as “the worst form of terrorism” and gay couples as “domestic terrorists,” and at the “effusive discomfort with the unknowability of these bodies … the terrorist … is an unfathomable, unknowable, and hysterical monstrosity” (xxiii). She thus indicts many who might wish to imagine the roots being much further away. Understanding the “constructions of terror and terrorist bodies” (Puar xxiv) is key to resisting participation and to unlearning ecophobic responses. This unlearning is activism. Sucked into a patriotic vortex (even if we are not American) of nationalist, heterosexist, White, ableist, ageist, classist, ecophobic, A ­ merican exceptionalism, we are complicit in the making of the terrorist ­assemblage—and it is a vast one, certainly not confined to descriptions of people who fly planes into buildings, any more than crimes against nature are limited to Shell, ConAgra, and Peabody Energy. It is everyone. No one is somehow exempt, somehow a nonparticipatory and passive victim. Increasingly, humanity imagines itself under siege and vulnerable. Perhaps it is a sign of our maturity as a species that we see and try to understand the threats to our survival: colony collapse disorder, new and devastating diseases, global warming, 9/11 and terrorism, increasing food, water, and resource shortages, and so on. Perhaps it is a sign of our intelligence and wisdom that we narrativize our visions of apocalypse and that we entertain ourselves with stories of our own vulnerability before forces which we perceive as profoundly—indeed, lethally—violent toward our very existence. Perhaps our perceptions and almost fetishistic representations of ourselves as being under siege signals changes in our ethics toward other people and toward the natural environment. Yet, to borrow the words of political theorist Jane Bennett, “we continue to produce and consume in the same violently reckless ways” as if we do not take our own violence (or the violent reactions to it) at all seriously (113)—at least not on a

44  Terror and Ecophobia level that would cause us to change our behaviors. Part of this violence has to do with our world views that are formed and constellated largely through the media. For some time now, we have seen the world in high-resolution images that travel with inconceivable speed throughout many parts of the world. The sheer surfeit of information produces its own effects, and the “kicks just keep getting harder to find” (to cite from the Paul Revere and the Raiders). We need more the more we get, but there is a numbing effect (and my very repetition of this proves how numbing surfeit is) to all of this apocalyptic narrative—whether it is news, film, music, print, or other media—with which we increasingly entertain ourselves. Disastrous (as well as terrorist) events “have a visceral, eye-catching and page turning power,” a power that materializes the present and dematerializes more longue durée emergencies (Nixon 3). Rob Nixon wonders “how can we convert into image and narrative the disasters that are slow moving and long in the making, disasters that are anonymous and star nobody, disasters that are attritional and of indifferent interest to the sensation-driven technologies of our image world” (3). Nixon’s concern is with bringing those slow disasters which do not seem immediate into public consciousness, those events which are not Katrina or 9/11, those slow and predictable ecological deaths. Perhaps one of the reasons these are difficult to bring into public consciousness is the very fact that they are more predictable than the sudden surprises which kill thousands. 5 Representations of disaster and environmental adversity, meanwhile, often take the same shape and effect of representations of terror, and we might as easily use a description of terrorism to designate a weather event such as Katrina as “an evil that lurks beyond the pale of diplomacy, international relations, or the rule of law” (Nichols 136). Sensational news stimulates people into action, and news about terror and environment have extended the focus of tragedy from the fall of individuals to much broader considerations (the fall nations—even of our entire species), putting ecocriticism in a good position to induce changes in our ecophobic behaviors. Ecocriticism in an age of terror is well situated to challenge how we see and represent the world and to do so specifically by unveiling the dishonesty and violence that populate our narratives and our imagination about the natural world. Tragedy, for instance, is no longer the sole domain of humanity: “Rather than limiting tragedy to an artistic genre — written by a playwright and performed on stage — it is helpful to loosen up these criteria, giving it much broader scope. For tragedy does not always hinge on human authors and human victims” (Dimock 68). The collapse and derogation of the natural environment is a tragedy in itself: our being dislodged and our troubled individuality are surely tragic too, but the fall of that bigger body of which we are a part—the fall of nature, which is caused by ecophobia—is a tragic one.

Terror and Ecophobia  45 The question is not whether nature will survive: it will, but it will be diminished. The question—if we may borrow a line from Robert Frost—“is what to make of a diminished thing” (118). We will have to face this reality, a world with diminished diversity and wonders, fewer species, less of the conveniences we currently enjoy; less of the colors, flavors, smells, sights, sounds, and tastes of nature; less coral reefs and clean air, less forests and starfish, less production, less consumption, and less waste. It will mean a fall from where we are, a fall through our own fault, so to speak. This is the essence of Tragedy, and it is no longer just a human thing. Theorizing tragedy for the modern world has been under-researched but is necessary and urgent. Theorizing tragedy to address the diminishing of nature (a diminishing that is itself a direct result of ecophobia) is more than an act of political engagement: it is activist in the sense that it prompts changes in the way we understand, observe, and behave toward nature. Along with the evolution of humanist notions of rights extending beyond the human, tragic theory too must evolve to address what it is that patterns the perception and representation of ecological disasters as both terrorism and tragedy: “The moments of crisis in a community’s understanding of itself” (Poole 36) that tragedy stages are moments in the narrative of ecophobia. Terror remains one of the few things that still evokes our sense of tragedy, stimulating us into action. Discussing 9/11, Bill Nichols notes that “we respond to this initial disturbance with a violent launching of narrative energy, but with what heroes and villains, with what sense of agency and responsibility, suspense and resolution shall we populate this narrative?” (131). One of the problems is that the tragedies we want to write from our current contexts are inconsonant with traditional definitions of what tragedy actually signifies. It is hard to personify those heroes and villains in climate change. Calling nature an angry mother won’t do. Wai Chee Dimock wonders about the capacity of tragedy to represent the big material realities of environmental disasters, some immediate and some slow: “what sort of analytic language can capture this kind of plot, featuring a large-scale, nonhuman actor, on the one hand, and large-scale human casualties, on the other? In everyday speech, of course, we never hesitate to use the word ‘tragedy’” (“After Troy” 68). Dimock’s removal of the human as a causal agent is important because it allows us to discuss events driven, to use her words, by “no malice, no intentionality” (67) as terrorizing and tragic. Ecological disaster and the framework of terror within which it is conceptualized reveal that fear and contempt pattern varieties of exceptionalism. How we pattern the natural environment (whether as tragedy or terror) determines what minute and expansive regimes of violence we deem necessary or acceptable against it. Tragedy has traditionally been about the fall of an individual, but it has always had implications that radically transcend the individual. Death certainly is one of those things the individual finally suffers, but life goes on

46  Terror and Ecophobia and transcends the individual, and, as Raymond Williams explains in his work on tragic theory, “the life that is continued is informed by the death; has indeed, in a sense, been created by it” (56). The move away from a focus on the tragic protagonist has been long in the making; yet this move has been toward a no less hubristic site of troubled ­individuality—namely, the tragic group. For 9/11, this group was “Americans.” Indeed, one of the things 9/11 threatens to do, ­Judith Butler suggests, is to bring about an American “dislocation from First World privilege” (xii). But there is a larger and more pressing dislocation, one that also roils in tragedy, becoming increasingly clear post-9/11, one larger than American exceptionalism, and this has to do with the relative positions of humanity in the world as it interacts with unpredictable subjects—Katrina, Sandy, Sendai, Haiyan, M ­ aria. What makes jihad (whether in New York, Boston, or any other place) unsettling (indeed, dislocating) is its ferocity and unpredictability. Jihadists do not exempt Americans on the philosophy of American exceptionalism. Indeed, American exceptionalism is the locus of their gripe. Nature does not take notice of perceived privileges human beings regard as their right— whether these people are Americans, Japanese, or religious extremists. The whole discourse of human exceptionalism that emerges from Sandy or Sendai or other natural disasters reminds the world that we humans— the whole bunch of us—are nothing. The creeping fear in tragedy is that Shakespeare’s Lear is right, in that “man’s life is cheap as beast’s” (King Lear 2.4.267). The creeping reality of global warming—one which we are desperately trying to keep at bay—is that we are as expendable as carrier pigeons. This is the new reality that theories about tragedy need to face. Tragic theory has a long history, a daunting one for new theorizing. Rita Felski, in her Rethinking Tragedy, observes that “to speak of ‘new’ tragic theory in the context of such a longue durée of critical reflection is to risk charges of hubris” (1). But tragedy is a fluid and evolving thing. Williams reminds us that tragedy is not a single and permanent kind of fact but a series of experiences and conventions and institutions. It is not a case of interpreting this series by reference to a permanent and unchanging human nature. Rather the varieties of tragic experience are to be interpreted by reference to… changing conventions and institutions. (45–46) The tragedies we face—our own fall and the fall of nature to the status of a diminished thing—is a direct result of climate change, itself a direct product of ecophobia, and, ironically, it is the very agency of nature that we thought to efface that haunts our new realities. One of the defining features of tragedy is the notion of agency. Trademarks of tragedy are like a who’s who in the character make-up of ecophobia. As Dan Brayton reviews the term, ecophobia is a “cultural tendency to relate antagonistically to nature” (226). We can say that ecophobia is

Terror and Ecophobia  47 as inextricably involved with the broader category of anthropocentrism as misogyny is with the broader category of sexism, and as homophobia is with the broader category of heterosexism. If we understand ecophobia as the imagining and marketing of fear and aversion to Nature, then we can see also that it is a central element of anthropocentrism. ­Ecophobia textures humanity’s relationship with the natural world. This is not to say that it does so exclusively and that E.O. ­Wilson’s notion of biophilia is nullified, but that ecophobia, as a mode of aversion, indifference, fear, and contempt of nature, is a telling indicator of the need for ­environmental ethics. Increasingly, terror and ecophobia define 21st century representations of nature, and consequently there is an increasing inability to move beyond the dread and horror that frame our imagination. As the physical landscapes in which we have lived have changed radically even over the past ten or fifteen years, so too have the literary landscapes. In 1996, Lawrence Buell wrote that “to investigate literature’s capacity for articulating the nonhuman environment is not one of the things that modern professional readers of literature have been trained to do or for the most part wish to do” (The Environmental Imagination 10). Buell went on to wonder “[m]ust literature always lead us away from the physical world, never back to it?” (11). Well into the second decade of the 21st century, both sets of comments, although pertinent in their time, seem less than valid today. Indeed, virtually all ecocriticism since (and to a large degree initiated by) Buell’s monumental The Environmental Imagination has been about answering the first claim above. It is about the second ­matter—literature’s imagined lack of proximity to the physical world—that requires some unraveling, since beneath it is a conflict (perceived and real) between theory and practice. Certainly, one of the effects of conflating terror and environment is to erase the distance between representation and world, to bring us back to the physical world, to move us (at least in theory) to act. Studying this conflation forces critics to continue to speak beyond the concept of nation as well as to gather data from across the disciplines. As Ursula Heise succinctly explains, transnational ecocriticism faces the dual challenges of a global expansion of its objects of study and an interdisciplinary integration of theories, concepts, and methods. Less bound by national, regional, and linguistic borders than literary studies have tended to be, these related disciplines promise tools for developing ecocriticism’s global horizons. (“Globality” 641) While there seems little reasonable ground for disputing Lawrence Buell’s observation that there has been a “slow and uneven advance of ecoglobalism as a settled conviction and critical modus operandi relative to its ostensible cogency, relative to nationness, as an image or notion” (228),6 repetition breeds consensus, and we are slowly recognizing (and perhaps even acting on our recognition of) the globality of nature. As environmental issues know no borders and

48  Terror and Ecophobia require global perspectives, so too, Peter Singer argues, “[t]errorism has made our world an integrated community in a new and frightening way. Not merely the activities of our neighbors, but those of inhabitants of the most remote mountain valleys of the farthest-flung countries of our planet, have become our business” (One World 7). The structural similarities between the unpredictable assailants—whether political or environmental—accounts in part for compatibility of imagining terror and environmental matters together. Ursula Heise has used the risk theories outlined by Anthony Gibbens and Ulrich Beck to address “one of the most important ways of imagining global connectedness” (Sense 11), showing that the ubiquity of environmental issues “now fully integrated into the ordinariness of everyday life” (120) has resulted to some degree in what Beck terms a “world risk society.” According to Beck, “in the risk society the unknown and unintended consequences [of modernization] come to be a dominant force in history and society” (22). Keenly aware that confronting environmental crises requires engaging with the fear associated with their representations, Heise argues that risk theories enable broad visions of how “ecocosmopolitanism might link experiences of local endangerment to a sense of planet that encompasses both human and nonhuman worlds” (Sense 159). While I intend here neither a detailed examination of risk theory in general nor of Heise’s applications of it in particular, there are a few comments that we might make. Risk communication appeals to the rational on the basis of predictable dangers; terror communication appeals to a more visceral set of fears on the basis of unpredictable dangers. We might maintain that terror communication can and should be subsumed under the subset of risk communication known as “Dread risk,” which Paul Slovic and Elke U. Weber define as a “perceived lack of control, dread, catastrophic potential, fatal consequences, and the inequitable distribution of risks and benefits” (8). The problem with so doing, however, is that at the same time that it collapses several different affective responses under the rather broad notion of risk, it also precludes analysis of the assemblage work of terrorist communication. After all, representations of various environmental catastrophes in an age of terror are raced, classed, gendered, and sexualized, and the co-assembling of terror7 and ecophobia requires a theoretical approach that recognizes the willful management of visceral fears about unpredictability. It is fears about unpredictability that feature so heavily in 21st century representations of the natural environment, representations that are defined by terror and ecophobia. Beginning with terror and characterized in large part by a growing consciousness of unpredictable dangers, the 21st century has seen an increasing social packaging of terror and nature together. News media and film have been a sizeable component of this packaging of ecophobia and terror, and the effects have been profound. We witness not only the radical blurring of spatial/national boundaries but also of temporal ones. A bid to both sell narratives and to represent control,

Terror and Ecophobia  49 imagining terror and nature together presents images and narratives that are both riling and numbing, galling and entertaining, urgent and trivial. While one of the goals of the terrorist is to instill a sense of paralysis (which only works as a reflex and never in the long-term), the story-teller, the reporter, and the mass media, on the other hand, have perhaps a quite different goal beyond mere narrative: to instill indignation that tends toward action. This is important because it means that imagining the environment as a source of terror potentially implies not paralysis but action. Terror imagined seems to imply activism in its very nature. At the same time, though, the very narrativity of terror and ecophobia risks trivializing the rising of global sea-levels, the causal nature of global warming, and the dwindling of global diversity. Perhaps this goes a long way to explaining why news of our imminent demise seems to have such little effect on how we live our daily lives. We become agitated but remain passive “spectators to future ruin” (Morton, The Ecological Thought 2) rather than active witnesses. Perhaps also, although terror imagined implies activism, it does not do so singularly. Indeed, if Gregory Seigworth and Melissa Gregg are correct, then it is in the very nature of affect to be entangled in the sort of in-betweenness in which imagined terror is entangled. Seigworth and Gregg argue that “affect arises in the midst of in-betweenness” (1, emphasis in original); imagined terror is entangled in a bizarre flashpoint dance8 between a passive aesthetic appreciation and a “burst[ing] into action or being” (Kasanjian 27). Fear is embedded in non-­conscious affect resulting from trauma;9 terror mediated is pure narcissistic and masochistic entertainment. On the other hand, terror imagined is a drama of the emotions gone mad, a call to arms, a visceral force demanding a response. We search the web for exciting news entertainment, but we feel indignation and a motivation to “support our troops”… or to separate our plastics. Our contempt for “terrorists” and our contempt for hostile nature (our ecophobia) each produce affect, whether it is Al Qaeda or Katrina. Seeing environmental matters from within a human frame obviously means seeing these matters as they impinge on human constructs. Among the constructs with which environmental matters come into conflict are “the nation” and, indeed, time itself. Events of nature take no heed of human boundaries: the nation is revealed to be what it is: an epiphenomenon, literally a superficial construct, a set of erasable lines on the face of the earth. It is no match for that grounded entity called the planet, which can wipe out those lines at a moment’s notice, using weapons of mass destruction more powerful than any homeland defense. (Dimock “Planet” 1) Dimock’s use of the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” to describe natural events conflates war (or terror) and natural disaster imagery.

50  Terror and Ecophobia Seeing nature as an antagonist using weapons is, in the purest sense, an ecophobic distortion of what is really happening. Following the logic of the conflation between devastating natural events and war means seeing nature as an opponent to be fought. Devastating storms are not acts of will; acts of terror are. Even so, both have similar effects with regard to how we imagine boundaries. Devastating storms collapse our notions of time by destroying things we could not otherwise imagine disappearing within our life-times— and, of course, acts of terror function in a similar way. Who, for instance, could have imagined that the New York skyline would be bereft of the Twin Towers within our life-times? Like Muiderslot, St. Paul’s, Namdaemun, or the Great Pyramids, the Twin Towers were supposed to last longer than our life-times. So was New Orleans.10 Something went wrong. Indeed, narrativizing nature through a lens of terror to a large degree means invigorating affect against nature by enforcing narrative notions of right and wrong. But what exactly does “wrong” mean? One place to start to answer this question is with Aldo Leopold’s oftquoted comments about the wrongness of environmental disruption. But calling something “wrong” when it tends not “to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community” (Leopold 224–5), whatever Leopold’s best intentions, seems an egregious misrepresentation of biotic communities: they are far from stable and are rent from within and without by violent upsurges and down-surges, fantastical (indeed, virtually unbelievable) occurrences,11 and other morally neutral events. Nature actively disrupts the integrity and stability of biotic communities all of the time, and this is neither good nor bad. Climate change may feel evil, but it is not. Imagining nature as terror means re-articulating and reinforcing (and paradoxically erasing through the anthropomorphic gesture of attributing nature volitional motive rather than simply agency) a binary of human and nonhuman. We are well beyond the days when such a binary remains useful. In times like ours when the natural environment increasingly intrudes into the affairs of humanity and provokes terror, expanding the definitional range of tragedy to accommodate nonhuman agency will allow us to see the world more accurately. In times like ours, however much we may rail against elitism and hierarchy and class disparities, it remains a fact that most of us professors and students here right now read this work and study in an elite venue, not a park setting where admission is free to all and sundry or a public square where we are likely to rile revolutionary masses, but a university or college, an institution of higher education, at which most of our neighbors do not work. In times like ours, however activist we wish to be, our practices are unsustainable. In times like ours, when bombs go off in Boston and terrorists fly airplanes into buildings, and when hurricanes wipe out cities and other severe weather events randomly and unpredictably erase the built order and sense of place humanity has tried hard to establish; in times like these when it is hard not to hear ecocritics grasping, struggling, and committed to

Terror and Ecophobia  51 having an effect but terribly troubled about how theory distances us from intervening in real-world problems, it is necessary to see that ecophobia, terror, and literary narratives are intimately conjugated.

Notes 1 I borrow the idea of agential images from W.J.T. Mitchell’s Cloning Terror: the War of Images, 9/11 to the Present. 2 I am grateful to Sophie Christman for helping me to work through this concept. 3 See Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, Works Cited. 4 For a feminist ecocritical analysis of fireworks themselves, see Greta Gaard’s “In(ter)dependence Day,” Works Cited. 5 Sophie Christman suggested to me that it is disavowal, “consciously knowing something but deciding to ignore it anyway” (personal correspondence) that is at play here. If we understand disavowal in the Freudian sense of a rejection or refusal to acknowledge a reality because of its potentially traumatic effects, then certainly disavowal here is consonant with the idea that predictability can hinder collective mobilization and activism. 6 Buell defines “ecoglobalism” as “a whole-earth way of thinking and feeling about environmentality” (“Ecoglobalist Affects” 227). 7 Jasbir Puar looks at “the historical convergences between queers and terror: homosexuals have been traitors to the nation, figures of espionage and double agents … more recent exhortations place gay marriage as ‘the worst form of terrorism’ and gay couples as ‘domestic terrorists’” (XXIII). Puar goes on to note that “the terrorist is… an unfathomable, unknowable, and hysterical monstrosity” (XXIII). If Puar is right and if imagining terror means imagining non-normative subjects with such vociferous distress, then it seems to follow that we need to direct our attention to matters of identity, to the hows and whys terror and ecophobia reassert sets of values within identity-based narratives. Our satellites notwithstanding, we really don’t know what the world will be like next year. We really have no idea of what either the climate or the weather will be, no idea of what either disaffected Americans or anti-American others will do. 8 Walter Benjamin states that “to articulate the past historically does not mean to recognize it ‘the way it really was’ (Ranke). It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger” (255, Thesis VI). He calls these flashings-up “flashpoints” (aufblitz). David Kazanjian interprets ­B enjamin, adding that “the dangerous, fleeting, elusive, even blinding elements of memory are precisely the qualities of articulate history” (27). Put slightly differently, “flashpoints signal a procedural becoming-time… a centripetal turbulence of illumination so powerful that it may blind the past even as it spotlights the present and lights up the future” (Puar xviii). Imagining terror—whether political or environmental—means freezing a moment in the great flux that is contemporary life. 9 I am grateful to Christman for this comment. See also Christman, “Bustin’ Bonaparte.” 10 Muiderslot, built at the mouth of the Vecht River outside of Amsterdam in 1280, was destroyed in 1300 and rebuilt by 1386. It remains standing today. St. Paul’s was completed in London in 1720 and remains standing today. Namdaemun was built in Seoul in 1398 and severely damaged by an arsonist in February 2008. It was fully restored by May 2013. New Orleans, devastated by Hurricane Katrina, remains but, at the time of writing, is still a diminished thing. 11 The idea that some pine trees would need fire to melt the resin that holds the seeds in the cones comes to mind.

3 Ecomedia and Ecophobia Marketing Concerns

What reasonable human being wouldn’t be galvanized by the potential destruction of everything they’ve ever known or loved? […] How do you think this vision was received, how do you think people responded to the prospect of imminent doom? They gobbled it up. . . like a chocolate eclair! They didn’t fear their demise, they repackaged it — it can be enjoyed as video games, as TV shows, books, movies, the entire world wholeheartedly embraced the apocalypse, and sprinted toward it with gleeful abandon. (Governor David Nix, Tomorrowland)

Somewhere 35,000 feet over Kazakhstan en route to Heathrow from Incheon, I was pausing the film Tomorrowland every few seconds so that I could get the quotation accurately. No doubt irritated, the man beside me took the liberty to read what I was copying. “Spot on,” he spat out. “Spot on.” Perhaps, but we were both on a very long flight and in no position to align with the third-person accusatory or to muse about how “they” sprinted anywhere. The man was obviously excited, moved perhaps to consider doing something different in his life—perhaps not flying anymore, though I doubted it, since even ecocritics like me don’t seem to hesitate flying anywhere anytime if someone else is footing the bill. Expanding one’s carbon footprint is easier when others are footing the bill, obviously. It is perhaps for this reason that so much of ecomedia1 ends up reproducing the structures and ethics that are at the root of so many Anthropocene problems, why the enfranchised sprint with gleeful abandon, while those footing the bill suffer and die. Ecomedia reflects patriarchal self-obsessions, with even the most promising of recent media performances, the laboriously negotiated COP21 agreement, 2 gendering and sexualizing (hetero-sexualizing, to be more accurate) the Earth with the phrase “Mother Earth” (see UNFCC 21). So, while we are flooded with images and narratives of environmental crises, things are getting much worse, and one possible reason is that we are simply not acknowledging the condition of ecophobia as a maladaptation based in the affect of aversion. Global warming and extreme weather

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  53 events will only continue to worsen until we begin to understand and to confront the fact that the problem we face is more serious than climate change, if that is even comprehensible.3 In short, the problem we face is ourselves, and, if we are to move from theoretical interpretations to changing our material practices, then it is imperative that we understand the ubiquitous global effect of ecomedia’s conveyance of ecophobia. Tomorrowland, for all of its moving rhetoric about people not responding to the prospect of imminent doom, is just another in a long line of counterproductive ecomedia narratives. Not only are they counterproductive in the sense that they reproduce (and sell for profit) the ecophobia, heterosexism, and misogyny that got us into this mess; worse, they articulate the very thing, the humanistic narcissism, that will always prevent any change for the better, a narcissism of which the term “Anthropocene” freely indulges. If we really want ecomedia to encourage activist engagement, then we need to understand the mechanisms preventing it. The Tomorrowland speech is boring—at least, it should be to any intelligent person. Roger Ebert could as well have been talking about Tomorrowland or about any number of blockbuster eco-films when he stated that The 11th Hour is a “tedious documentary” and that “we more or less know all this stuff, anyway.” Ebert goes on to ask, “so does the movie motivate us to act?” His answer is “Not really . . . finally we’re thinking, enough already; I get it. This film, for all its noble intentions, is a bore” (“The Eleventh Hour”).4 And we should be numb to this and to Tomorrowland, and to all of their boring sophomoric brethren since they are not offering anything new, any knowledge we don’t already have.5 Like many ecocritical essays, ecomedia often simply tells us what we already know about CO2 in the atmosphere and about how humanity needs to reduce its carbon footprint. We know the problems. We know potential solutions. What we have yet to figure out is the route toward collective intervention that will help reverse the detrimental and disproportionate effects of climate change. It is on these matters that ecomedia is often simply silent. And there are clear reasons for this. Ecomedia finds itself in a bit of a bind, facing what Rob Nixon calls “formidable representational obstacles” in determining “how to devise arresting stories, images, and symbols adequate to the pervasive but elusive violence of delayed effects” (Nixon Slow Violence 2). Ecomedia helps us to visualize what Nixon describes as “a violence that is neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive, its calamitous repercussions playing out across a range of temporal scales” (2). Depicting ecophobia and its resulting environmental crises, however, runs very real risks of (i) reproducing and enabling what it critiques— namely, the ecophobic ethics that are so central to the problem in the first place; (ii) diluting and blurring abstract concepts, as well as virtual

54  Ecomedia and Ecophobia and actual worlds, and thus causing a malaise of indifference about the environment; and (iii) producing compassion fatigue.6 Ecomedia often acts as a transmitter of ecophobia through its enmeshment with other rights-denying behaviors. The enmeshment of ecomedia with ideologies that have a proven record of marketability and consumption is indeed problematical. We know, for instance, that sexism sells well, and it sells whatever it is attached with. A recent Brad Pitt film entitled World War Z shows this with a doctor ranting about nature in the following manner: Mother Nature is a serial killer. No one’s better. More creative. Like all serial killers, she can’t help the urge to want to get caught. What good are all those brilliant crimes if no one takes the credit? Now the hard part—while you spend a decade in school—is seeing the crumbs for the clues there. Sometimes the thing you thought was the most brutal aspect of the virus turns out to be the chink in its armor. And she loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths. She’s a bitch. And then there is Alvin Duvernay in The Age of Stupid, a regular sort of guy talking in the most reasonable colloquial tones about the worst storm ever to hit an American city: “You stare Mother Nature in the eye. Usually, she’s fairly benign. Then she comes along, methodically, ruthlessly. And then she stands toe-to-toe with you and dares you. Dares you: ‘Go ahead and get your best equipment out. Go ahead. Do it. Let’s dance.’” It is easy and reasonable to relate to this (and who wouldn’t, when not doing so seems unpatriotic?), but such sexist, anthropomorphic, and clearly ecophobic metaphors of a malevolent nature are counterproductive and simply not going to help make our environmental crises any better; on the contrary, such sentiments (although they may sell well)7 are simply perpetuating the idea that nature (and women) should be controlled. This is the very kind of sexist ecophobia that has produced the kinds of troubles we currently face. But it sells well, and there is receptivity to endorsements of attitudes that deprive others of liberty; after all, these very attitudes have allowed slave owners, sexists, and colonialists (the founders of the United States) to thrive. Marketing environmental concerns has become big business. Narrative science generates both a desire for engagement and a desire for forgetting. These two seem mutually incompatible, and what is troubling is that the latter seems ascendant. Narrativized science sells books and films—and it does so to audiences with, it seems, increasingly short attention spans. It sells the ideologies that spell profit; that profit from the bodies and work of women; that ransom and exploit animals and ecosystems; and that unquestioningly steal from the land, the seas, and the skies. While potentially a call to arms, therefore, these narrativized versions of science can also—in terms of activism—result in virtually

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  55 nothing. This is perhaps clear in the stunning example of films such as An Inconvenient Truth and The 11th Hour, neither of which says a single word about gender inequality or meat.8 We just get tired of the “drumbeat of news about various overwhelming environmental” problems (Moser 68). In trying to understand this, George Marshall explains in his pop-­ ecomedia Don’t Even Think About It that we become “the bystander looking out the window and saying ‘We really must do something about this’” (31). For Marshall, “Climate change—the real climate based on scientific facts—lacks any readily identifiable external enemy or motive and has dispersed responsibility and diffused impacts. Issues of this kind are notoriously hard to motivate and mobilize people around” (39).9 At least part of the result here is compassion fatigue. If it is dubious whether or not the spate of climate change narratives based in science that have bombarded the public over the past several years have had a measurable immediate10 effect, then it seems incumbent upon us to figure out why. Part of this means seeing how our assumptions are represented and confirmed in the media of film, and one of the important first steps for us here is to see connections. There are important parallels between ecophobia, on the one hand, and conditions such as sexism, racism, and homophobia, on the other. We continue to see blockbuster films about heroic heterosexual men with docile and often subordinated women following after them;11 we continue to see inadequate representations of Asian-Americans in film; we continue to see homophobia, racism, and sexism in filmic narratives that confirm the propensities of the ecophobic unconscious12 and its focus on the white, heterosexual male subjectivity. These narratives target mainstream Western audiences and aim to maximize profits. The role and function of ecophobia works in similar ways to homophobia, racism, and sexism. The narrative object remains distant, and the audience disavows how personal this “environmental crisis” stuff all is, that it might, for instance, require us to change what we grow, purchase, and deposit into our bodies. When Peter Brooks thus explains narrative desire as a “desire for the end,” we know that “the retrospective knowledge that it seeks” (104) is one of confirmation. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, Franny Armstrong’s The Age of Stupid, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour are part of this docudrama genre, this narrative science spewing out a lot of very good information, yet it is also “confirmational” in the sense that Brooks describes. I do not personally know anyone who has permanently stopped eating meat—or stopped driving or stopped flying to conferences—because of these films. In addition to the marketing of the familiar that ecomedia utilizes in facing its formidable representational obstacles, there is also the very real problem of scale, and the irony of our task is palpable: we need

56  Ecomedia and Ecophobia to see the long and the slow in an age of the short and the quick, an age of increasingly short attention spans, an age of what Linda Stone has termed continuous partial attention.13 Rob Nixon asks how we can “turn the long emergencies of slow violence into stories dramatic enough to rouse public sentiment and warrant political intervention, these emergencies whose repercussions have given rise to some of the most critical challenges of our time” (Slow Violence 3) and notes that “one of the most pressing challenges of our age is how to adjust our rapidly eroding attention spans to the slow erosions of environmental justice” (8). Pat Brereton’s provocative suggestion that “for most people the mass media are the primary way in which they acquire ethical attitudes, especially within contemporary culture” (2) suggests that there is a great importance in saturating these media with eco-messages. Yet this kind of overexposure could produce a backlash effect, and this backlash may end up being very counterproductive. We know this on a very common-sense level, and when an idea becomes generally accepted, no matter how radical it may have been initially, its cultural coding shifts, resistance to it becomes attractive, and we find representations of “climate deniers as attractive young suburban professionals,” as Marshall explains (30) in his quest to understand why climate change discourses aren’t working, “how it is possible, when presented with overwhelming evidence, even the evidence of our own eyes, that we can deliberately ignore ­something—while being entirely aware that this is what we are doing” (1). Disco had its day, and anyone growing up in the 70s remembers the saturation point, that point at which it became embarrassing to be associated with it, at what point it created its own backlash. Ecomedia is perhaps less likely to bring about a backlash effect when it produces a strong visceral affect, a sense of pertinence that goes well beyond the delivery of a message and delivers instead understanding, a sense of an involvement with a living object rather than a sense of watching a dying one, a sense of immediate and personal danger, a sense that one’s self-interests are palpably at stake rather than of insularity from the future ruin of something from which we are alienated. In addition, ecomedia is more likely to have the desired effect of encouraging activist engagement with the world when it offers at least some hope. This is what Astrida Neimanis, Cecilia Åsberg, and Johan Hedrén perhaps mean in noting that “while issues such as water pollution, habitat loss, and rising global temperatures are certainly troubling, consistently negative, even apocalyptic, framing may not lead to effective citizen participation and may stifle opportunities for innovative thinking around environmental challenges” (77). Ecomedia is more likely to have an effect, therefore, when it allows us to be participants rather than spectators and when it allows us hope. The urge to offer hope is certainly behind a lot of the marketing of things as “eco.” Diane Ackerman confesses to being “enormously hopeful” (13) in her recent book The Human Age: the World Shaped by Us,

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  57 a book that is astonishing and disturbing in many ways. Ackerman explains that “our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable” (14). She talks about how “we rack our sun-smelted brains to find newer ways to capture and enslave the sun” and adds that “wood, coal, oil, and gas were only intermediaries after all, and using them was a sign of our immaturity as a species” (106), but she is missing a plain truth here: our use of renewable resources far predates our use of fossil fuels! She explains that we are “far better at tampering with nature than understanding it” (153) but goes on cheerfully to explain that the animals now going extinct because of us “might all haunt the Earth again” (162) because clever humans had the foresight to save their DNA. It is tempting to share in her enormous hope, to smile hopefully at the horrific science here. Ackerman claims that “wiping out the genes of others and planting your own . . . must come naturally to our kind” (273). She offers no empirical evidence for such a hypothesis. Nor does she reference any of the pioneering works of ecofeminists about cohabiting in a world with other-than-human species: somehow, the work of ecofeminists and the topic of gender do not seem to fit into Ackerman’s hopeful discussions. But it is when she urges us to change our perceptions of the holocaust in nature that we are causing to an understanding that “we’re revising and redefining nature” (199) that we get a taste of the arrogance in which she participates, an arrogance gathering behind growing discourses about “the Anthropocene.” The much-vaunted term “Anthropocene” starts to seem like yet another affirmation of the heroic (or antiheroic) human subject and of our obsession with ourselves. Indeed, we have to wonder about the hubris perhaps implied in the very term “Anthropocene”: as Astrida Neimanis, Cecilia Åsberg, and Johan Hedrén suggest, “calling an epoch after ourselves does not necessarily demonstrate the humility we may need to espouse” (68).14 The hopefulness of movies such as The Day After Tomorrow resides precisely in a rejection of such humility, precisely in the notion A ­ ckerman expresses that “our talent is immeasurable,” that we are somehow in control of the world (an idea that undergirds the very notion of the ­A nthropocene). Our obsession with ourselves is clear here: modern life encourages an aversion to the natural world,15 and there is obviously more to the problem than the simple techno-fixes Ackerman imagines. Greta Gaard speaks to this issue directly: climate change has been most widely discussed as a scientific problem requiring technological and scientific solutions without substantially transforming ideologies and economies of domination, exploitation and colonialism: this misrepresentation of climate change root causes is one part of the problem, misdirecting those who ground climate change solutions on incomplete analyses. (“Ecofeminism and Climate Change” 24)

58  Ecomedia and Ecophobia In other words, we are looking at the symptoms rather than the causes. To talk about human ingenuity in dealing with symptoms with hopeful abandon really does not seem very wise, since it does not address the core issue of the psychological disavowal of nature. Ackerman’s hope is ungrounded and foolish. Desperate for hope, bright people have tended other gardens of great foolishness, one of which is the notion that biophilia alone adequately describes our relationship with nature. The concept of biophilia has been one of the sunnier ideas about us and how we fit into the world, but in the final wash, it just doesn’t work out so well as a model for understanding human/environment relations.

From Theory to Practice There is a growing sense about the urgency to theorize ecophobic discourses. At the 2015 ASLE-US hosted by Scott Slovic in Moscow, a meeting of ecocritics that was truly the biggest and most diverse and brilliant to date, there was an enormous amount of exceptional work being done theorizing ecophobia. Nicole Seymour’s suggestion that “we might say that ecophobia has a distinct transphobic dimension: a fear of nature’s changeability” indeed comes to the heart of several issues we face in discussing ecophobia. Brian Deyo talked about “the psychological dynamics of climate change denial as symptomatic of ecophobia;” Xinmin Liu about relationships between landscape perception/­representation and ecophobia; Sophie Christman theorized (in a panel entitled “Ecophobia, Melancholy, and the Empathy Gap; or, Why the Anthropocene Feels So Depressing”) about how memory and trauma are involved with ecophobia and how ecophobic acts “derive from and are embedded in a multidirectional memory of past and future events;” Andrew ­McMurry talked about “death, denial, melancholy” and ecophobia; Patrick Gonder about Thoreau, noise, and ecophobia in a film called Upstream Color (about two people whose lives and behaviors are affected by a complex ­parasite—without knowing it—that has a three-stage life cycle in which it passes from humans to pigs to orchids);16 Zümre Gizem Yılmaz talked about terror, ecophobia, agency, and robotics; and there were important others. The current theorization of ecophobic discourses extends beyond the United States: the ASLE-UKI in Cambridge in September 2015 also hosted interesting advances in theorizing of ecophobia; at the 2016 ­E ASLCE (European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment), there were four talks directly theorizing ecophobia; and in May 2017, EASLCE hosted “The Ecophobia Hypothesis,” the 9th EASLCE Webinar, which had ten participants (the maximum permitted) from five different countries discussing many of the issues covered in this book. Thus, it is clear that just as ecomedia studies have developed as an offshoot of ecocinema, ecophobia studies has now emerged as a scholarly field of inquiry.

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  59 It is a top priority of ecocritics to understand our ethics toward nature: the ways in which we approach, observe, interpret, and interact with nature constitute a value system. Both changing values and climate change share some common features. Both can be so slow as to be almost beyond the capacity of people to perceive. Both are in some sense global. And both are earnestly addressed in contemporary media. How, where, and at what pace ethical change happens varies; how climate change manifests disproportionately in particular places also varies. And humanity is, to some degree, in control of both. Perhaps this is where the common features end. What exactly are the relations between the ecophobia/biophilia spectrum, on the one hand, and the reality of climate change on the other, and how are these represented in contemporary media? How violent are the effects of virtual reality landscapes and spaces, and to what degree does the divorce from material realities enforce an exploitative ethics toward nature? To participate in virtual reality denies and disavows our existence on Earth. To be “virtually there” is not the same as being there. And, of course, in another sense, according to the oft-mentioned “history of Earth on a 24 hour clock,” we’re “virtually there”: less than two minutes to midnight. What exactly is supposed to happen at midnight, and what does it mean to stare at the ugliness of our future, a future that we’ve created? For Walter Benjamin, it means addressing alienation: “Mankind, which in Homer’s time was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, is now one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as aesthetic pleasure of the first order” (242). Benjamin might as easily have been talking about climate change fiction and the spate of environmentally inspired apocalyptic movies that have kept us enthralled for the past few decades with increasing incidence. Reflecting an increasing public awareness of radical weather events, an increasing degradation of ecosystems, and an accelerated mining of the Earth’s nonrenewable energy sources, “Climate Change Fiction”—what has come to be known as Cli-Fi, a term coined by freelance journalist Dan Bloom (see Glass, Works Cited)—has flourished. So too have documentaries about environmental crises. At the same time, news about global air quality and about species extinctions have become the norm. How is it possible to explain in a meaningful and productive way why it is that media representations of environmental crises rely on an ethical framework that reproduces rather than repudiates the very structures that have led to the catastrophic changes we face in global ecosystems today? How is it possible that both increased awareness among lay people and radical exposure of environmental issues in media can be present at the very moment in history when there are what seem to be exponential increases in assaults on the environment? While much interesting and informative work has been done examining ways in which contemporary film (documentary and drama) has

60  Ecomedia and Ecophobia promoted or sought to promote awareness of issues related to environmental crises of different kinds,17 work examining the ways that ecodrama and eco-documentaries themselves often re-inscribe the very ethics that they question is relatively sparse.18 Patrick Murphy has argued in Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations (2014) that films with “environmentally aware story lines do have the potential to contribute to increasing public awareness of real environmental issues” (35) but that these “writers and directors tend to capitulate to a Hollywood style emphasis on pathos and deemphasis of political critique” (35). Murphy argues that one of the ways films capitulate to Hollywood is by too frequently focusing on the reintegration of the biological nuclear family and by portraying the intertia of governments and corporate obfuscation of scientific knowledge as the work of evil individuals rather than fundamental drives of the corporate and government systems of power. (35) A perfect example of this might be The Day After Tomorrow. In an almost comic acceleration of climate change with equally comic effects (ships negotiating downtown New York City streets), the real story we follow is Professor Jack Hall’s (played by Dennis Quaid) as he treks through the horrors of a clearly oppositional and hostile nature to find his son. There are several issues here: (i) the male hero and the precious male subjectivity are unquestioned—neither the environmentally destructive elements of this massively self-centered ego nor the unsustainability of the ideals it embodies are queried—yet director Roland Emmerich claims to have wanted to critique the environmental policies of the junior Bush Administration; (ii) the film’s choice of Hall as a hero and of the government as an antihero is in line with Murphy’s comment that a focus on government sidelines our personal involvement with the issues; and, perhaps most importantly, (iii) the overall position of the film is hardly pro-environment, or pro-Nature, or pro-world, and it is difficult to imagine how a film that is, in fact, so anti-environment, so ecophobic, can possibly do any good. Emmerich was very much aware that he was portraying Nature as a “bad-guy,” a thing to be fought, an angry opponent to be feared but finally conquered. He is quoted as having said “I don’t need a monster or a villain. Just the weather” (see Bowles, Works Cited). One certainly doesn’t want to minimize the good work that this and similar films do, and yet neither should we be naïve about the deficits of these and similar films, and the dangerous assumptions they reiterate. Emmerich’s next film—2012—would similarly fail to critique the environmental policies that have caused climate change. Indeed, this ridiculous film (floating with just enough science to be marginally plausible for people who know nothing about plate tectonics) focuses its lens on solar flares that in the film are causing the Earth’s core to heat up. The land masses become flooded in a matter of hours, virtually the same

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  61 time that it took for entire continents to shift thousands of miles in the film. The environment becomes the key antagonist, and human ingenuity becomes the solution—a fleet of giant arks in the Himalayas. As with The Day After Tomorrow, we follow a heroic man who is trying to keep his family together. Of course, this is a film, not a documentary. What is particularly interesting and alarming is that even the blockbuster documentaries whose intents are clearly to effect change rather than to offer narrative—even these are radical failures. While we certainly may be thrilled to see Leonardo DiCaprio (The 11th Hour) and Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth) and Pete Postlethwaite (The Age of Stupid) in blockbuster films on the topic, these films also perpetuate some of the problems. It is not a matter of picking holes in the green credentials of the films; rather, in situating how we market our concerns through the reiteration of sets of popular but fundamentally oppressive ethical world views, we are better able to understand why Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, can state “I would not agree that it [CO2] is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see” and keep his job (see diChristopher).19 In looking at the performative ethics that such marketing creates, we may potentially move toward less passive spectatorial positions. There is a real need, as Scott MacDonald has argued, for taking the opportunity to use spectatorship as a way of “expanding our attention span” (111). Arguably, the ethical assumptions we carry as we produce and consume environmentalist narratives fail to promote the engagement and activism so central to such narratives. Clearly, what we have done in the environmental humanities in the past twenty or thirty years has NOT stopped or slowed the rates of species loss, carbon output, or global warming. Understanding the global role of ecomedia in the transmission and prevalence of ecophobia is critical in transfiguring theoretical interpretations into practice. This is an argument that I made in my 2009 “Theorizing,” in which, in theorizing about ecophobia, I explained that it is delusional to think “that theory is incompatible with praxis, that theory cannot lead to changes in public policy, that theory is no good for the ‘real world’” (206). Ecophobia is a subtle condition that both produces and responds to ecomedia narratives. Yet even a global approach that faces ecophobia full-on does not guarantee that we can save even a single blade of grass, let alone the planet! Recognizing the ecophobic condition is one necessary step in an ongoing journey. One of the problems we face, obviously, as Ursula Heise dryly notes, is that somewhat like cultural studies, ecocriticism coheres more by virtue of a common political project than on the basis of shared theoretical and methodological assumptions, and the details of how this project should translate into the study of culture are continually subject to challenge and revision. (“The Hitchhiker’s Guide” 506)

62  Ecomedia and Ecophobia Theorists are held together by interpretations of common concepts but often do not go further than interpreting texts. A plurality of interests is an important part of what ecocriticism is, yet, as there are core similarities among and therefore defining humans (not diminishing or intended to diminish the importance of an extraordinary diversity of shapes, sizes, hues, faiths, beliefs, tastes, sexualities, walking styles, professions, and so on), so too are there core similarities in this discourse we call ecocriticism. What this discourse lacks, though, is an organizational structure of methodological cores to qualify its discursive value. While certainly ecocritics have begun to recognize the futility of offering mere interpretations in their work, the fact is that much of the work still being done in ecocriticism is precisely that: mere interpretation. Such a situation clearly is not limited to ecocriticism. It has long been a troubling reality that literary theory is what University of Alberta Professor David Miall provocatively dubs “pre-theoretical.” “Literary theories,” he contends, cannot be right because they cannot ever be wrong. There is no evidence that could confute a literary theory, thus such writings are strictly speaking no more than interpretations. Literary theorists, like Galileo’s inquisitors, refuse to examine evidence for literary reading in the empirical sense; offered a telescope, they rule that such an instrument cannot exist or that it exists only as an ideological construct rather than a tool to aid perception. (23–24) Miall wants to see an empirical study of literary reading that succeeds in giving “central place to the experience of real readers, placing on the agenda for the first time the richness, range, and personal significance of the reading in our culture” (34). Ecocritics want much the same. Posing positions on the thematic function of trees in Macbeth is not going to do much to save the trees of the Pacific Northwest from the pine beetle, whose populations in recent years have exploded due to warmer winters. Positing proposals about the role and function of animals in Tristram Shandy is unlikely to stop people from eating Big Macs. So much of what passes as ecocritical theory is merely interpretive analyses from thematic starting points20 lacking a methodology—such as a real theory has (say, deconstruction)—to guide it.

Media-Phobic Morals Even the ecophobia hypothesis will remain a thematic venture until it responds to the way in which moral behaviors are redefined by media. The tobacco industry didn’t fall overnight. Knowing that cigarettes cause cancer isn’t enough. Knowing that air travel causes global warming doesn’t stop even ecocritics from flying all over

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  63 the place: “information alone does not guarantee action” (Willoquet-­ Maricondi, “Preface” xii). How we change and how media participates in these changes is an ongoing and slow process of osmosis. How media and literary texts themselves respond to the saturation points (we all remember disco) requires attention, and such attention ipso facto entails theory and methodology. One thing is certain: the more a given narrative personalizes a given terror, the more likely is a visceral and engaged response. Like a playwright standing behind the curtain, watching the audience’s responses and snipping bits out or expanding other bits, media also very clearly responds to the audiences. This is what test screenings are all about, after all. Paula Willoquet-­ Maricondi notes in an early study of ecocriticism and film that “to study our representations of nature, whether linguistic or imagistic, to scrutinize how we give nature a voice in human artifacts, is to probe into our values and culturally constructed beliefs about the nonhuman world” (“­I ntroduction” 5), and this seems a very good beginning. There is absolutely no question that “one of the central ways we shape our relationship to other animals, our place on Earth, and the social structures that arise from these understandings is through media and culture,” as John Parham has eloquently explained in Green Media and Popular Culture (1). I have stated elsewhere that The marketability of disaster films (documentary and fictional) and the representations of future ruin they often display offers both depressing and hopeful possibilities. The narrativizing, on the one hand, writes us into positions as spectators with a poor focus. We are passive (and therefore complicit) viewers of our own dramatic decline. No less, though, are these filmic narratives potentially transformative and radical: their narrativizing of important and often complex and abstract material makes available to a broad public vital information. (“Spectators to Future Ruin” 49) We have to ask what our viewing of these narratives means, “how images of ecology can be used to activate popular support for the repair of our local and global ecologies” (Ross 175). 21 We have to question “the exploitation of nature at the service of screen spectacle” and to “rethink the environmental ramifications of our daily attitudes toward cultural practice” (Vaghan 24, 25) since doing so will take us to a clearer understanding of the subtlety of ecophobia. We have to question the sources, the statistics, and the effects these media offer. As Johanna Blakley asks, What if we applied the scientific rigor of the pharmaceutical industry to TV programming? What if we treated media as if it were a drug: which delivery systems would prove most potent and for whom? What types of content would prove life-­ changing? (“How Does Media Move Us?”). She notes that “virtually no

64  Ecomedia and Ecophobia one agrees on how to measure media usage, engagement, and most importantly, impact” (“How”—emphasis in original). Even the comments about flying in which I have freely indulged here mask other realities about the costs of our lifestyles and about who foots the bills. Indeed, some truly startling facts have appeared about the digital revolution. For instance, what at one point may have seemed to be a paperless, green, digital revolution is, in reality, not quite so green and sustainable as we scholars in the environmental humanities may wish to think, benefitting as we do from today’s truly amazing information technologies: by 2009, “the server farms that allow the internet to operate and that provide cloud-based digital computing had surpassed the airline industry in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide released into the Earth’s atmosphere” (Rust, Monani, and Cubitt “Introduction,” 3). 22 Naomi Klein theorizes that the links between environmental destruction and capitalism cannot be ignored, 23 and this is, no doubt, an important point, one that reveals a convergence of form and content. Within a system of business built on selling as much as possible to as many as possible, form and content must, it seems, often come together if the narrative is to sell. It wouldn’t do for Al Gore to advocate for and succeed in stopping the use of fossil fuels. The system would grind to a halt. Perhaps it wouldn’t do for him to use his voice to shut down the meat industry either. And life without those server farms is simply inconceivable at this point. These things are substantial parts of the engine that keeps capitalism running and are, like the system of which they are a part, simply incommensurable24 with environmental ethics. The system needs varieties of ecophobia (fear of bugs or loathing of bodily odors or ethical disregard for animals, for instance) in order to continue functioning, and it is probably this that explains why, in spite of the enormous investments in ecologically progressive narratives, not much is changing; but capitalism is certainly not the cause of our ongoing environmental problems: it is the latest in a long history of models that rely on ecophobia, that exploit sexism, that bank on inequitable structures, and that depend on obfuscation and lies about real costs and about who foots these bills—and it is an efficient model, well-refined and frightening. As Greta Gaard reminds us, however, we are to “Make no mistake: women are indeed the ones most severely affected by climate change and natural disasters, but their vulnerability is not innate; rather, it is the result of inequities produced through gendered social roles, discrimination, and poverty” (23). Make no mistake either in thinking that any of this is new: ecophobia, sexism, heterosexism, and racism predate capitalism by millennia. Capitalism is a symptom, not a cause. Addressing symptoms instead of causes does not seem a promising method for changing things.

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  65 We face a challenge that is not just about changing the economy; it is about changing ethics, and this is a monumental task. In his review of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, Rob Nixon notes that “to change economic norms and ethical perceptions in tandem is even more formidable than the technological battle to adapt to the heavy weather coming down the tubes” (“Naomi”). Part of the difficulty here is that our sense of place in the world and—more importantly—our sense of what threatens us is by no means static.

Unsustainable Liberties Charlton Heston on the sandy beach (which was previously New York City Harbor) yelling “damn you all to hell” is my earliest television memory. Living in Vancouver, I hadn’t seen the actual Statue of Liberty, but I had an idea of what it was and what it represented, and the image was shocking. Thirty-five years later, The Day After Tomorrow, as it were, and Liberty is buried up to her nose in ice. In the late sixties, contributing to public awareness about the future meant raising consciousness about our capacities to destroy ourselves through nuclear war. By the early years of the 21st century, it means raising awareness of our abilities to destroy ourselves by changing the climate. Depicting threats of the erasure of the icon of American liberty remains as potent today as it was in 1968—perhaps more so under the Trump Administration than not. A victim in these media of the very liberties that it represents, mute “Lady Liberty” stands unshaken and does not yield or change or move. Clearly, exploiting boundless and unfettered liberty, a concept that America has enjoyed and promulgated, is both unsustainable, in an environmental context, and ironically reliant for its continuation on notions—such as sexism, racism, homophobia, and, not least of all, ecophobia—that are in stark conflict with the very bases of liberty. 25 Uncurbed liberties are dangerous. 26 The notions cherished about liberty in 1968 with Charlton Heston pounding the sand gets Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon a year later, taking humanity a giant leap forward from the idea that the world is at its disposal. With the Earth irrevocably polluted, it was perhaps inevitable that the universe would end up at our disposal—and, indeed, a site of our disposal, with half a million pieces of space junk totaling more than 2 million kilograms floating around up there. 27 Dangerously wrong ideas about uncurbed liberty are not the only environmentally hazardous notions that the 1960s hosts and that continue in media for decades after. The belief that computers will take us away from paper and from our carbon-dependent lifestyle was very wide of the mark. Yet fantasies persist in the most mainstream of environmentally oriented media, disturbing because this is the venue, as Rust, Monani, and Cubitt observe, most promising for effecting the kind of

66  Ecomedia and Ecophobia broad social changes that are currently necessary if we are to survive as a species: “popular media have several important sociocultural qualities (such as their broad consumption and appeal to multiple segments of society) that make them potentially finer antennae than the fine arts for sensing the changing moods and tendencies in cultural perceptions of environmental relationships and concerns” (4). By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the topic of climate change and environment had become an increasingly marketable one, with the Animal Planet/Discovery Channel’s joint production of the CGI series The Future is Wild (2003), Alan Weisman’s 2007 book The World Without Us, the History Channel’s Life After People (January 2008), and the National Geographic Channel’s Aftermath: Population Zero (March 2008), each, in their own way, tacitly presenting an implicitly ecophobic vision of a Nature that will finally conquer humanity, reclaim all of the world, and remain long after we are gone. Such is also true of the adventure-nature genre, which includes shows on the Discovery Channel (Lee Stroud’s Survivor Man, Bear Gryll’s Man vs. Wild, Steve Irwin’s Crocodile Hunter) or ESPN Outdoors (Spook Span’s Monster Buck Moments, Cyril Chaquet’s Fishing Adventurer, Tom Miranda’s Territories Wild); films on extreme sports such as Mark Obenhaus’s Steep, Dean Potter’s Aerialist, or the adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air; or films such as Sean Penn’s Into the Wild (another Krakauer adaptation), and Peter Lynch’s Grizzly Project. (Monani 102–103) A setting for privileged he-men, these land- and seascapes are playgrounds for big boys, their big toys, and their macho games. The shows pander to these patriarchal crocodile hunters and grizzly men. Far, far away from these “nature” programs are the transformative visions of feminists and ecofeminists. Odd indeed to see narrative science purportedly about “saving the environment” carrying across sexism and its ugly brother ecophobia. If Patrick Murphy is correct and films do capitulate to a Hollywood style emphasis on pathos, then it is because pathos sells. Like all narrative, filmic narrative seeks an audience. Narrative, as a form, is ethically uncommitted to environmentalist praxis and seeks simply the retention of an audience, and what we are faced with is, to be plain, entertainment. Naomi Klein has shown convincingly (16–17) that the problem we face does not have to do with our technological ability to change or with the logistics of such change itself; the problem does not have to do with our capacity to work collectively; and it does not have to do with our understanding of the severity of the issue. Klein reiterates a sentiment that might explain at least one cause: “Already, climate change is

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  67 changing us, coarsening us. Each massive disaster seems to inspire less horror, fewer telethons. Media commentators speak of ‘compassion fatigue,’ as if empathy, and not fossil fuels, was the infinite resource” (53). At the very moment that we need to engage with the material, as I have been arguing, we are becoming numbed by it, and we just want to forget about reality. We tend to forget many inconvenient truths. We tend to believe that we are not in discourse with the ontological realities outside of us, and that even though we may admit their existence, they will not harm us. We forget that our conjugal relationships with toxic lifestyles hasten global warming. Like our enmeshment with matters of death, pain, and suffering, our participation in toxic lifestyles is really a practice of eco-exceptionalism and toxic amnesia. We have created regimes of displacement that allow us distance from environmental matter. Perhaps ecophobia’s indifference and contempt has so blinded us to the enormity of what we do—the theft without compensation, the wholesale robbery on an enormous scale, the aggravated violence and torture, the colossal profit we take from the world 28 —that we now suffer an epic loss of perspective on our collective capacities.

Moving Forward and Marketing Change It is a truly fine and excellent thing that environmental narratives have become so very marketable within academia and also outside of its borders. The flooding of the market with disaster films, apocalyptic narratives of our own self-destruction, documentaries, and so on offers up both threats of relegating the material world to mere spectacle and commodity to be consumed by passive viewers, on the one hand, and, on the other, offers opportunities for action and engagement. The true value of media is in its potential to transfigure human behaviors. Knowledge, in itself, is not enough. If it were, then there would be a lot less smokers in the world. The environmentalist movement shares many things with the ­antismoking movement. It is hindered by mammoth corporate entities (most notably oil companies, meat production companies, and agriculture companies) that benefit from unsustainable lifestyles. Just as tobacco companies have spent billions of dollars to advertise that smoking was not the cause of cancer, was not harmful, and was actually beneficial in many ways (“Watch your nerves . . . let up—light a Camel,” a cigarette advertisement ran in the 1930s), hired science researchers blow smoke in our eyes about the causes of climate change and environmental degradation being outside of our influence.29 And just as Barack Obama helps us claw our way out of the smoky pit of lies, Trump and his side-kick Pruitt pull us back down. What will it take to stop this insanity? It took various kinds of legislation to rein in the tobacco monsters, and many people saw those laws as an infringement on personal liberty.

68  Ecomedia and Ecophobia It took appeals to emotion, to reason, and to financial sensibility. It took a broad-based change in ethics. It took sacrifices. It took years. And when the tobacco industry was thriving, no one would have thought it possible to destabilize these behemoths. Many people would have lost jobs, and, anyway, there was little felt need for shutting down these businesses. As there are limits to free speech (for instance, when such speech endangers other people), so too perhaps it is time to take a good look at what is illuminated by “Lady Liberty” and her torch. We flatter ourselves as academics on our abilities to produce and dispense knowledge. Marketing narratives and the knowledge that such narratives produce, however, simply isn’t enough to cause change. If those behemoths that seemed so unassailable (Malborough, Camel, and others) have been to some degree divested of their power and authority, then it was through an enormous amount of effort, not simply through the dissemination of knowledge but through a change in social understandings of relations between personal liberty and public responsibility. If knowledge were enough to cause change, then we’d have problems explaining the average air passenger, or automobilist, or meat eater— indeed, my own presence at many conferences. If there were laws about how much we could fly, then there would be changes—but do we want such laws? It is a simple question, and we must ask it: what will it take to cause change? The answers are disturbing. As with movements against tobacco industries, it will take various kinds of legislation against things that we like doing, which many people will see as an infringement on personal liberty. It will take appeals to emotion, to reason, and to financial sensibility. It will take a broad-based change in ethics. It will take sacrifices. It will require serious analysis of the role and function of our changing media. And it will take years. We may not have as many years as we need. We may indeed now be doomed to remain spectators to our on-going ruin. Popular representations of our on-going crises provide potentially important clues to where we might go from here. In a brief monograph entitled Ecomedia (2005), Sean Cubitt states that we have no better place to look than the popular media for representations of popular knowledge and the long-term concerns so little addressed in dominant political and economic discourse. In their own ways as complex as the language of scientific papers on policy documents, popular media think aloud about who we are, where we are going, and what debts we owe to the world we live in. (1) While Cubitt does note that “many films are predictably bound to the common ideologies of the day” (ibid), exploring the implications of these

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  69 sites of bondage is not the primary concern of the book. Yet, since these sites of bondage are the main thing holding ecomedia back and preventing it from having a genuine effect on the status quo, it seems to me, as I have been arguing here, of paramount importance to look at these issues. Stephen Rust defines ecomedia studies as “a historically situated, ideologically motivated, and ethically informed approach to the intersections of media, society, and the environment” (87). Assuming that ecomedia is, in fact, ethically motivated, then it cannot be anything less than absolutely crucial to understand what is holding us back. In following John Parham and discussing “the possibilities of and limitations for an ecological perspective within mainstream media and culture” (xiii), we might go a step further and ask what it is exactly that defines the contours of those possibilities and limitations. To do this, theorizing about ecophobia must be front and center. Scholarship that links ecophobia and ecomedia has not yet appeared in publications, though there have been important connections made between the broad areas of “environmental studies” and “media studies.” The development of the subfield “ecomedia studies” is very promising. Sean Cubitt’s 2005 EcoMedia stands out among the work in this area in that it directly attempts to deal with the question of data overload in ecomedia and with what is implied in the absence of a common code for dealing with such data. Cubitt notes that “the mere absence of a common code [for cataloguing data] does not preempt the desire for dialogue: on the contrary, it spurs on invention of means for mediating between distinct and asymmetric entities” (134). We can surmise from Cubitt’s observations that the digital eco-­ humanities collects and works with data and with the narratives that are necessary for making them accessible. Some narratives are filmic; some are in the form of databases; some are in the form of interactive websites, and so on. Stephen Rust, Salma Monani, and Cubitt coedited another milestone work in the field: Ecomedia: Key Issues (2015). While discussions of feminism and ecofeminism would no doubt strengthen the arguments in the book, as would investigations into matters about ecophobia, the collection offers an expansive set of analyses on every type of ecomedia and is a tremendous contribution to the conversation. In general, however, the absence of work integrating feminism30 and theories about sexuality, erotophobia, and ecophobia seems a liability in ecomedia studies, since it is the very degree to which ecomedia carries across sexism, homophobia, erotophobia, and ecophobia that it is held off from having the kinds of interventionist effects that it ostensibly seeks—that is, to fixing what is wrong. Nevertheless, there is a growth of some very good work appearing. For instance, Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker’s Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and the Environment is a compelling attempt to articulate “the enmeshment of media practices

70  Ecomedia and Ecophobia (both textual and technological), infrastructures (physical and social), and resources (natural and human)” (3). Sophie Christman and E. Ann Kaplan’s “The Climate of Ecocinema” offers “case studies [to] show how ecocinema scholarship can use the human filmic gaze to address climate and environmental challenges in fiction, cli-fi, and documentary films designed to entertain, educate, and oftentimes, to promote climate change action” (20)—but there is indeed very little of this kind of scholarship (compared, for instance, to the amount of work still being produced on such an ecocritical favorite as, say, Walden). In the Introduction to her enormously popular This Changes Everything, Naomi Klein asks precisely this question: “What is wrong with us?” (15). And there is something wrong. Part of it, of course, has to do with attitudes that deprive others of their liberty. Relationships between the attitudes toward women in patriarchal societies are not an issue Klein mentions at all, despite many other quite brilliant observations. Long involved with analyses of intersections among gender, sexuality, class, and environment, Greta Gaard is one of the strongest advocates of the need to ask difficult questions in order to see issues within their proper contexts. Studying ecophobia—which will always be feminist and will always ask about individual responsibility—is necessary because the effects of work in studies about “biophilia” have been radically unsatisfactory and simply do not lead to any kind of awareness about the ecophobic ethics within ecomedia and how these are translated to popular constituencies. It is essential to articulate the un-ecological ethics in our everyday minds—which we disavow, avoid, or are simply unaware of—that contribute to environmental problems. Looking at ecophobia promises to lead toward the “fundamental shift in human consciousness” that ­Stephen Kellert sees as being necessary for mitigating our environmental crises (26). Looking at ecophobia promises to lead to an innovative approach to achieving such a necessary shift. The academic and practical value of this research is vast and offers not simply to expand the range of ecocriticism but to formalize interpretive strategies of reading and viewing that could potentially change the trajectory of ethics through which environmental matters are represented. What this means in terms of the environment has to do with the connections between media representations of the natural environment, on the one hand, and our relationship to that environment on the other. Analyzing ecophobia allows us to develop a polemical ethical paradigm within which to house our thinking about nature. If we compare anti-sexist and anti-racist movements and how these movements have invariably involved changes in the kinds of representations prevalent in media, then we can understand the possible

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  71 direction ecomedia may follow. In the United States, for example, racially inflected comments fall under a recently developed legal category called “hate crimes.” Other countries have similar legal structures in place. Many countries also now have laws against representing violence toward women. The point here is that as the moral circle expands, so too must there be changes in the kinds of representations permitted in literature, news media, the internet, film, and so on. Why are ecophobic representations of and actions toward nature not subject to the law?31 Why are they not under the category of hate speech and hate crimes?32 Having them so would seem a reasonable outcome of the expanding circle of moral concern that has already produced greater protections against sexism, racism, and speciesism. If ecomedia reflects dominant culture, and sells well in doing so, then it need not confine itself to reflecting the creepiest sexist and ecophobic aspects of dominant culture: the expanding circle of moral concern is also a dominant cultural trend. One of the important points John Parham makes in his Green Media and Popular Culture: an Introduction (2015) is about the necessity for media, if it is to have any effect, “to adapt itself to and speak in the modes and language of the dominant culture” (xvii). The dangers here are multiple. One of these is that when adapting to the language of the dominant culture, playing into sexism and ecophobia is an easy trap to fall into, and its results are counterproductive. Another matter, of course, is the danger of being sucked in and unable to withdraw from the views that accompany speaking “in the modes and language of dominant culture.” This would explain the primary contradiction of ecomedia and how it delivers comments about nature being a bitch and daring people to dance. On my way to the 2015 Modern Language Association (MLA) Conference, the man sitting beside me on the ­SkyTrain in Vancouver reflected this contradiction well. He asked why I was going to the MLA and what I would be talking about, and after the conversation turned toward environment, gender, and race, he identified himself a feminist and told me that “girls these days have it rough, still don’t get paid the same, you know. Nuttin’s really changed, eh?” I wondered but didn’t ask, “Do you know that girls are children?” A feminist would know that. Our conversation fell into a lull, and the man ate his Egg ­McMuffin. I opened the website for McDonald’s on my phone and noticed a tab about sustainability and wondered how many people get sucked in by it. Meat and the American lifestyle that McDonald’s promotes, notwithstanding its professed concerns about sustainability, are obviously incompatible with any strained version of meanings inherent in the word “sustainability” or “feminism,” aren’t they? The servers I accessed with my phone are similarly unsustainable. At this point, it is clear that there are several reasons why so much of ecomedia has so little effect on pushing people to change their behaviors

72  Ecomedia and Ecophobia and halt the warming of our atmosphere: (i) it reproduces and enables the ecophobic unconscious it critiques; (ii) it blurs imagined and real worlds, evoking indifference and aversion while diluting abstract concepts to simplistic levels33 and encouraging stupidity and a failure to see connections among issues;34 and (iii) it numbs us into a kind of paralysis.35 Living in an age of spectatorial complicity means having such blurred boundaries among the various kinds of narratives that we produce as to be unable to distinguish fact from fiction—and also, to a great extent, to be unable to really care. It is the capacity of what we say to confirm the status quo that requires attention. The danger of bringing things to the lowest common ­denominator—whether we are talking about the more than eight million people who take to the skies every day, 36 or a burger joint that serves sixty-nine million customers daily37—is that it is within the very language and the ethics that media uses that we find the biggest problems. When media trivializes nature as an object of entertainment, or as a gendered hostile enemy (a bitch trying to get you, an angry mother nature, and so on), or as the antagonist in a series of dramas about a humanity imagined as besieged and embattled: these things are just not going to help. They haven’t so far, and they won’t. There can be no question that there is a profound importance of making available to lay audiences material that is difficult, or inherently scientific, or simply numbing in its enormity, but it must be done honestly and without reproducing the very terms it seeks to critique. Otherwise, we’re doomed. But we can be hopeful: indeed, we need to be hopeful—otherwise, why bother? We can be hopeful because there is so much more that ecomedia can do, so much that it hasn’t done. 38 We can be hopeful because “Over the last twenty years, the growing number of films and film festivals devoted to environmental concerns points to environmentally engaged cinema as a powerful tool for knowledge dissemination, consciousness raising, public debate, and, many hope, political action” (Paula Willoquet-Maricondi, “Preface” xi). We can be hopeful because films do cause change.39 We can be hopeful because there is a lot of exciting theorizing that needs to be done, and, apparently, it has been left to us to do it. To borrow a phrase from David Bowie, “we can be heroes” rather than idiots to the generations that will follow us. Much theorizing has been done, but as Sherilyn M ­ acGregor explains in a 2010 article about the gender dimensions of climate change, much theorizing remains to be done on “the discursive constructions and categories that shape climate politics today” (223): “climate change is cast as a human crisis in which gender has no relevance” (225).40 We can be hopeful because we know the solutions and we know the way. We know that change will only happen within a feminist framework when we all foot our own bills.

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Notes 1 I use the term ecomedia in the broadest sense to include any media that deals with environmental issues, implicitly or explicitly, though my focus in this article is primarily on filmic media. “Ecomedia studies,” meanwhile, is best defined by Stephen Rust “as a historically situated, ideologically motivated, and ethically informed approach to the intersections, of media, society, and the environment” (87, italics in original). 2 COP refers to the “Conference of the Parties.” The “Parties” are the nations that joined the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. COP21 is the 21st conference of its kind, and it was held in Paris, France on November 28, 2015. 3 The failure to address social issues that are linked with ecophobia in climate change discussions is really in its infancy. Involved are, as Greta Gaard has recently noted, “issues such as bullying in the schools, hate crimes legislation, equity in housing and the workplace, [and] same-sex marriage . . . [that] don’t [even] appear in climate change discussions” (“Ecofeminism and Climate Change” 24). 4 Diane Ackerman, in her exploration about aspects of the Anthropocene, discusses “an ability to bore ourselves that is so horrifying we devote much of our short lives to activities designed mainly to make us seem more interesting to ourselves” (306). 5 Susanne Moser discusses psychic numbing and apathy extensively in Creating a Climate for Change. She notes that “while several writers have suspected that environmental problems may contribute to numbness and apathy […] only a few empirical studies have actually examined the emotional and cognitive responses to climate change, its impacts and solutions” (68). Such research is critical in understanding why ecomedia is perhaps having less effect than one might wish. I am grateful to Sophie Christman for bringing the work of Moser to my attention. 6 In a recent New York Times op-ed piece, Scott Slovic and Paul Slovic discuss the “psychic numbing” that attends “when we are presented with increasing numbers of victims” (Slovic and Slovic, “The Arithmetic of Compassion”). On a related topic, see also Slovic and Slovic’s Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data (2015). 7 World War Z, for instance, had a production budget of 190 million dollars (US) and grossed $540,007,876 worldwide (Box Office Mojo). Sexism sells, as does ecophobia. In a set of analyses touching on The Day After Tomorrow, Hunter Vaughan discusses how the “grandeur of spectacle [proves] enormously successful on a commercial level, catering to heightened audience fears in an age of increasing uncertainty and unpredictability” (30). Much media indeed plays on this uncertainty, this ecophobic fear of the unpredictability (indeed, uncontrollability) of nature and the subsequent threats it is imagined to pose. 8 The economic industrialization of animal bodies is not good for the environment, an irony explicitly avoided in these films. There is enormous waste and inefficiency in meat, milk, and egg production in terms of the energy input to protein output ratio, compared with the energy required to produce protein directly from vegetables. There is also an enormous and similarly well-­documented waste of water in such processes. The impact of the meat industry on climate change, however, has only recently caught the attention of the UN, which has singled out beef production as a key ­contributor to greenhouse gases. An online report posted by Ecofont

74  Ecomedia and Ecophobia ( mentions that a cow produces more greenhouse gases (methane in particular) a day than a 4/4 SUV and that “Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 20 times worse for climate change than CO2 emissions.” There is growing consensus that a vegetarian (or vegan) diet is good for the environment (“Eat Less Meat,” see Works Cited). If there is hope at all in the power of media to cause changes in how we relate with the environment, changes that might ultimately help us to slow climate disasters, then it might be found in the new attention that mainstream media outlets such as CNN are giving to meat, attention that might have similar effects that media pressures against smoking ultimately had. CNN has run stories about “Why Beef is the New SUV” (Sutter, see Works Cited), about “How to reduce your cancer risk and help the environment: Eat less red meat” (Nestle, see Works Cited), and asking “Ditch meat to fight climate change?” (Mounk, see Works Cited). The cumulative effect of these stories can help lessen the impact of climate change. 9 The urge to create a “readily identifiable enemy” may be part of what is going on with the ecophobic personification and gendering of nature. 10 The urgency of the problems we have created obviously requires immediate action. This is not, however, to devalue the importance of the longer timescale changes, the extensive intellectual shifts that must occur at a popular level before we can produce any meaningful and lasting changes in our relationships to the world around us. 11 The final scene of the original 1968 Planet of the Apes is interesting in its focus on the heroic male subject and his precious feelings. Taylor (played by Charlton Heston) discovers the Statue of Liberty half buried in sand on the beach he walks along. He falls to his knees, the mute Lady Liberty in front of him, his mute female travelling companion (Nova, played by Linda Harrison) behind him. Nova had obediently followed after him in this horrific dystopia wherein “apes” have taken over. It is interesting that the film gives voice to apes before it gives voice to women and that we are ultimately left with a topless, muscular, heterosexual psyche shouting “God damn you all to hell.” 12 I am indebted to Christman for this term. 13 Stone explains that To pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention — ­ ONTINUOUSLY. It is motivated by a desire to be a LIVE node on the C network. Another way of saying this is that we want to connect and be connected. We want to effectively scan for opportunity and optimize for the best opportunities, activities, and contacts, in any given moment. To be busy, to be connected, is to be alive, to be recognized, and to matter. We pay continuous partial attention in an effort NOT TO MISS ANYTHING. It is an always-on, anywhere, anytime, any place behavior that involves an artificial sense of constant crisis. (Stone) 14 I discuss this further in Chapter 4. 15 See also Richard Louv, The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (2008). In this book, Louv argues that access to nature, to the outdoors, and to real (rather than virtual) plants, animals, and landscapes is essential to the emotional and physical development of children. Louv argues that children today suffer from a “nature-deficit disorder.” One of the more challenging tasks we face, therefore, is about grasping how technologies have changed our very understandings of nature and space. As Alice Rayner eloquently puts it, “cyberspace, variously known as the Internet, the Web, or an interactive digital technology, offers more than

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21 22 23

a new landscape for performance; it challenges the very meaning of ‘space’” (350). We can’t just ignore this. Gonder also spoke on ecophobia at the 2017 ASLE meeting in Detroit. The paper—entitled “Red of Tooth and Tentacle: Lovecraft, Ecophobia, and the Obscene”—was in a session that was part of an ecomedia (specifically film, in this case) stream dealing with horror. Pat Brereton, for instance, in his informative and meticulous Environmental Ethics and Film (2015) explores “how mass audience films and their use of a creative imaginary display a range of cautionary allegorical tales that help to promote greater awareness and debate concerning the central importance of environmental ethics for the very survival of our planet” (1), that “Hollywood has an important role to play in promoting awareness around environmental ethics and helping to construct new modes of popular engagement through visualization of environments, drawing on a long romantic history around the therapeutic representation and evocation of nature” (1). Recent work by Astrida Neimanis, Cecilia Åsberg, and Johan Hedrén attempts to diagnose precisely the problem I tackle in this chapter about why, despite heavy interest in the environment these days, not much is changing. They discuss four problems that currently frame our relations to the environment. These include: the problem of alienation and intangibility; the post-political situation; the negative framing of environmental change; and compartmentalization of ‘the environment’ from other spheres of ­concern–both in practical and ontological terms (69–70). An essential solution for them (as for the argument of this chapter) is a need to rethink “the ‘green’ field to include feminist genealogies” (67). My approach to ecomedia through the theorizing of ecophobia parallels and intersects with the work of Neimanis, Åsberg, and Hedrén. Theorizing about ecophobia is feminist in nature, transdisciplinary in approach, and committed to inter-species justice in practice. A recent op-ed in the New York Times describes Mr. Pruitt’s capricious decision to reject the science he doesn’t want to use. Discussing an interview of Pruitt with The Daily Caller, McCarthy and McCabe explain that “he [will] no longer allow the agency to use studies that include nonpublic scientific data to develop rules to safeguard public health and prevent pollution.” Among the work Pruitt will no longer allow the E.P.A. to use are “studies […] that determine the effects of exposure to chemicals and pollution on health, [and that] rely on medical records [… Some of these studies] by law are confidential because of patient privacy policies.” McCarthy and McCabe go on to explain that “under Mr. Pruitt’s approach to science, the E.P.A. would be turning its back on its mandate to ‘protect human health and the environment’” (see McCarthy and McCabe, Works Cited). In his “500,000 Kilowatts of Stardust,” Hunter Vaughan similarly complains about “representationally driven ecocritical analysis” (25) and offers a detailed eco-materialist account of water consumed in the production of the film Singin’ in the Rain. I am indebted to John Parham for pointing out this quotation. Rust, Monani, and Cubitt cite Boccaletti et al. as the source of this data. The language here is interesting: why “farms,” and what are the potential theoretical/conceptual connections between meat farms and server farms? Cf. Estok, “Narrativizing Science,” 149: “capitalism and environmental ethics seem in many ways incommensurable.” Neimanis et al. rightly note that “many scholars regard [neoliberalism and freewheeling capitalism] as the origin of current environmental degradation” (75–76). The origins, of course, go back much further.

76  Ecomedia and Ecophobia 24 While Klein is certainly not the first person to have suggested this, her best-selling This Changes Everything is a valuable popular contribution to the discussion. 25 Trump’s notion of muzzling news media is not the suggestion or solution here; muzzling Trump and his free-wheeling with the future might be a better solution. Having the freedom to withdraw from the Climate Accord and using such freedom are very different things. 26 Liberty stops at hate speech and hate crimes (at least it should), yet mainstream media participates in marketing both of these crimes. Our challenge is to deal with this without becoming Trump. 27 CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) reported in 2013 that as of 2011, there were more than 500,000 pieces of space debris measuring between one and ten centimeters. Of the 2.3 million kilograms of human-made objects in low-Earth orbit, 90% is space debris. See “Space Junk by the Numbers,” Works Cited. 28 I write intentionally mimicking Conrad’s description of colonial racism because seeing and theorizing connections (such as we find between racism and ecophobia, or between homophobia and ecophobia, or between misogyny and ecophobia) is a vast business. 29 In North America, 52.9% of the men and 31.5% of the women smoked in 1964, the year that I was born; eventually, however, people did finally understand that tobacco was lethal. See “Appendix A: Cigarette Smoking in the United States” (A-9), Works Cited. When I first observed the similarities ­between the tobacco lobbyists and the climate deniers (giving a keynote speech at a 2010 conference in Mainz, Germany), I thought that I had been quite clever and wondered why no one else had seen the similarities. Many, in fact, have, perhaps most extensively Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway: they discuss how scientists have obscured the truth on matters regarding tobacco smoking, acid rain, DDT, and the hole in the ozone layer and make explicit comparisons of these with the rhetoric of climate deniers. See ­Merchants of Doubt (book 2011; film 2014), Works Cited. 30 Things are changing, to be sure. For instance, Pat Brereton’s Environmental Ethics and Film (2015) has an entire chapter entitled “Ecofeminism, Environmental Ethics and Active Engagement in Science Fiction Fantasies.” 31 There is an increasing number of countries that are legislating climate change policies. China, for instance, is a leader in this movement, with a formal 2014 proposal entitled “The Act of the Peoples’ Republic of China Addressing Climate Change” (Cheng 122). According to the China Economic Herald, there are “about 30 existing domestic laws related to climate change” (see Chen “The First Draft”). These laws do not, however, characterize the offenses as hate crimes. 32 One of the reviewers of this chapter in its earlier form as an article astutely perceived that because “distinguishing hate speech from free speech has been a long battle, as the ‘freedom of speech’ is guaranteed in the United States by that nation’s Bill of Rights,” the suggestion of banning some kinds of representations may garner controversy. The reviewer then asks: “Will this essay be charged with censorship, in the way that anti-pornography feminists were similarly charged in the 1980s (i.e., Catherine MacKinnon, Andrew ­Dworkin)?” It is a risk, certainly, but the ethical position is unassailable: ecophobic representations are indeed hate speech and should therefore be banned, just as “snuff” films sexualizing assaults and murder of women, people of color, animals, and so on have been banned. 33 To imagine that an electric car, for instance, is always better than a gas car, as advertisements and news media suggest, is simply wrong. I spend half

Ecomedia and Ecophobia  77


35 36 37 38



of my year in Vancouver where I drive a fully electric Nissan Leaf, 97% of the electricity coming from clean or renewable sources, mostly hydroelectric (“BC Hydro” 14). In Seoul, where I spend the other half of my year, an electric car is far more dirty than a regular gas car (perhaps even a hybrid), 40% of the electricity coming from coal (see Jang), another 22% (and growing) from nuclear power (see “Nuclear”), while “renewables account for 6 ­percent” (see “South Korea”). For all of the talk about energy conservation in the United States and ­Canada, home hot water tanks do not seem to be part of the conversation. How many hot water tanks are there in use in North America anyway? There are 323 million people in the United States and another 36 million in Canada. What kind of energy does it take to heat hundreds of millions of 50 gallon tanks 24/7? Why is this not in the media? A tankless boiler heats water for any purposes literally within seconds. In South Korea, tankless boilers are all there is. Mine is off all of the time, and I turn it on just before I need it—and there’s never a problem. Why is it that hot water tanks aren’t a part of the conversation about climate? Cf. Neimanis, Åsberg, and Hedrén, Note 16. This statistic is from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). See “New Year’s Day 2014 Marks 100 Years of Commercial Aviation,” Works Cited. See “Better, Not Just Bigger,” Works Cited. Pat Brereton’s welcome discussion of ecofeminism in science fiction reveals how much hope there is with this genre. Brereton’s discussion devolves on Elysium and The Hunger Games, both of which position women into powerful roles; yet the structures remain the same in both films with a simple replacement of men by women. Until the actual patriarchal structures change, it seems unlikely that we will make much progress either in terms of the environment or society. Having an African-American as president of the United States doesn’t change the structures of racism that exist in the country, and white police officers continue to kill black men, women, and children; having Elizabeth I as the Queen of Shakespeare’s England didn’t change the structures of sexism that kept women off the stage, their parts played by cross-dressed men, and women continued to suffer in the ­Elizabethan period so that men could do their thing; having women at the helm in Elysium and The Hunger Games similarly doesn’t make a lot of difference and doesn’t seem very feminist. For that matter, having the environment the focus of so much media attention doesn’t guarantee a movement toward environmentalism or to producing environmentally aware or active people. The structures remain the same, ecophobia unquestioned and untouched. How we understand this change is important. In a Tedx Talk, entitled “Movies for a Change,” Johanna Blakley determines, “and it took a lot of math to figure this out,” that the documentary film Food, Inc., in fact, did change people in terms of attitudes and behaviors. But what about a film such as The Day After Tomorrow or Tomorrowland? Did these films stop anyone from flying or from using the internet? Food is a very different sort of category, a very personal matter that has to do with real bodily penetrations. Peter Singer and Jim Mason go as far as to say that often in history, “ethical choices about food were considered at least as significant as ethical choices about sex” (3). So to say that Food, Inc. changed people is not necessarily to provide useful data that can be correlated to An Inconvenient Truth or 28 Days Later. I am indebted to Greta Gaard from bringing this article to my attention.

4 From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology

In large part because of the ecophobic mind-set that has been such a staple in the history of our species, we are leagues away from solving our environmental problems. The multiscalar effects of climate change are simply staggering, especially in relation to nonhuman species. So extensive is the human impact on the world that there is global acknowledgement that the planet has entered a new epoch—the Anthropocene1—if not an entirely new era (the Anthropozoic Era). The terms Anthropocene and the Anthropozoic Era represent an attempt to expand our understanding of the scale of the problems that humanity has produced; yet discussions about them 2 have tended more to the descriptive than the diagnostic and have failed to source the disease. One of the inherent paradoxes of the Anthropocene concerns the scale of human influence on planetary systems. On the one hand, there is no question about humanity’s contribution to global warming, species loss, ocean acidification, extreme weather events, rising sea levels, decreasing ice, and retreating glaciers; on the other hand, the scale of possible actions that humanity can utilize to slow, stop, and reverse these, and other effects of climate change is dubious at best. The simple reality is that global warming is on an exponential trajectory that will disproportionately impact Earth’s multiple species, and despite increasingly frenzied rhetoric, humanity has discarded its duty of care for the environment. One way in which humanity has discarded its duty of care for the environment is through exploitative modes of animal agriculture. To presume, for instance, to consider climate change without analyzing the meat industry is nothing short of hollow talk and hypocrisy. Activism that presents itself as green without detailed and consistent reference to critical animal studies3 is doomed from the start. I call this kind of surface commentary “hollow ecology,” and it characterizes the rhetoric of CNN and the IPCC, and much of their discourse on global warming and climate change. Failing to address “the animal question” forecloses the possibility of having an ethical scale appropriate for the enormity of the problems we face in the Anthropocene; moreover, the very term “Anthropocene” poses its own special scale issues in that it reaffirms the scale limitations and ecophobia that “species-thinking”4 imposes.

From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology  79 There is increasing attention to the question about why environmental problems (the effects of plastics in the seas, the frequency of extreme weather events, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, extinctions, and so on) are getting so much worse at the very moment in history when so much media effort is raising consciousness about the increasing problems we face. Work in ecomedia studies, for instance, has directly undertaken complex and varied analyses of how to have effects on climate change. Astrida Neimanis, Cecilia Åsberg, and Johan Hedrén suggest that “one of the stumbling blocks many scholars and citizens alike face in thinking through the environment is the issue of scale” (73). They argue that to organize “dominant imaginaries, practices, and politics around a human-scaled existence” makes “it difficult to relate to environmental issues that are predominantly sensible at other scales” and that “this intangibility—i.e., the difficulty of literally grasping these phenomena and effects—leads to alienation, whereby human stakeholders do not feel invested in environmental issues” (73–74). For Neimanis et al., scale-frames determine what we can see and what we cannot see; the problem is that stakeholders (like most everyone else) cannot see enough to invest in things that will help solve environmental problems. Solving these problems means addressing ecophobia and the blindness it imposes about the scale of things. Solving anthropogenic environmental problems involves expanding our senses of time and space, modifying the temporal and spatial scales we use to understand and apprehend what Rob Nixon has called “attritional catastrophes that overspill clear boundaries in time and space” (7). One of the results of our expanding senses of time and space has been a different understanding of matter. In particular, work resulting from “the new materialism” has stressed the importance of understanding the mutual entanglements of agentic matter. As we have expanded our temporal and spatial scales, then, so too, I would like to suggest, have we begun to imagine agentic capacity5 as a scale that urgently needs attention. Yet, for all of its attention to the materiality of mutually entangled agentic bodies and the enmeshment of rocks and toads and bodies and hills, there seems to be an oversight in the macro-scale focus of the new material turn, which could be limiting, and it is productive to critique and theorize the larger scale, the billions upon billions of bodies of nonhuman animals as agentic, since so doing permits analysis of the ethical scale that not only allows continuation of this environmental crime but actually encourages it. For Cary Wolfe, “the success of capitalist globalization [… is] borne on the backs of billions of dead animals,” and “the very ecological sustainability of the planet is at stake in the repression of this violence against nonhuman animals” (Before the Law 101). In her discussion of performance theory and drama, Una Chaudhuri neatly sums up the situation: [a]s pets, as performers, and as literary symbols, animals are forced to perform for us […] Refusing the animal its radical otherness

80  From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology by ceaselessly troping it and rendering it a metaphor for humanity, modernity erases the animal even as it makes it discursively ubiquitous. (“Animal Geographies” 105)6 As the circle of ethics has expanded (see Singer 1981), and as discussions about varieties of contempt for otherness have been defined, laws have developed around the use of terms designating otherness (these laws govern offenses that are termed “hate crimes”); yet the revision of ontological categories, when it has moved beyond the category of personhood at all, has often privileged sentience, leaving aside the nonsentient biotic and nonbiotic ecosystems of the world. More than a century and a half ago, William E.H. Lecky was urging the expansion of the ethical circle: At one time the benevolent affections embrace merely the family, soon the circle expanding includes first a class, then nation, then a coalition of nations, then all humanity and finally, its influence is felt in the dealings of man with the animal world […] It is abundantly evident, both from history and from present experience, that the instinctive shock, or natural feelings of disgust, caused by the sight of the sufferings of men, is not generically different from that which is caused by the sight of the suffering of animals. (102) In the 20th century, Lecky’s call to expand our scale of ethical inclusion was taken up in earnest by advocates for animal rights. Indeed, there is an expanding circle of work on and attention to the importance of theorizing about animals within the environmental humanities; yet the magnitude of animal abuse in the world—already dizzying—is also expanding, requiring a different scale of measurement than what we currently use in order to appreciate the enormity of the problem. Much of the problem of scale here is a problem of ethics. It is intellectually interesting to devise hot new ways to frame the problem; to produce complex new paradigms and elaborate explanations; and, especially, to try not to be repetitious. Yet there is a need for and a real virtue in repeating what needs to be heard when it hasn’t been heard.7 It is precisely this kind of insistence that, with any hope, will “eat away at society’s complacency toward the food industry’s objectification and mining of animal bodies” (May “Bambi,” 104). If, therefore, it seems embarrassingly passé to talk about animal rights, we might do well to remember that for all of the media attention, things have only gotten progressively and exponentially worse for animals over the years. How could our understandings of the problems have been so hollow as to result in such an absence of change? One answer to this question may lie in what David Abram has called “a strange inability to perceive other animals—a real inability to clearly

From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology  81 see, or focus upon, anything outside the realm of human technology or to hear as meaningful anything other than human speech” (27). It is reasonable for Abram to proceed to try to figure out precisely what kinds of things keep our notions of scale fixed: Our obliviousness to nonhuman nature is today held in place by ways of speaking that simply deny intelligence to other species and to nature in general, as well as by the very structures of our civilized existence—by the incessant drone of motors that shut out the voices of birds and of the winds; by electric lights that eclipse not only the stars but the night itself; by air ‘conditioners’ that hide the seasons; by offices, automobiles, and shopping malls that finally obviate any need to step outside the purely human world at all. (28) The echoes resound with what others have said, notably, perhaps, Paul Shepard. As far back as 1969, Shepard, in his provocative and important “Ecology and Man—A Viewpoint,” expressed clearly what I would years later define as “ecophobia”: The anti-nature position today is often associated with the focusing of general fears and hostilities on the natural world. It can be seen in the behavior of control-obsessed engineers, corporation people selling consumption itself, academic superhumanists and media professionals fixated on political and economic crisis; neurotics working out psychic problems in the realm of power over men or nature, artistic symbol-manipulators disgusted by anything organic. It includes many normal, earnest people who are unconsciously defending themselves or their families against a vaguely threatening universe. The dangerous eruption of humanity in a deteriorating environment does not show itself as such in the daily experience of most people, but is felt as general tension and anxiety. We feel the pressure of events not as direct causes but more like omens. A kind of madness arises from the prevailing nature-conquering, ­nature-hating and self- and world-denial. (Shepard Subversive Science 8) The ideas here are not easy to face, and it is just nicer to think that we all are genetically inclined to love nature, and theorists have pointed to a near-­universal fondness for baby mammals with oversized heads and eyes (hence, the phenomenal appeal of Hello Kitty), a fondness for plants (even if only on the tiles in bathrooms), and the frequent use of nature in language, to mention just a few bits of evidence summoned for the biophilia hypothesis. The reality is closer to what Shepherd describes, and it is ecophobia, not biophilia, that accounts for our growing environmental problems.

82  From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology It is easy to distrust the notion of biophilia. Aaron Katcher and ­ regory Wilkins, in their chapter in the acclaimed Biophilia HypothG esis, argue that “our willingness to exterminate animals and destroy habitat are reflections of [ . . . a] universal tendency to reduce the complex roles played by animals to simple images defined by human interest or need” (190).8 This willingness to accede to the ecophobic condition prompts simplistic thinking. When the scale of our understanding of the world, as well as the scale of our ethical relationship with that world, is determined by the parameters of utility that we imagine in that world for us, the environment will not fare well. I share the distrust of Katcher and Wilkins regarding the capacity of the concept of “biophilia” to explain the mess we are in. My dissatisfaction with the capacity of what has come to be termed “the biophilia hypothesis” to adequately account for the kinds of things that are going on in the world has, over the past twenty years, only grown, as has my conviction that we need to address in full the implications of what E.O. Wilson has proposed if we are to come to any kind of understanding about why humanity is so bad for nature. The biophilia hypothesis is rooted in a resolutely utilitarian ethics in which the object of consideration is valued for its isomorphic similarities (its life) notwithstanding its scale. Biophilia does not include nonbiotic nature except to the degree that it serves biotic nature. This seems a liability in scale-framing for an age experiencing profound environmental crises, biotic and nonbiotic. Our distance from the materiality of the natural world is deepening as we go further into virtual realities and away from actual ones—the waters that run down mountainsides; the animals that sweat and bleed and scream in agony so that some people can eat them; the dangers and the pleasures of the natural environment, of life outside of cities, and of nature; and the smells, tastes, winds, rains, chills, bugs, birds, hail, and so on that are ironically simulated on our computer screens and smartphones. Richard Louv has discussed our increasing distance from the materiality of the natural world as a root cause of what he terms a “nature deficit disorder.” He explains that “Nature-deficit disorder is not meant to be a medical diagnosis but rather to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from the natural world” (see Royer). While it may not serve psychologists and psychiatrists for medical diagnoses, it does reasonably explain a growing trend that is encouraging ecophobia while diminishing our capacity to understand and appreciate the scope and scale of nature. As the scale of our perception shrinks, the potential for the expansion of the scale of our ethical circle is compromised. Not only is the natural world implicitly excluded from this ethical scale; humanity itself is at risk of exclusion—and we’ve all read or watched dystopian sci-fi about what happens to humanity when computers take over.

From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology  83 As the scale of climate change resolves in our vision, obviously a narrowly provincial focus will not be sufficient; yet neither will a global vision in and of itself do much good. This is to say that it is not simply the scale that will guarantee or prevent action: what the scale calibrates is critical. In a fascinating discussion about the effects of oversized puppets (a storey or so tall, and as big as a dump truck) on the perception and understanding of physical space, Petra Hroch suggests that “the effects of scale are qualitative and affective rather than merely quantitative” (13). This has important implications. One of these implications, and it may seem obvious to say it, is that scale not only offers a formulaic method for seeing differential quantities or sizes; it also, to some degree, determines the very possibilities for seeing these differential quantities or sizes. In other words, scale can both enable and disable sight, can both show and hide, reveal and conceal. For those concerned with doing something about climate change (whether politicians, environmental activists, scholars, whomever), a shallow understanding of the climate change crisis will not suffice. Contemplating the surface issues of climate change without considering its deeply embedded causes will not do. A hollow scale of understanding simply is not strong enough to solve the problem. Hollow ecology is not the answer. For that matter, neither is the term “Anthropocene.” Despite the hoopla surrounding the term Anthropocene, the concept itself is flawed to the core. Andreas Malm and Alf Hornborg “find it deeply paradoxical and disturbing that the growing acknowledgement of the impact of societal forces on the biosphere should be couched in terms of a narrative so completely dominated by natural science” (63) because such a narrative forces a position that will produce a scale that is dishonest, one that works to efface, occlude, and “abandon the fundamental concerns of social science, which importantly include the theorization of culture and power” (61). Not only does it efface causes, it also trivializes the matter by presenting the growing environmental crises as apocalyptic entertainment. In a New York Times op-ed entitled “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene,” Roy Scranton offers what seems a not very productive nihilist set of suggestions that “civilisation is already dead,” that “there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves,” and that “if we want to learn to live in the Anthropocene, we must first learn how to die.” ­Scranton works on the assumption that the Anthropocene is something new, that humanity has only recently begun to change the planet, the climate, the biosphere, and so on, and that these monumental changes are fatal blows. The case is mounting against such a position. Elizabeth Kolbert has noted that “one argument against the idea that a new human-dominated epoch has recently begun is that humans have been changing the planet for a long time already, indeed practically since

84  From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology the start of the Holocene” (“The Anthropocene Debate”). She is not alone. William F. Ruddiman, for instance, argues “that the Anthropocene actually began thousands of years ago as a result of the discovery of agriculture and subsequent technological innovations in the practice of farming” (261). Ruddiman supports his claim by offering extensive data verifying beyond any doubt that the volume of two of the most powerful gases influencing climate change—CH4 (methane) and CO2 (carbon dioxide)—has, for thousands of years, been deeply regulated by human activities such as agriculture and the wide-spread removal of forests. Bruce Smith and Melinda Zeder similarly place “the onset of the Anthropocene almost ten thousand years earlier, at the Pleistocene–­ Holocene boundary” (8), claiming that “the beginning of the Anthropocene can be usefully defined in terms of when evidence of significant human capacity for ecosystem engineering or niche construction behaviors first appear in the archeological record on a global scale” (8–9, emphasis in original). The scale of human influence is increasing on an exponential trajectory, but the dynamic itself is not new. I would like to suggest here that one reason why most scholars (and most media) have viewed the term “Anthropocene” in reference to post-Industrial Revolution anthropogenic effects on the world might have to do with the sheer scale of changes currently underway. Climate change has caused unusually high rates of extreme storm, drought, and flood events that have threatened communities and nonhuman species globally (Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan, the Syrian drought, the unprecedented hurricanes of 2017, and so on). The future of the human species is now at risk. In reiterating an anthropocentric ethos, the term Anthropocene reproduces the very structure of thinking that has been at the center of this supposedly new geologic period. Perhaps the naming of the term Anthropocene was meant to indict humanity’s ecophobia as the sole cause of this dangerous condition, but in the very moment of its articulation, such naming reiterates a troubling kind of anthropocentric positioning.9 Even so, to do otherwise would be to avoid acknowledging the centrality of the human as the primary agent of contemporary climate change, to evade responsibility, to join ranks with the Donald Trumps, the Scott Pruitts, the Tom Coburns, the Exxon-Mobils, the Koch Family Foundations, and all of the other climate change skeptics and deniers, and to put our heads in the sand.10 Lesley Head puts it well: “if we are such a powerful agent in transforming the earth, then we are in a way at the center, or at least the top of the stratigraphic column” (315). Neimanis et al. go on to argue that “the rising discourse of the Anthropocene [. . .] discourages a critical view of precisely how, where, and by whom human effects on climate, ecosystems and biodiversity are specifically caused” (79) and of “the need to adopt a cautious attitude toward the idea of Anthropocene, in which Man is again placed in the center of the world as a prime mover, in favor of an openness toward alterity and

From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology  85 unknowability” (84). So, how do we move forward in “openness toward alterity and unknowability”?11 We live in frightening times. Finding a way forward in unknowability is scary, hence ecophobia. The prospect of repressive regimes and rightwing fanaticism seems ever-present, and humanity faces the daunting challenges of changing everything about the scales it uses to understand and live in the world and, at the same time, of balancing individual liberty with environmental responsibility. Naomi Klein has compellingly argued about the capitalist model itself and how it is responsible for many of our global problems. Facing this means “changing everything about how we think about the economy so that our pollution doesn’t change everything about our physical world” (Klein 95). Klein argues “that responses to climate change that continue to put the entire burden on individual consumers are doomed to fail” (117). Ominously, Klein then goes on to cite a comment from Gus Speth, former Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies: “A reliably green company is one that is required to be green by law” (120). The implications of this are controversial. Since our scale of ethics is inconsonant with our values regarding sustainability, and since a vegetarian diet is much better for the environment12 than a meat-based diet, should we therefore expect the kind of laws Gus Speth foresees for industry applying also to individuals? Laws have been made for the public good against smoking in public places in many parts of the world: will laws against eating certain foods be next? And then what? Should there be laws limiting flying? Driving? Running?13 The problem of how ecophobia contributes to scale, it seems to me, is the crucial question we face today. In a summary to their wide-­ranging collection of essays entitled Ecologies of Affect, Tonya Davidson, ­Ondine Park, and Rob Shields note the importance of scale at the core of many of their chapters and conclude that “Scale is spatial, social, and political, encompassing scales of interactions, scales of meaning, and scales of engagement. One might ask: at what scale should life be lived?” (322). Naomi Klein’s engagement with questions about capitalism relate importantly with the question about the scale at which life should be lived. Klein argues extensively and convincingly about the incommensurability of capitalism and environmentalism in This Changes Everything, theorizing that the links between environmental destruction and capitalism cannot be ignored. Apparently, however, questions about our use of animals can be ignored: they are in Klein’s book. Other writers have made similar observations about the scale of capitalism and its relation to the environment, similarly omitting discussion about our exploitation of animals. Indeed, as I have elsewhere argued, “capitalism and environmental ethics seem in many ways incommensurable” (“Narrativizing Science” 149). Understanding this incommensurability is important. Jared Diamond, in a complex book that analyzes the

86  From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology history of civilizational collapses, has stressed the importance of dealing with big business: “if environmentalists aren’t willing to engage with big businesses, which are among the most powerful forces in the modern world, it won’t be possible to solve the world’s environmental problems” (17). Jason W. Moore has even suggested that the term “Capitalocene” might be more apt than “Anthropocene.”14 Neimanis et al. rightly note that “many scholars regard [neoliberalism and freewheeling capitalism] as the origin of current environmental degradation” (75–76). Certainly, this is all true, but capitalism is surely not the cause of our ongoing environmental problems; rather, it is the latest in a long history of models that rely on ecophobia, that exploit sexism, speciesism, and racism; that bank on inequitable structures; and that depend on obfuscation and lies about real costs and about who foots these bills. It is an efficient model, well-refined and frightening, true, and capitalism is indeed a contributor to “the Anthropocene,” but to envision it as the only cause is to accept a scale of origins that is simply inaccurate.15 It is reasonable, therefore, for Klein to suggest that not much will change without a fundamental change in our global economic system, but the scale of the problem is much more complex than the model “capitalism vs the climate” (the subtitle of the book) that Klein offers. Capitalism is a fairly recent thing; human disrespect for animals and the natural environment has much deeper origins. Ecophobia (like other spectrum conditions such as sexism, racism, and speciesism) far predates the emergence of capitalism. Moving forward, then, means understanding history and our place in the scheme of things. It means understanding species, our own and others. It means understanding that we are not the only species indifferent to the natural environment, that we are not the only species that pollutes, that we are not the only species that kills members of other species for our own benefit or self-interest, and, surprisingly, that we are not the only species that radically refashions the biosphere. And to think that no other species has radically refashioned the biosphere is to be misled, notwithstanding comments in a February 2011 New York Times editorial on “The Anthropocene,” which states that “We’re the only species to have defined a geological period by our activity—something usually performed by major glaciations, mass extinction and the colossal impact of objects from outer space.” We know that what has come to be known as the Great Oxygenation Event (see Sosa Torres, Saucedo-Vázquez, and Kroneck) resulted in a radical refashioning of the biosphere and subsequently mass extinctions. As Phil Plait explains, [m]ost of the bacteria thriving on Earth were anaerobic, literally metabolizing their food without oxygen. [. . .] To the other bacteria living in the ocean—anaerobic bacteria, remember—oxygen was toxic. [. . .] A die-off began, a mass extinction killing countless species of bacteria. (see “Poisoned Planet”)

From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology  87 It is no exaggeration for Plait to say that “this event was monumental, an apocalypse that was literally global in scale, and one of the most deadly disasters in Earth’s history.” But what needs to be emphasized is that we are irreversibly altering the biosphere on a scale that threatens our own existence, that we are the only species currently doing these things with knowledge of their effects, and that we have the ability to change our behaviors as a result of such knowledge. Moving forward means understanding history and our place in the scheme of things and our connectedness to the rest of the material world, biotic and nonbiotic. Paul Shepard explains that [h]uman intelligence is bound to the presence of animals. They are the means by which cognition takes its first shape and they are the instruments for imagining abstract ideas and qualities, therefore giving us consciousness [. . .] They are the means to self-identity and self-consciousness as our most human possession, for they enable us to objectify human qualities and traits. By presenting us with ­relatedotherness—that diversity of non-self with which we have various things in common—they further, throughout our lives, a refining and maturing knowledge of personal and human being. (Thinking Animals 249) So, there needs to be a very fundamental shift in how we see nature, “a transvaluation so profound as to be nearly unimaginable at present,” to borrow Una Chaudhuri’s words (“There Must Be” 25). One of the requirements for moving toward the transvaluation of which Chaudhuri speaks is the need for much more cooperation among people in the social and natural sciences toward developing different scales of measurement to address our ecological problems. In an important article about matters associated with the scale of ecological phenomena, Clark C. Gibson, Elinor Ostrom, and T.K. Ahn argue that “one of the most important conceptual challenges” to “the marriage between the physical sciences and the social sciences” is “the concept of scale” (236). Gibson et al. carefully survey reasons why the “understanding of the importance of scale tends to be underdeveloped” among social scientists, in contrast with the physical scientists, for whom “some of the fundamental issues related to scale in the physical sciences were resolved with the development of a unified theory of mechanics, explaining the acceleration of small bodies in free fall as well as the orbit of large planetary bodies” (ibid). Recognizing the significance of scale is of critical importance in addressing ecophobia, since our collective human fears, avarice, and apathy towards Earth’s ecology have irrevocably damaged the planet. Yet “the marriage between the physical sciences and the social sciences” seems not a marriage of equal partners. Andreas Malm and Alf Hornborg have voiced serious concerns about the dangers of the

88  From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology marriage of the physical and social sciences—particularly of the domination of the social by the physical sciences, with the result that the re-naturalisation of climate change is as much (if not more) a product of behaviour in the social sciences and humanities, namely the late awakening to a warming world. The baton has failed to pass between ‘the two cultures’ [i.e., the natural and the social sciences], and now that the latter is slowly catching up, ‘the Anthropocene’ is already an entrenched concept and mode of thinking. Regrettably, many a social scientist and humanist has swallowed it lock, stock and barrel, oblivious to its anti-social tendencies, attracted by the idea of the anthropos as centre and master of the universe (be it productive or destructive), which speaks to certain humanist sensibilities. (66) There is no question that there is a long way to go before “consilience” between the natural and social sciences is a reality. Simply saying that there is a necessity to bring the arts and sciences together isn’t enough, and although E.O. Wilson offers the term “consilience” to describe “literally a ‘jumping together’ of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork for explanation” (Consilience 8), his notions of literature are reductive and simplistic. He promotes and believes that “science explains feeling, while art transmits it” (127); that postmodernists are “a rebel crew milling beneath the black flag of anarchy” and “believe we can know nothing” (44); and that “outside our heads there is freestanding reality. Only madmen and a scattering of constructivist philosophers doubt its existence” (66). One wonders how such sentiments can possibly encourage greater dialogue between the arts and sciences, since it is unprofitable to expect a plausible methodology of consilience from a theorist who misapprehends what literary critics and writers actually do. As I have stated elsewhere, “literary studies must not become a minion of the sciences, a slave to methodologies both foreign and ineffective for a discipline that requires its own tools and interpretive strategies, a servile bondservant to analytical models designed for other purposes and effects. It is, after all, precisely this servile relationship to the sciences that Wilson imagines” (“Tracking Ecophobia” 32–33). Even so, the core idea of a consilience between the arts and the sciences is good because it promises to lead us toward better ways of imagining scale, of addressing questions Adam Trexler raises in his compelling book about Anthropocene fictions: What tropes are necessary to comprehend climate change or to articulate the possible futures faced by humanity? How can a global process, spanning millennia, be made comprehensible to human

From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology  89 imagination, with its limited sense of place and time? What longer, historical forms aid this imagination, and what are the implications and limits of their use? (5) To address these questions means having a sufficiently broad scale—one that includes matters of gender, species, class, sexuality, and race (matters long central to feminist scholarship)—as they relate to green concerns. Ignoring the work of feminists and ecofeminists and their work on animals, for instance, simply will not lead anywhere. One has to challenge the work of Timothy Clark, to take but one recent example, who seems to have a solidly right-wing axe to grind when he mocks “the latest developments of a left-­liberal humanist programme of ever-expanding social inclusiveness” and when he attempts to downplay the importance of gender in ecocriticism (110). Clark indeed makes no analysis of gender and ignores the volumes of feminist analyses that might serve his musings on “various modes of scale framing” (78). Clark complains that “scale effects [. . .] defy sensuous representation or any plot confined, say, to human-to-­human dramas and intentions, demanding new, innovative modes of writing that have yet convincingly to emerge” (80), but the absence of references to the work of Carol J. Adams, Greta Gaard, Marti Kheel, Lori Gruen, and Karen Warren (among others) on animals suggests major failings in the depth of Clark’s research and in the validity of his musings. Studying the various modes of scale-framing must be feminist and must work from feminist principles of ethical inclusion, principles that stress the importance of valuing animals. Indeed, “if one thing has become clear from a century of ecological thought and effort, it is that the earth cannot now be saved by half-measures [. . .] whether we like it or not, the ecological crisis is a crisis of values” (Chaudhuri “There Must Be,” 25). Half-measures will produce nothing more than hollow analyses. There is great urgency to do something about the exponentially increasing problems that have come to be called “the Anthropocene,” a term that, in the moment of seeking to offer scales of understanding, poses substantial scale problems of its own. The anthropo-narcissism of the Anthropocene feeds into a long history of speciesism and ecophobia, both of which have contributed immeasurably to the valley of ecocide in which we seem stuck. Kate Rigby is correct when she argues that “the challenge for writing in the anthropocene, in the shadow of ecocide, then, is to find new ways of raising our voices from the level of ‘idle chatter’ to that of biting and stinging ecoprophetic witness” (“Writing in the Anthropocene” 184). We know—or should know—by now that the source of our problems lies “in violence needlessly perpetrated by our civilization on the ecology of the planet; only by alleviating the latter will we be able to heal the former” (Abram 22). The greatest scale of violence by far that we do on this planet is to animals, and there is no voice too biting or stinging to express this and to force us to

90  From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology expand our ethical circle, rethink our scale of values, and buy more time. If we remain aligned with hollow ecology, then we’re doomed, and the world will just have to go on without us.

Notes 1 The official body that decides on this kind of matter is the International Commission on Stratigraphy. According to the Subcommission on ­Quaternary Stratigraphy­a nthro­ pocene/), “A proposal to formalise the ‘Anthropocene’ is being developed by the ‘Anthropocene’ Working Group for consideration by the International Commission on Stratigraphy.” The target date of 2016 has already passed, and the proposal is still in motion. As of April 2018, the International Union of Geological Sciences has not formally adopted the term. 2 Although a neologism, the term “the Anthropocene” describes conditions that have been recognized since the nineteenth century. In 1873, Italian geologist Antonio Stoppani coined the term “Anthropozoic” to describe a new geologic era that succeeds the Cenozoic Era (which began 66 million years ago with the last major extinction event). For Stoppani, our current era begins with geologic formations that show evidence of humans. See Stoppani. 3 Dawne McCance’s Critical Animal Studies offers a comprehensive survey of contributions to this area and suggests seven issues important for the future work in the field. Out of any of these topics (ethics, anthropomorphism, dualism, rights, machine, passivity, and sacrifice) “might come critical turning points” (138). See McCance 137–49. 4 This term is used by Andreas Malm and Alf Hornborg, who argue that “­species-thinking on climate change is conducive to mystification and political paralysis. It cannot serve as a basis for challenging the vested interests of ­business-as-usual [. . .] not only analytically defective, but also inimical to action” (67). See also Cary Wolfe, who, in his exhaustive and informative What is Posthumanism?, explains that “the philosophical and theoretical frameworks used by humanism […] reproduce the very kind of normative subjectivity—a specific concept of the human—that grounds discrimination against non­human animals” (xvii). This concept of the human entails a radical limitation on “who and what can count as a subject of ethical address” (49). 5 Building on the work of people such as quantum physicist Karen Barad, philosopher Jane Bennett, and cultural ecologist David Abram, Serpil ­Oppermann has argued “that everything in the . . . world has agency, which should not be exclusively associated with human intentionality, but seen as part of material generative dynamism that signals the necessity to change our anthropocentric values.” Oppermann goes on to note that agency “is across humans and nonhumans that include not only biological organisms, but also non-biological players, such as metals, electricity, and machines” (“Material Ecocriticism” 64). Agency thus is an effect emanating from any biotic or nonbiotic source of its environment. 6 Timothy Morton has noted, in a similar vein, that “Animals bring up the ways in which humans develop intolerances to strangeness and to the stranger” (Ecology 99). 7 When, for instance, centuries of patriarchies have refused to listen to women’s claims for rights, there is clearly a need and a virtue in being repetitious. 8 Katcher and Wilkins go on to ask the following: “If animals are so woven into the history, and perhaps neural structure, of our social dialogue, why has the living environment suffered so from unrestrained destructive human behavior? If we have a predisposition to treat at least some animals as kin, why have we

From Ecophobia to Hollow Ecology  91 exterminated so many of them and why are we so indifferent to their loss? Why is biophilia, if it exists, so weak a determinant of human behavior?” (189). 9 As Timothy Morton explains, “what has happened so far during the epoch of the Anthropocene has been the gradual realization by humans that they are not running the show, at the very moment of their most powerful technical mastery on a planetary scale. Humans are not the conductors of meaning, not the pianists of the real” (Hyperobjects 164). 10 This paradox has not gone unnoticed among theorists of the Anthropocene. In a fascinating Introduction to a collection entitled The Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis: Rethinking Modernity in a New Epoch, Clive Hamilton, Christophe Bonneuil and François Gemenne similarly note that “One of the striking paradoxes of the Anthropocene is that, as we appear to have taken control over nature and have become the principal force of its transformation, we also appear ill equipped, and perhaps unable, to govern a world under the influence of these changes” (10). See also ­Washington and Cook for an in-depth discussion and analysis of climate change denial. 11 In withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, the Trump Administration facilitates other nations (notably China and India) in their ability to take economic and industrial initiatives on nonrenewables without fear of competition from the United States. 12 According to Bijal Trivedi in an article published in New Scientist (2008), “Switching from the average American diet to a vegetarian one could cut emissions by 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per person.” PETA, meanwhile, citing a Worldwatch Institute report, claims that “A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture” (see “Fight Climate Change by Going Vegan,” Works Cited). Countless reports argue that eating less meat is essential to curbing climate change—see, for instance, Suzuki, Carrington, and Harrabin). 13 We have already begun to imagine the kind of dystopia to which this kind of logic leads. It finds ugly expression, for instance, in the 2004 blockbuster movie I, Robot, in which V.I.K.I. (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence), a gendered mother-figure robot, explains, “You charge us with your safe keeping, yet, despite our best efforts, your countries wage wars, you toxify your earth, and pursue ever more imaginative means to self-destruction. You cannot be trusted with your own survival [. . .] To protect humanity, some humans must be sacrificed. To insure your future, some freedoms must be surrendered.” Hamilton et al. contend that “freedom must be rethought in the new condition of post-Holocene instability” (8). The question for us in the real world outside of blockbuster films and academic theories is about what freedoms must be surrendered without producing a dystopian nightmare.   Sophie Christman’s forthcoming dissertation (The Sustainable Citizen in ­Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Literature and Film) contributes to these by theorizing the concept of “the sustainable citizen.” Her theory suggests that mandated legal reforms to recuperate the environment must go hand-in-hand with what she defines as a “sustainable citizen[, who] embodies an ideal political and moral condition as a legally recognized national of a polity [and] who demonstrates supererogatory acts to sustain his or her environment” (3). 14 See Moore, 2015, 2016. 15 Dipesh Chakrabarty, one of the first scholars to begin articulating theories about the profound challenges posed by the concept of the Anthropocene, concurs with the position that although capitalism “is a proximate . . . cause of climate change,” the “scales of space and time” over which anthropogenic environmental changes register “are much larger than those of capitalism” (54).

5 Animals, Ecophobia, and Food

Food is a rich site through which to think about a number of things: environment, colonialism, culture, affect, subjectivity, among others. (Lisa Szabo-Jones 207)

Ecophobia emanates from anxieties about control, and nowhere is worldwide control of the natural environment more evident than in what Tony Weis calls the “meatification” of global diets (4). With astonishing evidence and impeccable logic, Weis argues that detailing the costs of the global livestock industry “might not only provide a means to understand the burden of industrial animal production but also as a lens through which to see the violence of capitalism as world-ecology, a totalizing way of organizing nature” (154). The very concept of the fully industrialized nation has at its core an ethics of meat. Weis explains that “the meatification of diets has long been a marker of class ascension and a dietary aspiration of development, from British lords to US suburbia to China’s burgeoning elites and middle class” (150). The most recent Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) statistics available show that the average American ate 200.6 pounds (91 kilograms) of meat (beef, veal, poultry, pork, and sheep) in 2013, compared with the per capita consumption of 107.6 pounds (48.8 kilograms) in China (see McCarthy). In 1996, the United States consumed 195.7 pounds (89.2 ­kilograms) per capita, while China consumed 8.4 pounds or 3.8 ­kilograms (see “Meat Consumption Per Capita”). The American increase is a mere 2.4%, while the Chinese increase is an astounding 1,180.95% jump. Meat consumption in industrialized countries does not promise a good future for the environment. Meat represents the ecophobic condition at its most global extreme because of the absolute nonchalance toward nature’s non-human bodies that are desecrated in the industrial-meat industry. As the editors of The Guardian somewhat tiredly explain, links between meat consumption and climate change have been widely known for many years, partly due to deforestation in the ­A mazon rainforests to make room for livestock. Clearing these

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  93 forests is estimated to produce a staggering 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transport sector”. (see “Meat Consumption Per Capita”) To confront this ecophobia is to challenge a vast economic machine, and such challenges, as Weis has mentioned with considerable understatement, “are sometimes viewed with varying degrees of animosity” (152). In a breathtaking analysis of veganism in the age of terror, Laura Wright’s The Vegan Studies Project offers important insights about mainstream Western imaginings of veganism. Wright’s project is to reveal veganism as both a practice and an identity, and the book is structured to show the heterogeny of veganism, the fact that it stems from many roots (including diet, health, and religion), and the fact that the unifying thread among vegans is the nonuse of animals for food.1 Wright shows that veganism poses distinct political threats to a consumer way of life, to a system of production, to an economic ideology: while veganism does not constitute a unified social movement, as an ideology it is marked by conscious individual actions that nonetheless stand in stark opposition to the consumer mandate of U.S. capitalism, and for this reason the actions of individual vegans pose a substantial—if symbolic—threat to such a paradigm. (22) With such a threat comes unwelcome judgments and hostility. As a global minority, vegans have been subject to unwelcome curiosity and questions, 2 if not to what Wright describes as “the ire that veganism inspires” (20). If an ethics of meat is at the core of the fully industrialized nation, veganism is a threat to that core. In a post-9/11 America, veganism becomes “elided with ‘them,’ a dangerous, threatening, and un-American dietary choice that ha[s] more to do with anti-American sentiment than with the mere eschewing of animal products” (24). Although there is nothing inherently dangerous about vegans, the elision of which Wright speaks draws veganism into a sphere of unpredictability on a par with both terrorism and environmental crises (the charismatic mega-issues of contemporary media). In a subsection entitled “Veganism’s Post 9/11 Backlash” in the first chapter of her book, Wright suggests that in post-9/11 America, “nation, religion, and diet all functioned as the criteria by which we posited our difference—our very humanity—from the animality of our attackers” (37). The elision between vegans and “threats to the nation” is perhaps easier simply because of the isomorphic similarities in what veganism, terror, and climate change3 do: on the most basic level, they each challenge established patterns of behavior. The crucial difference is that veganism isn’t, at its core, destructive (at least not in the way that city-leveling hurricanes and commercial aircraft flying into buildings are), but it does challenge sets of ethics that rely on and support abuse and binary thinking. For the

94  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food political vegan, these need to be dismantled because they are at the core of inequitable structures. The ethics of the entire food system is implicated. Based in inequitable systems that rely on the subjection of animals, land, and people, the world food economy is horrendously bad on many levels. Yet even my saying this glosses over the degree and nature of those subjections, the ecophobia, the speciesism, and the racism, that are the ethical sine qua non of the world food economy. This chapter explores the ways in which contemporary Western food production mechanisms rely on very socially and environmentally dangerous ethics. In an era when reality TV stars become the most powerful people in the world and truth becomes a negotiable inconvenience or an “alternative fact,” it is increasingly difficult to know when fact begins and fiction ends, when lies win out over truth, and when liabilities outweigh benefits, distinctions necessary in any discussion about changing the world food economy. It is one thing to recognize ecophobia and work to enact change, but in order for those changes to happen, it is necessary to acknowledge that behavior change is challenging when there are a great many undeniable advantages, benefits, and conveniences that the current animal exploitation industry offers. In a compelling overview and critique of the current world food economy, Jennifer Clapp acknowledges some of these: The system has, for example, brought ease of access of fresh fruits and vegetables to all parts of the world at all times of the year—in effect defying seasonality—at least for those who can afford to buy them. Global food supply chains have also redistributed surpluses of crops from one part of the world to other parts in food deficit, and food safety standards have largely improved. (159) Let’s take these three things one by one. First, eating out-of-season foods, as Clapp notes, has social and environmental costs: “Fresh fruits and vegetables may be available yearround within the modern world food economy, but at what social and ecological cost?” (ibid). While this is a good point indeed, it does not get to the core of the problem, the ethics of defiance to nature, the ecophobia. Defying seasonality means rejecting nature and calibrating it by asserting human order. This is the root of the problem. Accepting the seasons means working with what the seasons provide. For me, spending half of my year in Seoul means that local grapes are available in the late summer and early fall but not in the winter or spring. Cultural practices grow around the seasons. What is on the table at Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving)4 is not the same as what is on the table at Seollal (Korean Lunar New Year). Defying seasonality is anthropocentric arrogance that has produced extraordinary ecological costs;5 it is also a threat to social and cultural practices. Laced with lies, the global food industry destroys diversity and reneges on its promises to produce more food: according to

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  95 food sovereignty activist Vandana Shiva, “industrial agriculture has not produced more food. It has destroyed diverse sources of food, and it has stolen food from other species to bring larger quantities of specific commodities to the market, using huge quantities of fossil fuels and water and toxic chemicals in the process” (Shiva 12). The global food economy is surely more of a threat to national security than veganism. Second, believing that the global food economy redistributes surpluses to starving nations (Clapp’s second point) sounds great, but the reality is that the very system that requires such global distributions—when such distributions, in fact, do happen—is the root of deficits in other parts of the world. When local food systems are wiped out by multinational food conglomerates, such as Monsanto, only to be eased by the import of foreign foods, we have what Shiva appropriately terms a “hijacking” of the local food system. When distribution doesn’t happen for overproduced foods, the result is enormous waste. Either way, overproduction doesn’t add up to a real benefit: it is more cost than benefit, and 795 million people are hungry (see “Hunger Statistics”). Finally, the belief that food standards have risen (Clapp’s third point) ignores a lot of factors. Control and manipulation of plants and animals through genetic and antibiotic interference asserts human agency in a frenzied ecophobic response to the prospect of a loss of control, but this interference simply does not in the long run increase food safety. There is, for instance, no reliable data confirming the safety of genetically modified (GM) foods. Hilbeck et al. explain that “no blanket statement about the safety of GMOs is possible,” and any such statement “is misleading and misrepresents or outright ignores the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of scientific opinions among scientists on this issue” (1–2). At the same time, there are enormous increases in the numbers of neurological, developmental, and genetic disorders in people that have been defying causal diagnoses. Autism rates are at alltime highs, and yet we continue to gamble with food safety issues.6 BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “mad cow disease”) and avian flu are terrifying, but the antibiotics pumped into the animals people eat have received far less mainstream attention—baffling because these poisons are ingested with the meats. One is justified in wondering what food safety exactly means. The dead flesh may be safe to eat in the sense that it doesn’t have killer bacteria or viruses lurking in it, but what about all of the poisons that have killed those threats? How safe are they? Although these issues have started to receive attention through the organic food movement, we still have a long way to go to understanding the pivotal connections between an ethics of control and patriarchal capitalism. The prospect of a loss of control—the perceived threat to human agency by nonhuman nature—is at its core ecophobic. To recognize this is to be able to make changes in our attitude; to fail to recognize it is to be stuck whining about the problems without being able to offer anything but cosmetic solutions, a Band-Aid for cancer.

96  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food Food in the 21st century would be unrecognizable to our great grandparents, and the ecophobic bases of industrial agriculture and meat rarely elicit mainstream media attention or concern. It is a fact that the global expansion of McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and other meatbased fast food companies is bad for the environment and for the people of the world in general;7 that meat is horrendously wasteful; that, as I explained in an article some years ago, it is “difficult to take seriously…the ecocritic who theorizes brilliantly on a stomach full of roast beef on rye” (“Theorizing” 217);8 that “most simply put, someone who regularly eats factory-farmed animal products cannot call himself an environmentalist without divorcing that word from its meaning” (Foer 59);9 and that in the near future, ecofeminism and feminist ecocriticisms will need to articulate an interspecies focus within ecocriticism, bringing forward the vegetarian and vegan feminist threads that have been a developing part of feminist and ecological feminist theories since the nineteenth century. (Gaard “New Directions” 651) The practices of corporate capitalism and the pursuit of profit in the American food industry are ecophobic and produce neither viable nor sustainable food sources. Along with coverage of terror and climate change, food issues have been a constant in the 21st century, appearing in mainstream media, documentaries, and writing (fiction and nonfiction). Food security has been the center of blockbuster films such as Fast Food Nation (2006), Food, Inc. (2008), and Supersize Me (2004). Less marketed but equally important films include Forks Over Knives (2011), King Corn (2007), Our Daily Bread (2005), The Future of Food (2004), A Place at the Table (2012), Food Matters (2008), Food Chains (2014), and Fresh (2009). It is encouraging to see a deep and growing interest in theorizing about food in literature and to see mainstream and best-selling authors tackling these issues. Literature about apocalypses, disasters, dystopias, environmental problems, climate change, and the end of humanity is appearing like never before, and food security is often central to these narratives, from the horrifying cannibalism of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to production and supply issues in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl. It is present in questions about diethylstilbestrol (DES) in Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats. It is in the many novels that raise the issue of GM food, including Ozeki’s All Over Creation; Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam; Jon McGoran’s Drift; and Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. It is also the topic of many best-selling nonfiction authors. Michael Pollan is one of the more prolific of these best-selling authors. He has dedicated a lot of time and energy to exposing controversial issues about food, issues that perhaps seem uncontroversial at first bite.

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  97 His discussions about food seem to have no limits, and he offers a new book every few years, but it is perhaps his In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma that have the greatest range and eloquence. In the former, he suggests that eating simple food, mostly plants, in moderation is the best diet to follow, and he is deeply critical of the nutrition industry.10 He falls short of endorsing vegetarianism or veganism and certainly does not really express much interest in exploring the ethics of food. This may seem an unfair comment since in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, he clearly spends a lot of time talking about eating ethically produced meat and locally grown foods. But Pollan’s goal here is not to question the ethics of unnecessary killing; his goal is “to look at the getting and eating of food at its most fundamental, which is to say, as a transaction between species in nature, eaters and eaten” (Omnivore’s 6). He concludes with a critique of the American way of eating, not only of fast food but of the entire organic food industry, which, he claims, is tremendously wasteful in terms of the fossil fuels it consumes. While this is certainly interesting fare, it does not seem to promise much in the way of change, and one of the reasons for this is that Pollan sidesteps the topic of ecophobia that organizes thinking about food. In a recent essay, he begins a promising discussion that at first blink seems to question the ethical viability of the meat industry. He laments that “Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us pause to consider the miserable life of the pig—an animal easily as intelligent as a dog—that becomes the Christmas ham. We tolerate this disconnect because the life of the pig has moved out of view” (“Food with a Face” 162). But the question here for Pollan is not about the ethics of eating the pig so much as it is about knowing that it is a pig you are eating. If there is any doubt that Pollan promotes meat, he makes it perfectly clear for us: “Before you swear off meat entirely, let me describe a very different sort of animal farm” (163). He goes on to describe Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm.11 He remarks dismissively that “to many animal rightists, even Polyface Farm is a death camp,” and then goes on (without even a hint of self-parody) to explain that “Salatin slaughters his chickens and rabbits right on the farm . . . he showed me . . . a tasty lunch . . . Salatin’s open-air abattoir is a morally powerful idea” (163).12 Notwithstanding his irresponsible disconnect about species relations, Pollan spends a lot of time, space, and energy exalting the virtues of Salatin’s farm in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, referring startlingly at one point to the “social, environmental, nutritional, and political redemption” (Omnivore’s 241) that one may allegedly find in buying Polyface foods. The disconnect here is nothing short of shocking: the numbers (easily gotten today)13 about meat production and its inefficiencies, and what these mean for the natural environment seem very much to go against Pollan’s quasi-religious exaltation (and one wonders why he does not mention the numbers and statistics about meat-related illness, of which we have heard much in the media in recent years). It is more the

98  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food histories of the foods we eat that are important for him than the ethics of their production. This being the case, Pollan is out of his depth in talking about environmental redemption. If he is to claim that “the best ethical and environmental choices also happen to be the best choices for our health” (In Defense 2), then he fails to go that next small step and to speak out strongly against the ecophobia that meat implies. When Pollan explains that “depending on the different point of view you take—that of the chicken, the cow, or even the grass—the relationship between subject and object, cause and effect, flips” (Omnivore’s 213), it is difficult to hear a real concern for the standpoint of the chickens or cows: their nonhuman bodies farmed for exploitation—for their meat, egg, or milk products. This exploitation of nonhuman animal bodies derives from speciesism. The value of the work that both Pollan and Salatin have done is important, but in the end, Pollan, like Salatin, is speciesist. Robert Kenner’s film Food, Inc. does a very similar thing to what ­Pollan does—and with the same material, no less—using Salatin and his farm as an example of how things can be made right in the food production business. Guiding the thinking of both Pollan and Kenner (and, of course, Salatin, well-intentioned though he may be) is a failure to connect the dots, a failure to see that it is not just poisons that are bad for the environment but that meat production itself is bad and wasteful. As Greta Gaard has poignantly explained in an unpublished review of the film, “the concluding message of Food, Inc.—eat local, organic, ­independent—is incomplete, and thus, deeply dishonest. Ultimately, Food, Inc. is disturbing because it fails to explore the inconvenient truth about meat,” and the film sends “a calming message to popular viewers: don’t worry, folks, this film won’t ask you to give up eating animals.” A book such as Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, on the other hand, is a very different experience. Foer offers the kind of ethical examination that will actually take us somewhere. It is searingly honest. Foer advocates for “conscience in favor of craving” (263)14 and for recognizing and saying that many of the arguments for eating meat are simply “very silly” (102), arguments that are often just red herrings that divert attention from the ecophobic ethics of meat consumption. It is easier to avoid the difficulty of addressing our ecophobia and ethical involvement with climate change when we can claim a need for protein or state that we can only get vitamin B12 , iron, and calcium from meat, or that animal populations would explode if humans didn’t eat meat, and so on. There is enormous evidence from research and from the testimonies of vegetarians and vegans confuting these silly arguments.15 People who have written seriously about the need to, the politics of, and even the potential pleasures of eating within seasonal and geographical limitations have often received poor reviews. In response to Gary Paul Nabhan’s Coming Home to Eat: the Pleasures and Politics of Local

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  99 Foods, for instance, The Kirkus Review says the following: the book is a “preachy treatise on the politically correct production and consumption of food,” “a chore to read,” and is “of interest only to food activists and organic-gardening buffs—who are probably already converts to the cause” ( coming-home-to-eat/). A Publisher’s Weekly review calls the book “doctrinaire” ( The book seeks to reveal the possibilities for eating seasonally and bioregionally in Nabhan’s home state of Arizona. Though a champion of what has come to be termed “locavore”16 ethics and mindful eating, Nabhan falls short of understanding American eating habits as having roots in an ethics of defiance—specifically to nature. Perhaps had he drawn the connection to ecophobia, “preachy” and “doctrinaire” would have been the kindest comments in the reviews of his book! Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is a similar locavore experiment, but it has received far less of the kinds of accusations about preachiness, though the concept still lurks, even in the praise. There is something a little bit odd, for instance, when Rick Bass praises the book and explains that “Kingsolver is no pious soapboxer” and that she raises issues about moral responsibility “in nonjudgmental fashion.” Okay, but why mention it then, unless the default expectation for such material is for preachiness and soapboxing? Bass confesses to fearing that his review “might make [the book] sound like the treatise of a hokey Earth mother and do-gooder” ( books/articles/2007/05/20/the_constant_gardener/). A comment such as this reveals the very backlash effect17 that enables the epidemic of ecophobia to remain unquestioned, unaddressed, and uninvolved in otherwise productive debates about food. Theories and practices about applied ethics (about ecophobia and meat) meet with very strong resistance. Anyone in ecocriticism is likely familiar with “‘The Woodshed’ article in ISLE 16.4 [and how it] targeted theory with an air of confident anti-intellectualism, confirming the warnings of several ecocritics over the past decade about ecocriticism’s belligerent attitude to theory,” as Serpil Oppermann has explained (“Ecocriticism’s Phobic Relations” 768). Harold Fromm—one of the editors of the field-initiating Ecocriticism Reader—offers another example of intense response to ethical theorizing and practice and argues vigorously in The Chronicle of Higher Education18 against vegans. In his rant, he speculates that vegans “are enlisted in an open-ended but futile metaphysic of virtue and self-blamelessness that pretends to escape from the conditions of life itself” (“Vegans”). There are many people (vegans and non-vegans) who would object to this kind of characterization of what veganism is all about—at least judging from the 95 blog responses that were posted online. Fromm argues from very mistaken notions about veganism and vegans that “behind their beliefs is the hopeless longing for innocence” (ibid).

100  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food Bloggers were quick to respond to Fromm’s article. Few indeed had much good to say about Fromm’s logic or ethics. Indeed, the very first blog response put it best: vegans, “robtempio” argues, seek “to minimize unnecessary suffering, insofar as is possible, by consuming a diet free of animal products. In a day and age where alternatives to a diet based on animal products is [sic] increasingly available and possible, what’s wrong with that?” (ibid). It is indeed disturbing to see such a well-­ respected scholar as Fromm displaying such poor reasoning, arguing that because “we must have been eating our mother during gestation” (a false and unscientific19 understanding of what goes on inside the womb), we must, therefore, be carnivorous outside of the womb. The deficiency in the logic here is alarming (as is the editorial judgment that got this piece into such a renowned journal). Blogger “Desdemona,” worth quoting at length here, describes well the tetchy, defensive omnivores who feel such an apparent compulsion to justify their own lack of concern for the suffering of others by impugning the choices of those who do. If Mr Fromm feels so fundamentally compromised that he must view a bacon cheeseburger as a means to “stop pretending to virtues possible only for the dead,” that is indeed his choice, and he has every right to make it. I would only ask that he accord the same respect to those of us who prefer to approach the matter from a more subtle—and, hopefully, compassionate—direction. (“Vegans”) When Fromm talks about what he calls “the grandstanding of vegans for carefully selected life forms” (ibid) and goes on to cite the bacteria we inadvertently kill, the viruses we intentionally kill, and the cockroaches and rats that we try to kill, he has clearly misunderstood something, is clearly writing from an uninformed position, is laboring under a clearly mistaken belief that vegans avoid eating anything that was alive. Deane Curtin writes persuasively about what he calls “Contextual Moral ­Vegetarianism,” a concept that does “not refer to an absolute moral rule” but is based on “the injunction to eliminate needless suffering wherever possible.”20 The ecophobia hypothesis posits that there is a great deal of needless suffering that our indifference toward nature produces. It is precisely to eliminate needless suffering wherever possible that moral vegans avoid eating animals and animal products. One wonders what is difficult for Fromm to understand here and why he is confused about what are animals and what are not animals. Viruses and cockroaches, as blogger “mbelvadi” neatly observed, “aren’t animals!” (ibid). On the matter of rats, for many of us who are concerned about animal rights, rats do “enter the purview” (ibid), to use Fromm’s phrase, and it is for this reason that animal rights activists and environmentalists

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  101 have long petitioned against use of lab rats and other animals used in experimentation and vivisection. At another point, Fromm claims that “We’re compromised from the start” (ibid) and that because we have eaten meat as a species as a part of our evolutionary history, we should therefore continue to eat meat. Humanity has also raped and murdered. Since when is past behavior a valid justification for present behavior? Apparently unaware that the world has changed (as have the ways that we get meat), Fromm advocates both complacency and opportunism—and this is ecophobic. Coming from a respected ecocritic, it is not pretty. Fromm argues in the second person that if you are a vegan, then you may be “alienating potential friends who may find you more trouble than you’re worth” (ibid). Perhaps this is reason enough for Fromm to abandon his ethical beliefs, but it is not enough for all of us. 21 Ethics are ethics, and when I hear people tell me “Yeah, I’m vegetarian—but, hey, I’m not fanatical about it,” I laugh. Imagine someone saying “Yeah, I’m not a pedophile, and I don’t believe in sexually assaulting children—but, hey, I’m not fanatical about it.”22 In spite of what people such as Harold Fromm may think, our individual choices do make enormous differences, and there is increasingly little space in this increasingly crowded world for ecophobic complacency and opportunism. Peter Singer and Jim Mason argue that “increasingly, people are regarding their food choices as a form of political action” (5), that every purchase at the supermarket is a vote. This question about the ethics of meat-eating is the core of Singer’s life-work. It is an idea that forms the closing mantras of Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc., despite whatever flaws and omissions this film may otherwise have. If we can assume that “the whole point of ethical judgments is to guide practice” (Singer Practical Ethics 2), then we can also argue that knowing about the material implications of eating practices means being committed to changing the eating patterns we follow that cause or contribute to environmental and social problems. Even so, there is considerable mainstream resistance to the expression of these ideas. Michiko Kakutani, for instance, reviews Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals in The New York Times with the following disdain: “his frequent use of analogies to dark moments in human history raises questions about his sense of priorities and proportion.” It is clear that Kakutani simply is not persuaded of Foer’s point that “cruel and destructive foods should be illegal” (266); otherwise, she could not, with such self-assurance, wonder how the author can expend so much energy and caring on the fate of pigs and chickens, when, say, malaria kills nearly a million people a year (most of them children), and conflict and disease

102  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food in Congo since the mid-1990s have left an estimated five million dead and hundreds of thousands of women and girls raped and have driven more than a million people from their homes. ( Kakutani’s ethical position here is clearly the very one that Foer addresses, and it doesn’t adequately argue against the three hundred plus pages of Foer’s argument about why cruel and destructive food products should be illegal. Kakutani seems to have missed the whole point, and her attempt at a reductio ad absurdum argument reveals this clearly. ­Kakutani tries to show that it is ridiculous to care about nonhuman animals when humans are suffering. Formally, this is a red herring ­logical fallacy, one that raises irrelevant, diversionary material. Kakutani could equally wonder how the author can expend so much energy and caring on the fate of pigs and chickens, when, say, cancer kills nearly a million people a year; or when 1.3 million people die in car crashes annually, leaving another estimated thirty-five million injured or disabled; or when literally hundreds of people die in plane crashes every year, despite the fact that they pay good money for their tickets. Therefore, how dare Foer talk about pigs and chickens? But each of these red herring fallacies, like Kakutani’s, misses the point as they seek to evade the ethical questions Foer asks about the current legality of crimes against animals and nature. Laws against hate crimes work. Laws against racism work. Laws against sexism work. Laws against animal abuse work. Laws against speeding work. Laws against drunk driving work. Laws against smoking work. Appeals to logic, to ethics, to emotions, to health sensibilities, or to justice do not seem to work as well as laws, and these appeals are often either seen as strident and preachy or are simply ridiculed. When people refuse to be educated, when appeals to logic, to ethics, to emotions, to health sensibilities, or to justice just don’t work, laws will. While it is a sad comment that we seem unable to choose “conscience in favor of craving,” it does seem that “cruel and destructive food products,” as Foer argues, “should be illegal” (emphasis added, op. cit.). And as I argued in Chapter 3, there are solid precedents for expanding our laws to counter ecophobic media, laws which would be consonant with our expanding ethical horizons. Encouraging racism in media is subject to laws about hate speech, so why isn’t encouraging ecophobia subject to such laws? Foer’s call to legislate against cruel and destructive food products, like any other call to legislate against ecophobia, is reasonable. These laws are coming. It is just a matter of time. It seems that the writers who do the kinds of ethical analyses that come closest to addressing the root ecophobic problems in the global food mentality are those least worried about accusations of condescension. Indeed, a book such as Marc Bekoff’s wonderful The Animal

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  103 Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint broadcasts in the very title the doctrinaire nature of the book. Though not singularly about food, its focus being the matter of cruelty to animals in general, this book is not shy about telling people what to do and why to do it. This may be offensive, and it may not be the best way to encourage change, but the frustration Bekoff expresses is perhaps not difficult to understand: “We need,” he explains, “to speak to those who don’t agree with us. … Simply by speaking out, we can have an influence and change minds” (181). Because there is not a lot of new information in this book, it is reasonable to suggest that for Bekoff, there is a need to continue speaking and to repeat what needs to be said when it has fallen on deaf ears. 23 But Bekoff goes one step further and acknowledges that “we must work to understand why people do what they do, and not fall into the trap of simply telling people what to do” (194). This is what theorizing ecophobia is all about. It helps us to understand why and how people can do the things that they do. Bekoff clearly identifies the ecophobia that underscores speciesism, explaining that “speciesism is lazy thinking” (29), that “we suffer from moral schizophrenia” (30) when it comes to animals, and that “the default reaction … is that wild animals are always dangerous and the only or preferred option is killing them” (37). When the default reaction to nature or parts of nature is fear, then what we have is ecophobia. Bekoff observes that “our current lifestyles can easily alienate children from animals and the natural world” (106). This alienation from nature is both a precondition and effect of ecophobia. As mentioned in C ­ hapter 4, ­R ichard Louv offers an extended discussion of the effects of this alienation (what he terms “nature deficit disorder”) on children. These include a wide range of behavioral and even physical disorders (see Louv Last Child in the Woods). No question about it: the writers who offer ethical analyses that address root causes are generally undaunted by the mocking, devaluing, and whinging, are unafraid of the Harold Fromms of the world, the men (and they are mostly men) who blast what they see as the “grandstanding of vegans.” Bekoff is not the first person to write on food with such fearlessness. Though well aware of “the intellectual resistance to discussing the eating of animals” (Adams 18), Carol J. Adams, in The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory (a work that has become a classic), has, perhaps more than anyone else, gotten to the ethical roots of our food problems through feminist analyses. One of the relatively few academic books that has retained its freshness (perhaps because so little has changed in patriarchies) in the nearly three decades since its first publication, The Sexual Politics of Meat draws important connections about the overlap “of cultural images of sexual violence against women and the fragmentation and dismemberment of

104  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food nature and the body in Western culture” (40). The ethics behind objectification, Adams observes, permits the oppressor to view another being as an object. The oppressor then violates this being by object- like treatment. e.g., rape of women that denies women freedom by saying no, or the butchering of animals that converts animals from living breathing beings into dead objects. This process allows fragmentation, or brutal dismemberment, and finally consumption. (47) With startling insight, Adams links dismemberment and fragmentation directly with capitalist thinking: “Ford dismembered the meaning of work, introducing productivity without the sense of being productive” (53). But, Adams argues, “the dismemberment of the human body is not so much a construct of modern capitalism as modern capitalism is a construct built on dismemberment and fragmentation” (52). Perhaps this is the logical end of unbridled individualism, of the piece being more important than the whole.24 It is precisely the inability to see the whole and the relationships of the parts to that whole that accounts for the continued defense of meat, for the blindness toward the ecophobic bases of the American diet, and for the continuing absence of meat from the discussion. 25 In the summer of 2010, I was invited to teach an intensive graduate course on food at a university in Taiwan. In the first half of the course, we dealt with Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats and all of the attendant issues. We analyzed how My Year of Meats radically re-draws the boundaries of genre—specifically, though not exclusively, of the novel. We looked at the intergenerational effects of DES and at the ecophobia behind use of this synthetic hormone which is pumped into animals (a defiance to the natural size of cattle), the clear aim being to control their size and to make them bigger. We talked about the limits to the boundaries of fact and fiction, both the facts and fictions behind the meat industry and boundaries of this fictional novel itself, with its factual list of references at the end; and, finally, about the limits to growth, to borrow a phrase from Donella Meadows. This is a complex book that touches concerns central to ecocriticism, the most important of which surely has to be the ethics of activist engagement that it generates. Shameem Black’s assessment is that My Year of Meats “politicizes female reproduction and forges a cosmopolitan feminism in resistance to the individual, patriarchal, and corporate agents that endanger women’s bodies and attack their sexuality worldwide” (230). It is the writing of the global onto the individual that forges this “cosmopolitan feminism.” Thus, it seems correct to see, as Cheryl Fish does, that “global production and consumption cannot be separated from lived bodily experiences

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  105 that might vary in local, specific contexts, but that produce transnational identifications and subjects” (47). What this means in My Year of Meats is representations of radical blurrings of fact and fiction, which we see, among other sites, in the Beef-Ex strategy “‘to develop a powerful synergy between the commercials and the documentary vehicles, in order to stimulate consumer purchase motivation.’ In other words,” Jane explains, “the commercials were to bleed into the documentaries, and the documentaries were to function as commercials” (My Year of Meats 41). The settings of My Year of Meats are contemporary America and ­Japan, and the narrative follows two protagonists. In America, the plot charts the cross-country quest of the narrator, Jane Takagi-Little, to find authentic American beef-eaters, which she intends to package and deliver in a “documentary series” entitled “My American Wife” to ­Japanese consumers. Jane works for Beef-Ex, a multinational corporation that seeks to establish a strong market for beef in Japan. She does a lot of research into her field in her trek across America, looking for the desired images, finding out in the process that to be an authentic ­A merican means to be awash in a sea of floating identities, each very unique and each very typically “un-American.” On the other side of the Pacific in Japan, the narrative follows the growing involvement of the novel’s other main protagonist, Akiko Ueno, in the plots and information that “My American Wife” delivers. Akiko’s husband—Joichi Ueno, who prefers to be called “Johno Wayno”—is the producer, and a big believer in the imagined fortifying qualities of meat. He forces Akiko to a weekly regimen of “My American Wife” and, of course, the recipes therein contained. Joichi intends to fatten her up with these “meat duties” (21) and ultimately have a male child from her (a son preference being common in Japan). 26 As the narrative progresses, Jane, meanwhile, finds out about the use of synthetic hormones—in particular, DES—to stimulate growth (to extend the limits to growth) in cattle and poultry. She learns about how DES has been used to enhance the growth of chickens and cows, and she learns also that the whole thing is much more personal than it had at first appeared. She finds out that her mother took DES while pregnant and that, consequently, she is a “DES Daughter.” This is the beginning of profoundly complex and deeply fundamental challenges that this novel offers to cherished American notions of growth. “My American Wife” markets American beef to Japanese housewives but, with it, fantasies of what “the American woman” looks like. Thus, the pitch for the program explains that the American wife “must be attractive, appetizing, and All-American. She is the Meat Made Manifest: ample, robust, yet never tough or hard to digest” (8). Again, as Shameem Black has explained, “both women and meat become commodities on the global market whose bodies are shaped, deformed, and violated for

106  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food commercial profit” (231). Speciesism, sexism, and ecophobia run together here. Yet, if Jane’s role is to translate images of a normatively white heterosexual family unit that centers on the meaty dinner table every evening in a variety of geographical spots within America, then it is a role at which she very consciously and intentionally begins to fail. Direct subversion of the white, heteronormative ideals that have historically formed so much of the Western imagination, Jane’s filmic narratives progressively move away from the form she is to follow, offers visions to a Japanese constituency of a socially diverse America, peopled with lesbians, Mexicans, differently abled people—indeed, anything but the images she is supposed to be showing. While Black, therefore, is certainly not wrong to argue that Ozeki’s “work . . . searches for ways that women might develop usable alliances across national, racial, and sexual divides to combat the spread of global problems,” work that Black calls “cosmofeminism” (228), the form and structure of this novel itself—not only the women within the work but the vehicle that carries them— seems crucially involved in the project of producing a tangible, ethical desire to engage in an activist sense. Of course, in many ways, this novel renounces the local over the global in the sense that the problems it deals with are not particular to Kansas or Hokkaido, are, like so many other of the problems increasingly facing humanity in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, resolutely global; but there is something more than plot that is at work here, something that writers such as Nina Cornyetz and David ­Palumbo-Liu have been productively scratching at. Speaking of My Year of Meats, Cornyetz asks “how can one describe its performative rather than strictly literary function” (208)? Her answer is that the novel produces a praxis-­centered response through its “iteration or citation, of a set of codes of abjection that, by being recirculated in such a hyperbolic manner, put into ­question—and thus in some sense, historicize—their ‘original’/­naturalized codification” (221). Yet Cornyetz’s answer is a bit anticlimactic and does not really seem to answer the question about how it is that the novel elicits such a strong response. Many novels, after all, historicize their material but lack the swat of this one. While Palumbo-Liu is decidedly more focused on the affective ethics of praxis that this novel produces, it seems very, very wrong to suggest (as he does) that My Year of Meats lacks creativity at the level of form. ­Palumbo-Liu argues, “Ozeki’s text is hardly a revolutionary one in any formal sense. And yet, its presentation raises critical questions about the persisting role of a literary genre, or, indeed, all cultural forms in an age of increasingly extensive and intensive media” (65). What makes this comment problematical is that My Year of Meats clearly is radically revolutionary in a formal sense, does push and blur the boundaries of fiction, and, in so doing, involves the reader in a kind of narrative we have never before seen. This novel, with its bibliography

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  107 and documentary material and narrative science, produces results in the real world. This is what it means to be a novel in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This is where the genre goes in an age of globalization, and Ozeki is skillful in taking us there. Subtle in its analysis of how food and animals are related to globalization, nation, and cultural imperialism, My Year of Meats foregrounds a critique both of science and of anti-science, leveling relentless and candid investigations of racism, of stereotypes, of the fundamental impossibility of cultural authenticity in a late-20th and early-21st century world, of the possibilities of getting rid of boundaries that restrict the genre of the novel, of speaking outside of the concept of “nation,” and of changing people: it is a book that requires a very “big tent” ecocriticism that resists becoming a purely academic concern. So disgusted and horrified were my students after the first half of the course that they said they would not eat meat any more. In the second half of the course, we dealt with another Ozeki novel: All Over Creation. In this novel, Ozeki makes a thematic move from the meat that was so central in her first novel to potatoes, and with this thematic shift is also an environmental shift of focus from DES to Genetically ­Modified (GM) foods. This book is about big-scale power and smallscale relations, power in both technology and multinational agribusiness, and the novel shows the trickle-down effects of this power to very personal levels. This book complicates the intersections between ­generic forms and is peppered with historical fact (Evel Knievel’s 1974 attempt across the Snake River Canyon, numerous matters pertaining to Luther Burbank and his ­potatoes, GM foods, the terminator technology, and so on) and total fabrications. Cynaco is fictional, but its real-life counterpart is Monsanto. Corporate greed is real, as are the linked effects of patriarchal control the novel describes regarding women’s reproduction and sexuality on the one hand and genetic control of potatoes and agricultural seeds on the other. Indeed, there are times when it is difficult to distinguish this fictional book from Vandana ­Shiva’s factual one ­entitled Stolen Harvest about the same topic. Shiva tells “the story of how corporate control of food and globalization of agriculture are robbing millions of their livelihoods and their right to food” (7); Ozeki tells the story of how multinational corporations “mine Third World genetic resources, engage in globalized biopiracy, and rob developing countries of their ability to produce food independently and sustainably” (All Over Creation 258). The agricultural conflict is between what Shiva calls “food totalitarianism” and “food democracy.” In “food totalitarianism, . . . a handful of corporations control the entire food chain and destroy alternatives so that people do not have access to diverse, safe foods produced ecologically” (Shiva 17). One of the effects of the novel for students is to learn about the dangers of GM foods and farming. It is here that, as happens with

108  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food DES in My Year of Meats, the narrative becomes very nonfictional. “The Seeds” are talking about very real things, one of which is “terminator technologies.” As Geek (one of “The Seeds”) reveals, It’s like a death gene . . . a self-destruct mechanism. They splice it into the DNA of a plant and trigger it. The plant kills its own embryo . . . To protect the corporation’s intellectual property rights over the plant. To keep farmers from saving and replanting seeds. To force them to buy new seed every year . . . Crosses the line between genius and insanity. Think what could happen if that gene escapes. (All Over Creation 266) In discussing biomobility, Nicole Shukin has argued that “interspecies exchanges that were once local or ‘place-specific’ are experienced as global in their potential effects” (183). Shukin is discussing “species leaping” among animals, particularly to humans, and the potential threats the animal industry poses in terms of mad cow disease, avian flu, and so on, but the implications for flora are as dire as they are for fauna, perhaps more so. Shiva explains that Molecular biologists are currently examining the risk of the terminator function escaping the genome of the crops into which it has been intentionally incorporated and moving into surrounding open-pollinated crops or wild, related plants in nearby fields. Given nature’s incredible adaptability and the fact that the technology has never been tested on a large scale, the possibility that the terminator may spread to surrounding food crops or to the natural environment is a serious one. The gradual spread of sterility in seeding plants would result in a global catastrophe that could eventually wipe out higher life forms, including humans, from the planet. (Shiva 82–83) The reason behind this madness, environmental justice theorist Rachel Stein explains, is that transnational corporations, “to guarantee profitable ownership of designer plant species, . . . knowingly destroy plant reproductive capacities, so that neither farmers nor plants have access to free propagation outside of market property arrangements” (27). We see here, as Stein goes on to write in reference to All Over Creation, that the sinister intersection between the corporate biotechnological usurpation of plant reproductivity, and the social usurpation of women’s sexual and reproductive freedoms is emphasized when the sexual predator Elliot Rhodes reappears as a marketing agent for the

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  109 Cynaco corporation, and once again callously seduces Yumi in order to gain insider information on the guerilla resistance to genetically modified foods. (29) Yet, for all of this, the novel is not gloomy: “Despair,” Geek says, “is not a morally acceptable choice” (All Over Creation 268). Indeed, Stein demonstrates, this novel is not only about passivity and abuse; there is resistance—lots of it: to corporate technologies and capitalism, to sexual and reproductive injustice and repression, to food totalitarianism, and so on. Sometimes resistance is futile, and sometimes it is fertile, as the novel’s relatively optimistic ending proposes. One of the strengths of this novel is its refusal to give pat answers, and it is committed to exploring the complexity and diversity of the issues and to broadcast the value of diversities, from the diversity of crops and seeds to the diversity of the Fullers’s mixed heritage family—in life and in death. The image of the congregation at Lloyd’s death is amazing (for mono-crop, mono-culture Idaho): “Everyone packed into the chapel for the service . . . the old minister looked around at the variegated congregation, at the local folks and out-of-towners, the gardeners and the hippies, the pornographers and members of the Tri-County Interfaith League of Family Values” (373). Even death itself is complicated: “I’d always thought it was straightforward,” Yumi laments, “Life or death. Black or white. I didn’t realize there were so many shades of dying. So many different levels” (348). This book, like My Year of Meats before it, is all about complexities. So disgusted and horrified were my students after the second half of the course that they joked that they would not eat vegetables anymore! But the ecophobic ethics behind GM foods is no joking matter. Renowned ethicist (and, by consensus, the father of the contemporary animal rights movement) Peter Singer argues in The Way We Eat, a book coauthored with Jim Mason, that “the most fundamental ethical objection is that genetic modification is a form of human arrogance, almost like playing God” (210). Yet, as Singer and Mason even-handedly argue, the same reasoning could be made for selective breeding, a human practice that goes back millennia, and “unless we are to turn our back on the domestication of plants and animals, we cannot logically hold that interfering with the nature of species is intrinsically wrong” (211). I’m not convinced by this argument, and there is something fundamentally different about tinkering with genes—a point that becomes more clear when we look at the analogy of human coupling. We choose our partners on the basis of characteristics (psychological, emotional, physical) that we find most attractive, but this is clearly not the same as supporting eugenics. 27 A second ethical argument Singer and Mason make against GM foods is that they “pose an unacceptable risk of irreversible climate change”

110  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food (210), a risk many scientists are willing to take with total ecophobic nonchalance toward potential ecological effects, an ecophobic enthusiasm, as I discuss further below, that resembles that of scientists in an American desert in July 1945. For the students of my guest lectures in the summer of 2010 in Taiwan, ethical eating had become more difficult, and deciphering the GM foods from the non-GM foods would require some work. Getting rid of GM foods altogether will be more so. It is staggering the kind of control companies such as Monsanto have. According to the Organic Consumer’s Association, “Monsanto controls 80 percent of the GM corn market and 93 percent of the GM soy market in the US,” with “282 million acres [worldwide] planted in Monstanto’s GM crops, up from only 3 million in 1996,” and ownership of “1676 seed, plant, and other applicable patents” (see Kaldveer). These numbers point to what is widely recognized as a Monsanto monopoly. How they got it is easy to understand. We all eat, and we are all—on some level— concerned about the availability of food. Monsanto promises to keep a lot of food easily accessible, financially and physically. Yet the fact is that we simply do not need GM food to feed the world: “­Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but by a scarcity of democracy” (Lappé 7). According to Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director, Institute for Responsible Technology, in fact, “We have more food per person than any time in human history. We have enough food grown to feed 11.3 billion people” (Seeds of Death). Producing the food and having it accessible to the people who need it, however, are two different things—and one thing is certain: food will not be accessible when it is being fed to livestock. The United States feeds to cattle approximately two-thirds of the calories produced from grain farms. A 1997 report claimed that the United States could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eats (see “US could feed” ). That was twenty years ago. Today things have gotten worse. By 2004, according to the US Department of Commerce, Census of Agriculture, “While 56 million acres of U.S. land are producing hay for livestock, only 4 million acres are producing vegetables for human consumption” (“Meat” 17). The rapid expansion of American-style ethics and disregard for nature only compound the problems. In their scramble to be like the United States, rapidly industrializing countries such as China race toward the mistakes and idiocy inherent in the unbridled American dream. No unbridled dream can result in much good. Rather, the result is “a mosaic of culinary monotony” (Carruth 2), wherein food has become something quite foreign, what Michael Pollan calls a “foodlike substance” (In Defense 53). Indeed, “terms like polyunsaturated, cholesterol, monounsaturated, carbohydrate, fiber, polyphenols, amino acids, flavonols, carotenoids, antioxidants, probiotics, and phytochemicals soon colonized much of the cultural space previously occupied by the tangible

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  111 material formerly known as food” (27). Our grandparents wouldn’t recognize these foreign things we call food. It is not just the naming but the things themselves that are problematical. Some of it really isn’t food at all. Marie-Monique Robin has painstakingly unearthed a principle that the US Food and Drug Administration follows regarding GMOs: “In most cases, the substances expected to become components of food as a result of genetic modification will be the same as or substantially similar to substances commonly found in food such as proteins, fats and oils, and carbohydrates” (FDA, cited by Robin 146). This has been called “the Principle of Substantial Equivalence.” The global scramble to be like Americans (a scramble aided by American greed and expansionism and abetted by victim economies and cultures themselves that suffer from a degenerating sense of what A.A. Phillips calls “cultural cringe”) will only result in global tastelessness. Allison Carruth charts “the centrality of food to accounts of globalization and U.S. hegemony that pervade the literature of” the period from WWI until the post-9/11 period (5) and shows that while “U.S. food power is . . . global in scope” (4), it also inspires tremendous resistance and opposition. In an interview with Paraguayan farm activist Jorge Galeano for the filmic version of the book The World According to Monsanto, Robin asks “Do you think that GM crops can co-exist with the crops of small farmers?” Galeano responds, “No, we are sure they can’t. There are two incompatible models that can’t co-exist. It’s a silent war that eliminates communities and families of small farmers. In addition, it destroys the bio-diversity of the countryside. It brings death, poverty and illness, as well as the destruction of the natural resources that help us live”. (Robin And we should have no illusions about the origins of these changes: they are a direct result of an ethical system that puts profit before life. American capitalism is funded by a marked absence of concern about the well-being of people in general, the health of the environment, or the food security of the future. The cancer of corporate capitalism is much more than simply the McDonaldization of the world, the invasion of American fast-food chains and coffee outlets across the planet, the reformatting of local food systems with American chains of junk food: these are the large manifestations of the cancer that has roots deep in the guts of the United States—not in the laboratories of Monsanto (which are yet another manifestation, not a cause)—but in the US Supreme Court and, more broadly, in the ecophobic American ethical system that allows for legislators to imagine that it is okay to allow patents on life. It is a monstrous ethical system (scientific and legal) that thinks it is okay to take the DNA from one organism and force it into another. It is the

112  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food nonchalance of ecophobia writ large. The ethical problem here is that the risks posed both to the environment and to people simply aren’t known. The unknowns—both short-and long-term here—are reminiscent of another American gamble: the Trinity atomic test. On July 16, 1945, the United States detonated the world’s first atomic bomb. No one was quite sure how things would work out, either in the short- or the long-term. In the moments leading up to the detonation, Italian physicist Enrico Fermi To break the tension, . . . began offering anyone listening a wager on “whether or not the bomb would ignite the atmosphere, and if so, whether it would merely destroy New Mexico or destroy the world.” Oppenheimer himself had bet ten dollars against George Kistiakowsky’s entire month’s pay that the bomb would not work at all. (“The Manhattan Project”­project-history/Events/1945/trinity.htm) Well, the world didn’t burn up, but one wonders whether these men had envisioned the Cold War and the proximity to total annihilation to which that Cold War would take the world. The Berlin Wall came down, and the USSR collapsed, but the game is not over, and one wonders how long it will take for Daish or some such group to get their hands on a nuclear device—or for Trump to graduate from impulsively punching the buttons on his Twitter account to rashly punching the buttons to throw the nuclear football. One also wonders if those men that day in the desert had imagined such a future. The Bomb may have stopped the atrocities of the Japanese Imperial Army, but the ethical problem here is that the more long-term risks posed both to the environment and to people simply wasn’t and isn’t known. Nuclear bombs and recombinant DNA are not ethical, and both are pivotal in matters of power and control. In a terrifying discussion, Shiva explains the potentials for domination Monsanto embodies: The company [Monsanto] has always said that genetic engineering was a way of getting patents, and that’s its real aim. If you look at the research strategy it is now pursuing in India, you’ll see that it is testing twenty plants into which it has introduced Bt genes: mustard, okra, eggplant, rice, cauliflower, and so on. Once it has established ownership of genetically modified seeds as the norm, it will be able to collect royalties; we will depend on the company for every seed we plant and every field we cultivate. If it controls seeds, it controls food; it knows that, and that’s its strategy. It’s more powerful than bombs or weapons; it is the best way to control the people of the world. (Robin 310–11)28 Shiva’s comments signal important intersections among the workings of power in racism, ecophobia, and an aggressive corporate capitalism.

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  113 Genetic fiddling is the new face of violence and domination. Machetes, tanks, swords, and bullets are nothing compared to the kind of reach that corporations such as Monsanto have. 29 Literally billions of people are at the mercy of Monsanto.30 How could this have happened, and how can we continue to let this happen? Nuclear bombs and recombinant DNA both exhibit a nonchalance that falls under the condition of ecophobia. The extension of American patent law to cover “a live human-made microorganism” (the patenting of life) is diametrically opposed to an ethical respect for life and nature. The globalization of this disrespect (or nonchalance, or whatever we wish to call it) is dangerous on several levels. It is not just nature that is violated and threatened; the autonomy of other nations is also in the cross-hairs. The relationships among ecophobia, food, and rampant nationalism expose cultural and national identities (that cohere in food systems) to real threats. If kimchi, for instance, is the national food of Korea, and if Korea is having to import enormous amounts of cabbage from China to make the kimchi (or if Korea is having to import the ready-made kimchi itself), then what does this dynamic do to the national identity of Korea? If cosmopolitanism is about integrating difference, then surely it is not about white-washing cultural variation, bulldozing unique traditional geographies, and fostering transnational corporations into positions of terrorist power that surpass anything that 9/11 perpetrators or their ilk have achieved or can achieve? Yet these are precisely the things that have happened, and companies promoting GMOs are critically complicit in the ongoing legacies of colonialism. If colonialism mapped, drafted, and designed the blueprints of world domination, then globalization realizes the structures, cements the material practices, and expands beyond imagination the material and conceptual meanings of conquest: “Colonialism initiated (and globalization continues to drive) circuits of physical and virtual mobility that impact on the construction of place (O’Brien 242–3). As if to prove this beyond any doubt, Monsanto hasn’t minced words on the topic. In an interview for the documentary Seeds of Death, Shiv Chopra summarizes from his book Corrupt to the Core about a published speech by a Monsanto executive saying how they are going to control the whole world, not just by genetic modification but they’re going to take charge of the whole world by influencing the White House, the White Hall, the French Parliament, the Canadian Parliament, the Japanese Parliament: this is published information. (Seeds of Death) Whether or not there is empirical evidence for Chopra’s claim is not something I can answer here, but there certainly is ample evidence that whatever its intent, Monsanto has achieved a kind of global domination with control of a whopping 23% of the global seed market (see Smaller).

114  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food Depriving communities of their food sovereignty in the interests of corporate profit is an affront to the good of humanity as a whole, an ethical choice of self-interest over everything else: The notion of rights has been turned on its head under globalization and free trade. The right to produce for oneself or consume according to cultural proprieties and safety concerns has been rendered illegal according to the new trade rules. The rights of corporations to force-feed citizens of the world with culturally inappropriate and hazardous foods has been made absolute. The right to food, the right to safety, the right to culture are all being treated as trade barriers that need to be dismantled. (Shiva 18) “Food, eating, and ethics” as a topic is an important part of discussions about “the new cosmopolitanism,” about an insidious and invidious corporate neo-imperialism of companies such as Monsanto, and about what happens to the autonomy of nations in the global supermarket. The literature of food is central to ongoing allegories of imperialism. Globalized food is central to unprecedented barbarity, easily surpassing any genocides of the past. Novelists and other writers have produced enormous amounts of literature over the past two decades about food, food security, locavore logistics, food production, food and class, food and race, and so on, but still, as Carruth notes in 2013, “the disciplines of literary history and cultural theory have not, in the main, taken up food studies” (165), and (despite the growing body of work appearing that deals with ecophobia, as I discussed in the Introduction) virtually nothing has appeared specifically theorizing about how ecophobia is involved with food transformations in the 21st century. Theorizing food studies in ecocriticism increasingly means looking at practice, at meat and vegetables, and at what their production and consumption represents both for natural and for human environments. “It’s all about money,” drawled the man beside me on my flight to Bloomington for the 2011 ASLE conference. But it’s not only that; it’s also about class and race and ethics and taste. It’s about gender and species and knowledge and ignorance. It is about consciousness and sexuality and work. It’s all about many things. There are no simple answers. Diet is a bit of a flashpoint, even for people in the environmental humanities, and as Fromm’s anti-vegan rant suggests, the intensity of our convictions sometimes seems to cloud the light of reason. Food is intensely personal, which may account for why so much of writing about it has an autobiographical flavor. Coming Home to Eat is Gary Paul Nabhan’s personal narrative of his year eating products from within 220 miles of his Arizona home. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is Barbara Kingsolver’s life-writing about how she and her family went locavore for a year. The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter is Peter Singer and Jim Mason’s life-writing narrative of three families, one family that follows SAD

Animals, Ecophobia, and Food  115 (the Standard American Diet), one that is more health conscious and often buys organic, and the third that is strictly vegan. Foer’s Eating Animals is interwoven with personal narratives of struggles and insights, changes and difficulties. Even Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma ends up with the life-writing about Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farm (an alternative way to farm animals, one that doesn’t question the need to kill animals but seeks to be more in tune with local ecologies and less reliant on chemicals). If it is intensely personal, no less is food deeply social, with broad public consequences. The disconnect that characterizes mainstream Western relationships with food and environment, diet and ethics, self and world are rooted in ecophobia and in an ethics of convenience and opportunism that desperately requires action. Donald Trump may truly believe (against science and against facts) in his own “alternative facts,” in a never-never land where climate change is a hoax; Harold Fromm may accuse vegans of grandstanding; and meat-eaters may belittle, diminish, and feel offended by the work of committed vegetarians, vegans, feminists, and queers who are making connections. We need to remember, however, that people also resisted Abolitionism. Most of us look back at American slavery with horror. Along with Marc Bekoff, I wonder about the future: “What will future generations say when they look back and see how, despite what we knew, we still tortured animals and decimated pristine habitats for our own gain?” (178).31

Notes 1 Some vegans take it further and eschew use of animals also for clothing and entertainment. 2 When people crumple their brow curiously (and in a curiously oppositional way) at my being vegetarian, my usual pre-emptive question is to ask, “so, when did you become a meat-eater?” or, if it is a really ugly crumple, “Why do you eat meat? Is it religious reasons, I mean, especially given what we know about the health and environmental effects of eating meat?” 3 Climate change, curiously, does not come up in Wright’s book. 4 There is no turkey on the Korean Thanksgiving menu. The most important item on the menu is the crescent-shaped glutinous rice cakes (songpyeon), which are filled with sweetened sesame seeds, chestnuts, or pine nuts. There is a lot of fruit (apples, pears, oranges, and grapes) on the menu, as well as rice, bulgogi, pan-fried whole yellow croaker, fish fritters, scallion pancakes, boiled spinach, battered fried zucchini, various kinds of kimchi, and a lot of soju. The main meal on Chuseok is at noon, not the evening. Following lunch, gathered family members visit the ancestral graves to remove weeds and leave some food for the imagined spirits. 5 The ecological costs of transporting foods out-of-season has received a lot of media attention through the issue of food miles. 6 Neurologist David Perlmutter has done some research on possible relationships between glyphosate (a broad spectrum herbicide) and autism (see Research in the area continues, and it is certainly valuable, but we really don’t need scientific verification to know that ingesting the poisons with which we cover our vegetables is dangerous. This is not rocket science.

116  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food 7 Statistics on the waste meat represents is easy to find. A cursory search on the internet reveals that Chickens and pigs convert grain into meat at rates of two or three to one (ie, it takes 2kg of feed to produce 1kg of chicken). The ratio for lamb is between four and over six to one and that for beef starts at five to one and goes as high as 20 to one. This has long been known. What is new are the amounts of greenhouse gases associated with the production of a kilo of protein by different animals. These vary even more widely: 3.7kg for chicken; 24kg for pork; and up to 1,000kg for cattle. (see J.L.P.) And those stats are only about the waste involved in converting plant proteins to animal proteins. There are other matters that make fast food environmentally hostile—the antibiotics, the growth hormones, the packaging, the transportation, the greenhouse gas emissions from cattle themselves, and the water contamination from things such as fecal lagoons are some of these. 8 Corollaries I used in that article were about sexism and oil: as “it would be difficult to take seriously a man who calls himself feminist at the two o’clock seminar but goes to strip clubs on weekends, so too is it difficult to take seriously big oil companies that spend millions advertising their commitment to the environment” (ibid). 9 Marc Bekoff makes the same point a year later in The Animal Manifesto, where he explains that “If you’re an environmentalist, it’s impossible to justify eating factory-farmed meat” (121). Tony Weis, too, expresses a similar point, citing Howard Lyman, who “likens a meat-eating environmentalist to ‘a philanthropist who doesn’t happen to give to charity’” (152). Howard ­Lyman is a former cattle rancher. In Kip Anderson’s film Cowspiracy, ­Lyman explains “You can’t be an environmentalist and eat animal products. Period. Kid yourself if you want. If you want to feed your addiction, so be it, but don’t call yourself an environmentalist.” 10 Pollan argues that “no people on earth worry more about the health consequences of their food choices than we Americans—and no people suffer from as many diet-related problems. We are becoming a nation of orthorexics: people with an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating” (In Defense 8–9). For Pollan, the problem lies in the ideology of nutritionism: The first thing to understand about nutritionism is that it is not the same thing as nutrition. As the “-ism” suggests, it is not a scientific subject but an ideology. Ideologies are ways of organizing large swaths of life and experience under a set of shared but unexamined assumptions. This quality makes an ideology particularly hard to see, at least while it’s still exerting its hold on your culture. A reigning ideology is a little like the weather—all pervasive and so virtually impossible to escape. (28) 11 Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm is an attempt at a more sustainable and responsible livestock farming practice. Influenced by his Christian ethics, Salatin raises and slaughters his grass-fed animals in ways that he believes causes less suffering, uses more of the raw materials of nature (over industrial products), and produces better ethical and environmental results. 12 In the film Cowspiracy, Kip Anderson shows that for all of its appeal, farms such as Salatin’s are entirely unsustainable. Discussing a similar farm (the Markegard Family Grass-Fed Farm), he argues that it takes 4500 acres to produce 80,000 pounds of meat. Assuming that the average American eats 209 pounds of meat per year (slightly higher than the statistic of 200.6

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pounds I cited earlier), the Markegard Farm would feed 382 people, equaling 11.7 acres for each person. All of the continental United States, Mexico, and Central America, plus a third of Canada and South America would need to be converted to grasslands (including all mountains, cities, parks, residential areas, and so on) just to feed the American population. That’s 323 million people. There are 7.3 billion people on the planet. It takes 13 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of beef, six pounds of grain to produce a pound of boneless pork, and three pounds of grain to produce a pound of chicken (Peter Singer and Jim Mason 2007, 232). See also Erik Marcus 2005, W.O. Herring and J.K. Bertrand 2002, Glen Fukomoto and John Replogle 1999, F.H. Ricard 1980, and Francis Moore Lappé 1971. Ethicists such as Peter Singer echo this need for restraint, arguing that “social life requires some degree of restraint” (One World 4). On the topic of protein, which is the most common question I hear as a vegetarian, see Young and Pellett. No one doubts that horses, elephants, or hippopotami have strong bones, lack protein, or are weak—and they are all herbivores. According to a January 25, 2017 CNN report, “going ‘locavore’” had, by 2016, become one of the two biggest “food trends from top chefs.” These top chefs come from Italy, Japan, Spain, Australia, Manila, Thailand, China, USA, Peru, and Singapore. (See Chen travel/food-trends-2017/index.html). See Chapter 3, where I discuss resistance to theorizing about ecophobia as an effect of data saturation and numbness. Serpil Oppermann usefully discusses backlash to theory (which she terms “theory phobia”) in terms of how it is imagined to reduce nature to text. See Oppermann, “Ecocriticism’s Phobic Relations with Theory.” Further references to this article will be cited parenthetically in the text as “Vegans.” Blog responses at the bottom of the article (as of July 2010) will be referenced by their usernames. As Greta Gaard has commented, Fromm’s “failure to understand the sciences speaks volumes—really, what is his qualification to publish his rant on veganism? Is he a member of the American Dietetic Association? A biologist? He has no credentials to speak on this topic—and Americans fall for it every time, like Jesse Ventura (the wrestler) getting elected as Governor of Minnesota or Ronald Reagan as President of U.S.” (Gaard 30 August 2010). We might add Donald Trump to that list now. I am grateful to Greta Gaard from bringing this article to my attention. Jonathan Safran Foer weighs the matter differently from Fromm, posing the questions as follows: “How much do I value creating a socially comfortable situation, and how much do I value acting socially responsible? The relative importance of ethical eating and table fellowship will be different in different situations (declining my grandmother’s chicken with carrots is different from passing on microwaved buffalo wings)” (55). For Fromm, fear of alienating potential friends trumps ethical eating. Some might view this as cowardice. See also Endnote 2. One of the comments I received to a draft version of this chapter was to “definitely remove” this example linking pedophiles and ecophobia, perhaps because it is a shocking and offensive comparison. The powerlessness of the victims and the enormous and lasting effects of abuse in both examples, however, more than warrants such a comparison, and there are a great many issues, as Greta Gaard has noted (see “Ecofeminism and Climate Change”), involved with climate discussions (and, by implication, theorizing about ecophobia).

118  Animals, Ecophobia, and Food 23 Bekoff’s book is a powerful reiteration of matters that have been said over and over, and repetition is necessary when things don’t change. The need to reiterate feminist critiques and anti-racist analyses show this well. The waves of sexism and racism just keep coming, constantly washing away progress and equality, and the only hope is to repeat and repeat and repeat until it is no longer necessary to do so. 24 One is reminded of Jeremy Bentham’s famous utilitarian axiom that “it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong,” a concept articulated in more modern parlance through Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in The Wrath of Khan (1982): “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” William Shatner’s Admiral Kirk replies “Or the one.” It is environmentally sound logic; its opposite is not. Putting the self before the environment is ecophobic—and illogical. 25 Even as I write this in January 2017, a collection published this very month entitled Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities (see Siperstein, Hall, and LeMenager) does not see the teaching of food as a priority in pedagogy about climate change. In the thirty-four chapters of the book, food does not appear as a topic. While this is not to dismiss or minimize the importance of the scholarship in this book (some by renowned authors), the absence of this important chunk of climate change material is a telling omission. 26 For more on the topic of son preference in Japan, see Kureishi and Wakabayashi. 27 According to a 2016 “STAT-Harvard Poll on Genetic Editing, Testing, and Therapy,” 83% of the people surveyed said “no” to the idea that “changing the genes of unborn babies to improve their intelligence or physical characteristics” should be legal, and 82% opposed even the research on such matters (see Begley). 28 Allison Carruth similarly observes a direct relation between national power and control of food in her discussion of the growth of American power after WWII: “In the years between the German invasion of Poland and the first decade of the Cold War, American plenty and European austerity became signifiers of a sea change in the global food chain: a sea change by which the United States became an agricultural superpower” (89). 29 Physical violence has long been a staple in the cookbook for world domination, and the group that calls itself ISIS is but the latest manifestation. The usual tedious rhetoric about barbarians, infidels, heretics, and so on, though it changes slightly over time (we rarely hear the word “Philistine” these days), comes with the sword, but little else has changed among the groups that use those swords to try to rule the world, whether we are talking about the British and European colonialists or the Islamic fundamentalists, the nazis or the imperial Japanese, the American offensive under George W. Bush or the Bosnian Serbs under Ratko Mladić, the terror of Boko Haram or the Rwandan Genocide by the Hutu. These violent regimes rise and fall, but the US Supreme Court ruling of 1980 legalizing genetic fiddling with food would change the shape of world domination forever. 30 For more information and statistics on Monsanto, see Seeds of Death, and Vandana Shiva’s “Monsanto vs Indian Farmers.” 31 The film The Age of Stupid goes to those future generations. Set in 2055, the film has the curator of “the global archive, a vast storage structure located 800 km north of Norway” staring back in amazement, with similar questions to Bekoff’s: “ . . .we could’ve saved ourselves. We could’ve saved ourselves. But we didn’t, it’s amazing! What state of mind were we in, to face extinction, and simply shrug it off?” More recently, the future history narrative The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway takes us almost four hundred years into the future for a glimpse of where the trajectory of our ecophobia leads.

6 Madness and Ecophobia

The field of psychology is a site at which ecophobia nestles because the condition has historically been a crossroads between what can be described as normative cultural behaviors, on the one hand, and deviant ones on the other, between what is imagined as human and what is imagined as unpredictable difference, unruly wild, and an intrusion of nature into culture (as I will show in the pages that follow). When people with psychiatric disabilities and disorders live among the rest of humanity, the whole of that humanity loses some control over the cultural norms and social rules that historically it has sought so very hard to maintain. It is surprising, therefore, that so little work has been done within ecocriticism on psychiatric debility and disability. Indeed, very little work has been done in general theorizing about the topic from within the environmental humanities. Among the sparsity of work that has been done is the startling insight from ethicist Serenella Iovino that imagining madness involves imagining the presence of a kind of nonhuman nature within the human. In “The Human Alien: Otherness, Humanism, and the Future of Ecocriticism,” Iovino cleverly explains that “madness and disability create in fact a ‘wilderness zone’ inside the civilized or ‘tame’ area of humanity-as-normality” (“The Human Alien” 55).1 There are radical implications to this idea. First, the insight challenges, as Iovino notes, the very taxonomy of the human, the “ontological segregation” (56) of the human. Second, and perhaps more important, is that in imagining madness as the inclusion of the threatening nonhuman within the human, representations of madness imply a distinct disdain toward the more-than-human realm (roughly nature beyond the human). Moreover, unlike many propositions in literary analysis, Iovino’s “wilderness zone” thesis has ample support from literary sources. Even among common contemporary idioms describing madness or insanity, images of animals and nature abound. We cavalierly label madness by talking about going bananas, about bats in the belfry, about harebrained ideas, about going nuts, about rats in the attic, about being as nutty as a fruitcake, about being as crazy as a loon, about being barking mad, about being loony, and so on.

120  Madness and Ecophobia The melancholy and madness that run through the Shakespearean canon are entangled with ideas about the natural world and its creatures. Part of what triggers ecophobia is the imagined unpredictability in the more-than-human or the other-than-human. In a play such as King Lear, where unpredictability reigns supreme, both within the human realm and in the more-than-human realm, madness also prevails. “It is fitting,” as Craig Dionne has recently argued in a radically engaging and presentist set of readings on King Lear, “to frame an analysis of William Shakespeare’s most nihilistic narrative about cosmic decay by foregrounding the problem of our own uncertain future” (30–31). This play is simply littered with madness and was staged within what seems to be the first clearly identifiable anthropogenic global climate event (the little ice age). This madness is deeply imbricated with the materiality of nature in the play. More than any other character in this play, Edgar, though feigning madness, understands well how to use images and materials of nature to represent the troubled mind. He is the person “brought near to beast” (King Lear 2.3.9), 2 with dirty face and knotted hair (ll.9–10), broken syntax and senseless ravings; he is a subject ultimately deprived of itself. He indeed does get sucked into the madness he is seeking to represent and, in so doing, loses himself to that in which he immerses himself, and nature takes over. He complains, “Edgar I nothing am” (2.3.21). This is R.D. Laing’s “divided self.” In four words, Edgar moves from a third-person description of himself to first person and then back again, repeating the divided self, saying “nothing am,” a clear contradiction since one cannot simultaneously be “nothing” and be “am.”3 He is a subject deprived of bodily definition and limits, with neither house nor clothes to redraw those definitions and limits, a thing fully inhabited by the wilderness and unpredictability he inhabits. Nature inhabits the human as the human inhabits the more-than-human. Naked, homeless, and abject, the mad person is bestial: “un-/ accommodated man is no more but such a poor, / bare forked animal” (3.4.104–6), Lear raves, “tearing off his clothes” (SD, l.107). The bestial connotes dystopian chaos rather than bucolic images precisely because of the ecophobic stain attached to the other-than-human. The vulnerability to an unpredictable, sometimes capricious, and often hostile nature is terrifying. Images of bareness, exposure, vulnerability, homelessness, and lack of control associated with psychological maladies deftly identify a madness that is enmeshed with a frightening environment in this play, an environment over which control is never a given. It is the changeability of this environment that causes terror, and it is self-abandonment, lack of control, and sheer unpredictability that such an environment threatens to entrench. The result is madness. The storm is more than simply a thematic resonance: it is deeply embedded in the material histories of the time, a large part of which was the

Madness and Ecophobia  121 cold that the playgoers felt within the theater itself, the storms that they experienced in their lives, and the changes to food production that they felt at the markets. Within the play, the extraordinary storm is matched by extraordinarily stormy social relations. Who ever heard of a king getting locked out—in a storm yet!—by his daughters and their ilk? The physical and spatial terms defining madness in Shakespeare point to a very specific set of environmental ethics. From start to finish, the limits of Lear’s identity and growth are staked out in spatial and environmental terms. It has been a struggle with social and environmental boundaries, and we move from the very grand scale of nation and maps to the very personal scale of madness and an imagined prison. In between, nature triumphs and wipes Lear’s slate clean of his eminently human pursuits: he loses power, identity, and home as much to unpredictable and uncontrollable nature as to his daughters and their crowd. King Lear is the fall of a king not merely from power but from culture and society into wild nature where beasts roam, and, it seems, anything is possible. In a compelling book about Shakespeare and ecology, ­Randall Martin has explained that “the storm in King Lear materializes the king’s catastrophic descent into madness” (11), a descent into something of nature. If Shakespeare registers madness as a descent from rational humanity into something else, then no less is it the embodiment and incorporation of otherness. Othello is black and, in the racist ideology of the play, therefore credulous and easily made jealous, and before long, he “breaks out to savage madness” (Othello 4.1.55)—because he is black. This discursive alignment of Othello with madness powerfully extends his distance from humanity proper toward a conceptual space of chaos beyond the patternings of human power and control, a positioning consonant with racist dehumanization and bestialization into spaces of an unpredictable and terrifying Nature. Othello’s extension away from the human begins with his self-positioning into natural landscapes. The tales with which he woos Desdemona are both animalizing and spatializing. One of the matters to remember here is that in the early modern period, madness is a material thing, imaged as a corporeal deformity of some kind, variously gendered, sexualized, classed, and raced. This abnormal body is, in turn, terrestrialized in very specific ways. In his exhaustive and encyclopedic Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), for instance, Robert Burton explicitly associates sexual variation with geographical issues, the normative heterosexual body being indigenous to Britain and dissidence being foreign, from elsewhere. Part of the fear of foreign landscapes is actually a fear of foreigners, and this itself is a fear of “human nature, its fickleness, its potential for violence and cruelty,” as Yi-Fu Tuan explains in Landscapes of Fear (73); but another important part of the ecophobia toward foreign landscapes has to do with “predictabity in an uncertain environment” (Tuan 9).

122  Madness and Ecophobia Domestic landscapes are more mapped, predictable, and sustaining than foreign landscapes. Domestic landscapes provide all that is necessary for survival: everything that people may need, Nicholas Culpeper explains in 1659, is “abundantly ministered unto us for the preservation of Health at home in our own Fields, Pastures, Rivers, etc” (7 [D4]). Meanwhile, anything foreign becomes a site and origin of danger, an object of xenophobia and disdain, and a source of pollution. Culpeper’s stance is somewhere between what today would be a sensible bioregional self-sustainability, on the one hand, and a xenophobic othering of the foreign, on the other. Whatever label we give his stance, however, his cures and medicines for the body and mind are local, rooted in English soils and airs. And Shakespeare’s understandings of madness a half century or so earlier are rooted in similar beliefs about the local and the foreign. With the foreign representing danger and potential pollution and folly, to look at representations of madness in Shakespeare from an ecocritical perspective, therefore, becomes not merely a viable project but indeed a very necessary one. It is a reasonable proposition, therefore, that in order to understand early modern literary madness, it is also necessary to understand early modern xenophobia and all of its ecophobic implications and bases. As I have mentioned in Ecocriticism and Shakespeare, racism and ecophobia are intertwined in Othello. In addition, for instance, to the animalizing imagery in Othello (the black ram tupping the white ewe), Othello is ontologically associated with the “rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads touch heaven” (Othello 1.3.141) in the tales he uses to woo Desdemona and is, by any account, a monster. Karen Newman describes him as “a monster in the Renaissance sense of the word, a deformed creature like the hermaphrodites and other strange spectacles so fascinating to the early modern period” (153). Moreover, he is certainly aware of the appeal of the cannibal and of its spatial dislocation. In his successful bid to woo Desdemona, he talks about “the ­Cannibals that each other eat / The Anthropophagi” (1.3.143–45). Dislocated from the geography of the center to a geography of difference, they share no substantial dissimilarity from the landscape to which Othello is ontologically associated. It is his associations with a more-than-human world that constitute him, his power, his sexuality, and his charismatic presence. Yet to represent madness is a difficult thing. As Shoshana Felman urges, echoing Michel Foucault, madness is “still prevented from speaking for itself, in a language of its own” (“Foucault” 40). When authors imagine and write madness into their fiction, the cultural product is an imaginary of real-world psychological disability or psychiatric disorder. The psychological state of a literary character is always a fiction; how real-world ethics impinge on the construction of such a character, however, is not. The constructedness of the category of madness both within

Madness and Ecophobia  123 and outside of fiction warrants more critical attention. Literary madness is obviously not the same as nonliterary madness, but the ethics involved with the social construction of madness of both kinds are functionally equivalent, and the same standards of analysis apply to these ethical frames inside and outside of literature. Ecophobia is centrally involved in imagining psychiatric otherness, in part because, as Paul Shepherd has observed, “humans intuitively see analogies between the concrete world out there and their own inner world” (Nature and Madness 72). While literary madness and real madness are entirely different things, the literary mad linger with us and resonate in our consciousness long after we shut the book. Different, obviously, from the real,4 they have potent material effects and both influence and are influenced by the world of practical medicine. Can we use our current definitions for the past? No. Even outside of the geographical confines of nation, the terms defining psychiatric disability must differ. The bottom line here is that both literary and real cases of madness have lasting material effects, and how we personify our ecophobia says a great deal about how we understand our rights and our uses of power. For Shepherd, there are important links between “human powers over nature” and “power over other men”: “the otherness of nature takes fabulous forms of incorporation, influence, conciliation, and compromise” (Nature and Madness 8). 5 Visiting mental hospitals, as became common in early-17th century England, was simultaneously an exercise of real power and a blurring of the literary and clinically mad. With the opening of Bethlem Royal Hospital to the public for entertainment, “the hospital was some sort of theater, a place of perverse and sometimes fashionable entertainment for Londoners, and the practice of visiting and viewing the mad for amusement was depicted or alluded to in a number of plays between 1598 and 1630” (Jackson 1). Kalli ­Elizabeth Ringelberg (who also cites Jackson on this matter) observes that “visitation to the mental hospital was both to entice the public to feel empathy towards the patients and want to help the institute financially, but also to expose them as a spectacle and breech the division between the so-called sane and insane” (16). Yet, while Ringelberg believes that this visitation practice “illuminated the clear separation between the sane and healthy spectators and the unhealthy mentally insane” (ibid), it is reasonable to assume that the theatricalization of the mad here also conflated the real and the imaginary mad, the people in the hospital with the ones on the stage. Ringelberg goes on to explain that “the governors of Bedlam” wanted to raise money and that “By seeing them as humans,… not some foreign monsters, it just may have scared… visitors into paying large sums to cure them, hoping that they would never become this same exact way” (17).

124  Madness and Ecophobia Yet the specter of monstrosity looms. The human sits at the contested definitional axes of nature, a kiss away from monstrosity. Judith Butler argues that It is not enough to claim that human subjects are constructed, for the construction of the human is a differential operation that produces the more and the less “human,” the inhuman, the humanly unthinkable. These excluded sites come to bound the “human” as its constitutive outside, and to haunt those boundaries as the persistent possibility of their disruption and rearticulation. (Bodies that Matter 8) Writing monstrosity is the narrativization of ecophobia, imagining unpredictable agency in nature that must be subject to human power and discipline. Ecophobia is the affective reaction. Ecophobia is all about power. It is the something-other-than-humanness that is dangerous in the monster6 and the mad, and in order for this danger to have any potency, we need a fairly hostile conception of the natural world. How, then, are environmental ethics involved in imagining and representing madness? Specifically, what are the relations between ecophobia and the imagining of madness? In order to understand how ecophobia works in literary representations of madness, the two key terms—ecophobia and madness—­themselves require definition. Defining ecophobia and its manifestations is the central line of inquiry that this book pursues.7 Defining madness has a much longer history. Both within literature and in the nonfictional world of philosophers, psychologists, psychiatrists, criminologists, politicians, lawyers, laypeople, and countless others, the term “madness” has been a constant challenge. Shakespeare’s Polonius glibly sums it up thus: “to define true madness, what is’t but to be nothing else but mad” (Hamlet 2.2.95–96). Or, as Carol Thomas Neely has memorably explained, “The final difficulty of reading madness…is that in the act of doing so, one dissociates oneself from it or associates oneself with it, and in either case becomes disqualified as an interpreter. To read madness sanely is to miss the point; to read madness madly is to have one’s point be missed” (316). Indeed, there are a multitude of important questions regarding both real and literary madness. The concern of this chapter is with the latter. Addressing the topic of madness within the period of Shakespeare, literary critic Duncan Salkeld has asked, Can the madness of the past be interpreted in present-day categories of insanity? Should the concepts of real and literary madness be distinguished? Does madness make sense, and if so, what does it mean? And anyway, do the wild and whirling words flung out of centuries of confinement in dark places really ­matter? (8)8

Madness and Ecophobia  125 Virtually any scholar who has researched literary madness has asked similar questions. These questions raise important issues for the discussion of madness and environment. Lillian Feder reminds us that there is an “intrinsic distortion of experience…[in] imaginative transformations of observations of madness, as in much poetry, fiction, and drama.” These representations of madness, she continues, “are consciously ordered versions” (7—emphasis added) of madness. We are—and we must remember this—not seeing madness at all; we are always seeing a representation of madness in literature.9 Like cannibalism or extraordinary physical deformity, madness is othering, and, historically, literary representations of difference have dovetailed with representations of madness. Writing literary madness often means taking a clear ethical stand toward the natural environment, a stand that is often—perhaps invariably—an ecophobic one. Imagined outside of the boundaries defining humanity, the mad are not entitled to the same ethical considerations as humanity, and until the circle of ethical inclusion expands, and as long as the mad are imagined as a part of nature, the mad will always be exempted from the rights that humanity enjoys. Among these are agency and, importantly, the expression of agency through voice. Assigning the label of madness implies silencing.10 Silence, of course, has many voices, many purposes, and many effects: sometimes, it is an ideal; at other times, it is an enigmatic horror; many times, it is imposed; sometimes, it is chosen freely—but it almost always says something about otherness. What is particularly interesting about the construction of literary madness is that it gives voice to fictional mad characters. Catherine Belsey looks at silence in terms of subject positions in early modern English literature and argues that the “right to speak [is the right] to subjectivity, to a position from which to protest” (171). Belsey’s argument is compelling: “to speak,” she claims, “is to possess meaning, to have access to the language which defines, delimits and locates power” (191). The voice of the mad is threatening, unauthorized—hence, the silencing.11 The literary mad are authored, of course, but the tacit assumption writer and reader accept is that the voice of the mad is unauthorized. The voice of the mad and the agency of nature are coterminous, each unpredictable, each provoking responses of aggressive containment. Ecophobia seeks containment of nature’s agency, and language is one means of achieving this containment. No less is language an instrument of control of the psychiatric other. To reduce madness either to silence or cacophony is a mistake. Madness indeed is a lot more storied and complicated than someone such as Jacques Derrida allows. Derrida seems to argue that language is reason and that madness (the absence of reason) is necessarily outside of language: “madness is indeed, essentially and generally, silence, stifled speech” (54). The essence of madness here is silence. But this cannot be the case: both in fiction and in nonfiction, madness manifests itself

126  Madness and Ecophobia not only in silence but in voice.12 The essence of madness cannot be silence, and to say that madness cannot be represented is nonsense and flies in the face of the millennia of representations of literary madness. Yet ­M ichel Foucault’s position does not seem viable either. As Shoshana Felman explains Foucault, literature ultimately presents the “authentic voice of madness” (“Foucault” 48). Obviously, however, this doesn’t work; clearly, fiction is the product of artists who seek not to faithfully and authentically represent social issues but to entertain and to sell their stories, perhaps only a small fraction of fiction seeking mimetic realism.13 The mad are radically Other. Andrew Scull argues in Museums of Madness that “in seventeenth- and eighteenth century practice, the madman in confinement was treated no better than a beast; for that was precisely what, according to the prevailing paradigm of insanity, he was” (64),14 and there are abundant examples supporting the general view linking the mad with the bestial. Many theorists have commented on this. Keith Thomas notes that “most beastlike of all were those on the margins of human society,” and he puts at the top of the list of marginalized people “the mad, who seemed to have been taken over by the wild beast within” (44). Michael MacDonald, in Mystical Bedlam, observes that the mentally ill were thought to have become “reduced… to the level of dumb beasts” and that “the proverbial comparison of madmen and wild animals” expressed a notion “that was redolent with scientific, religious, and moral implications” (179). Michel Foucault claims that “madness borrowed its face from the mask of the beast” (72). In The Duchess of Malfi, the Doctor defines Ferdinand’s affliction in the final act as a sort of psychological bestialization, “lycanthropia,” where the sufferers are “transformed into wolves” (5.2.10) and go about howling and digging up corpses in graveyards. The doctor’s definition is borrowed from Simon Goulart’s Admirable and Memorable Histories Containing the Wonders of Our Time (386–87). The essential speciesist horror here is with the transgression “backward” from human to nonhuman animal.15 The early modern stage is teeming with references to Bedlam, Bedlamites, and Tom O’Bedlams, but, as Patricia Allderidge comments in a persuasive discussion about the fictionalized accounts of Bethlem Hospital, “the best-known facts about Bethlem will stand up to very little examination” (24). In particular, Allderidge is concerned with correcting commonly held misconceptions about treatment in Bethlem. One conclusion she makes is that although there was inhumane treatment of the mentally afflicted, standard procedure at the hospital was not brutality, and “at least some of the inhumane treatment stemmed as much from the total inadequacy of everyone concerned when faced with the very real fact of violent and dangerous patients, as from any deeply held belief in the nature of insanity or the animality of the insane” (27—emphasis

Madness and Ecophobia  127 added). The important point for us here is that ecophobic attitudes toward animals determine how the mad are legislated and cared for. The early modern period is pivotal in the history of madness. Sources of early modern theoretical clinical commentary about madness are abundant,16 and they show strong relationships between representations of madness and issues about sexuality, race, bestiality, ethnicity, and gender. If there is one thing in a character such as Macbeth, for instance, above all else that is singularly emasculating, something that unmans him, it is madness. Madness and a muscular heterosexual manhood are largely incompatible with each other in the early modern period. ­Macbeth is “quite unmanned” (Macbeth 3.4.73) by folly and, though he may complain that his mind is “full of scorpions” (3.2.36), he will always step up when asked, “Are you a man” (3.4.57). Real men are not mad; emasculated men often are. It is in the matters of witchcraft and hysteria, however, that the gendered valences of madness are most clear. Edward Jorden delineates his clinical theory in A Briefe Discourse of a Disease Called the Suffocation of the Mother (1603), where he attempts to distinguish between bewitchment and hysteria. He cites two main causes of the disease: internal and external. The “internall causes may be anything contained within the bodie, as spirit, blood, humors, excrements, & c” (F3[V]). Jorden identifies the primary external causes as “meate and drinke” (G2[R]). Whatever the imagined causes for this imagined madness, gender is the sine qua non of deformity in these discourses about hysteria and witchcraft. Such deformity is an environmental issue not only because of the sexist association of women (as a general category) with the natural world but also because of the many links imagined specifically between witches and the natural environment.17 The renowned psychiatrist Thomas Szasz argues that not only is “the concept of mental illness… analogous to that of witchcraft” (xix) but that “in the past, men created witches; now they create mental patients” (xx). Yet this seems reductive and simplistic. Szasz conflates causes and effects, and this seems a mistake, since the doctors of the time (Richard Napier,18 Timothy Bright, and Edward Jorden, for instance) consulted with and kept scrupulous records of patients complaining of disorders of the mind (see also MacDonald Mystical Bedlam 233–51). Witches were no more present in the early modern period than today; but there were and are real people who are really mentally disabled. It is a mistake to imply that such disability in the early modern period is a myth. Nevertheless, many in the early modern period believed in witches, who, as Belsey explains, “were women who broke silence and found an unauthorized voice, but the social body required that they paid a high price for the privilege of being heard” (191). Their unauthorized speech in ­M acbeth is “imperfect” (1.3.70). Witches “were assumed to interfere with elements and the climate to achieve especially hurtful or unseasonable reversals”

128  Madness and Ecophobia (Clark “Inversion,” 120), as we can certainly see with the atmospheric chaos and riddling language at the start of the play. Hysteria, too, is a part of the early modern family of madness. Generally defined in early modern England “as a disease caused by the woman’s uterus which floats about her body attacking her… usually [signifying] some aberration in the woman’s sexual constitution” (­Little 20)— a psychophysical deformity, in other words—hysteria is on par with witchcraft, and, in fact, “the symptoms of be- witchment and hysteria are identical” (Neely 320). Witches and the mad alike promise a disruption of order, a threat to and confusion of the very boundaries that define the human.19 We see such confusion, for instance, in the transient corporeality of the witches as they melt into the air, “as breath into wind” (1.3.82) in Macbeth. These witches, who “look not like th’ inhabitants o’th’ earth” (1.3.41), are, Peter Stallybrass observes, “connected with disorder in nature (not only thunder and lightning but also ‘fog and filthy air’)” (195). They are also associated with the undecidable meteorological conditions of “so foul and fair a day” (1.3.38), the likes of which Macbeth has never seen. Further distancing them from proper natural human form was the belief that witches could control the weather, an unnatural (indeed, supernatural) power possessed by unnaturally powerful people (among them, Prospero). Macbeth’s witches challenge the boundaries of the human through their associations with nature, but their gender-bending also constitutes a deformity from the essentialized notion of Woman: they have beards. As Banquo complains to them, “You should be women, / And yet your beards forbid me to interpret / That you are so” (1.3.45–47). This is fertile (and gendered) ground for ecophobia. Fear of nature imagined to have gone awry is as common today as ever. What are understood as deformities and monstrosities alter the genetic course of organisms, are perversions that are fearsome precisely because they are unpredictable. To what degree a fear of mutations in nature promoted human survival is an open question for which, in the fullness of time, there will surely be empirical data, but, for now, the powerful associations of madness with nature imagined to have gone awry and our persistent ambivalent fascination with mental disability speak loudly to the ecophobia hypothesis. The reality, past and present, is that identity, whether imposed or assumed, is deeply indebted to not only social context but to environmental context. Indeed, madness is a slippery term, but whatever it is taken to signify is being reconstituted in the Renaissance. Lawrence Babb claims that “the vogue of melancholy began to make its mark upon English literature about midway in the reign of Elizabeth” (73). Carol Thomas Neely reminds us that “[i]t has long been recognized that ­England in the period from 1580 to 1640 was fascinated with madness” (316) and insists that madness “must be defined and read from within some framework; its definitions and therapies are always constructed

Madness and Ecophobia  129 from a particular historical moment and within a particular social order, influenced by and influencing that order” (ibid). In the early modern period, there were many terms in circulation describing madness. The early moderns were prolific on this matter. Discourses of madness form a foundational base on which much S­ hakespearean exoticism and otherness is grounded. Robert Burton, in his exhaustive work entitled The Anatomy of Melancholy published in 1621, maintains that “folly, melancholy, madness are but one disease” (39) and “that they differ only in quantity alone, the one being a degree to the other, and both proceeding from one cause” (140). The reigning philosophy at the time regarding madness was deeply committed to Galen and to theories about the four humors: blood, yellow bile, black bile (melancholy), and phlegm. These were linked, as the theory went, with elements of nature—the four elements of air, fire, Earth, and water, respectively, and with the seasons spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Imbalances among these humors signified mental issues. Gail Kern Paster has observed that “humoral change is itself brought about by the continual and reciprocal interaction of body, mind, culture and the environment” (50). There seem, therefore, compelling reasons from the early modern period to look at the social construction of madness from a perspective that allows discussion about environmental ethics and ecophobia. One of the central myths associated with madness in the early modern period is that of the Wild Man. Hayden White explains that From biblical times to the present, the notion of the Wild Man was associated with the idea of the wilderness—the desert, forest, jungle, and mountains—those parts of the physical world that had not yet been domesticated or marked out for domestication in any significant way. As one after another of these wildernesses was brought under control, the idea of the Wild Man was progressively despatialized. This despatialization was attended by a compensatory process of interiorization. (7) The Wild Man threatens chaos. He represents, to use Yi-Fu Tuan’s words, “fear of the imminent collapse of [the] world and the approach of death—that final surrender of integrity to chaos…a sense of personalized evil, the feeling that the hostile force, whatever its specific manifestation, possesses will” (7). Tuan is describing fear of landscapes, but his words aptly gloss White’s comments on the Wild Man, a figure embedded within spaces of otherness that evoke strong ecophobic responses. Lillian Feder notes that “the prototypical madman or woman is analogous to the wild man, an imaginary being who occurs in various forms throughout Western literature and art” (ibid). Citing Richard Bernheimer’s masterful Wild Men in the Middle Ages, Feder implicitly

130  Madness and Ecophobia reveals how entangled environmental ethics are with the very processes of writing or imagining madness: The notion of the wild man must respond and be due to a persistent psychological urge. We may define this urge as the need to give external expression and symbolically valid form to the impulses of reckless physical self-assertion which are hidden in all of us, but which are normally kept under control. (Bernheimer, as cited by Feder 3) To some degree this relies on the distinction in the early modern period between the natural and the civilized person, the former incapable of reason and intelligence, though pure; the latter, though jaded, being sophisticated and intelligent, with all of the capacities for reason and logic. White also notes that the unmasking of such myths as the Wild Man has not always been followed by the banishment of their component concept but rather has been followed by their interiorization. For the dissolution by scientific knowledge of the ignorance which led earlier men to locate their imagined wild men in specific times and places does not necessarily touch the levels of psychic anxiety where such images have their origins. (6) The associations in the popular imagination of monstrosity with madness in the early modern period is a telling signal of how fears about madness represent a larger concern about the intrusion of the undomesticated natural world into the controlled spaces of human civilization. Keith Thomas argues that “one of the reasons that monstrous births caused such horror was that they threatened the firm dividing-line between men and animals” (39). Madness, of course, is one of the most commonly depicted deformities about which the literature of the time expresses vigorous pruning and reformation efforts. Madness, though, also represented through metaphors of monstrosity and as frequently described as being manifest in discursive or material action, is understood more in ontological than necessarily behavioral terms, as a state of being that reveals itself in outward signs, often behavioral but always material—either as deformity or action. The body onto which madness is written as material deformity is gendered, sexualized, classed, and raced. The deforming of this norm tacitly accepts and employs an ecophobic ethic that needs to be addressed if we are to understand how environmentalism, far from being removed “from a politics of personal liberation and empowerment” (Kerridge 6), 20 has a vital role to play in liberation movements. In other words, because discourses of monstrosity and madness so often use images of the natural world as a part of their processes, it seems very

Madness and Ecophobia  131 necessary to deconstruct and seek understandings of the implied violence of bestializing metaphors, of pollution metaphors, and of explicitly dehumanizing depictions of deformity. The belief that insanity is a form of bestiality begins with French physician André du Laurens, who lived from 1558 to 1609 (roughly Elizabeth I’s reign, which ran from 1558 to 1603). Du Laurens’s belief was not metaphorical, and for him, the mad were animals: Contemple les actions d’un phrénetique, ou d’un maniaque, tu n’y trouveras rien de l’homme; il mord, il hurle, il mugle une voix sauvage; roule les yeux ardens, herisse ses cheveux, se precipite partout, et bien souvent se tue. Regarde comme un melancholique se laisse parfois tellement abaisser, qu’il se rend compagnon des bêtes, et n’aime que les lieux solitaires. (du Laurens 110R)21 The mad here not only act like animals with fiery eyes, savage sounds, biting, incoherence, and detachment from civil society; they are companions of beasts. In a discussion about madness in literature, Allen Thiher observes that “metamorphosis of the mad into animals prepared the way for some two centuries of extraordinarily harsh treatment of the insane at the hands of captors who had medical license to treat the incarcerated as if they were chattel” (76). Discourses of monstrosity and madness dehumanize, defile, and deform, and in producing people who fall outside the community of “the human,” these discourses often also stand against heterogeneity and diversity—of various kinds. In order to function as a prescriptive warning, the discourse of madness relies on an ecophobic frame that positions animals and diversity as threats to civilized order. The topic of monstrosity alone deserves the attention of more fulllength monographs. Indeed, there remain enormous amounts of material that can be discussed about madness when approaching it through ecocriticism. For instance, the whole question about nocturnal behavior springs to mind. Literary madman par excellence, King Lear experiences his breakdown at night.22 Night has never received a fair shake in discussions about madness or in ecocriticism generally. Keith Thomas maintains that “it was bestial to work at night” (39) in early modern England, and we might note that the othering of nocturnicity is still an issue, since the business world is geared to people who live diurnally. Nocturnal people have fewer entertainment opportunities, their shopping choices are limited to expensive convenience stores, their jobs tend to be undesirable, and so on. Moreover, the cultural representations of villainy seem in many ways to be associated with night: the Batman movies occur almost entirely at night (and we might note that the eponymous hero is a bestial hybrid—half human, half bat—ideally suited to fight the bestial crimes of the seemingly always dark Gotham City),

132  Madness and Ecophobia Christian mythology never mentions a nighttime in heaven, ghosts and vampires don’t come up with the sun, and so on. Loving the day but hating the night means taking ecophobic issue with the natural cycles of the Earth. Fear of darkness (though no doubt rooted in evolutionary necessities) is at its core ecophobic in literature, and associating villains and madmen with night says as much about environmental ethics as it does about all of those other things (medical, cultural, political, religious, and psychological assumptions) that go into making literary mad people. 23 The early modern period was pivotal in much that would happen in the years to come with madness. There is no question that, as Lillian Feder has shown, “literary interpretations of madness both reflect and question medical, cultural, political, religious, and psychological assumptions of their time” (4), but it is necessary to expand the discussion of madness to include environmental ethics, to how and why conceptions about nature feed into constructions of madness, literary or other. Representations of madness in the early modern period say a lot about general feelings toward the natural world, what we might characterize as the early modern environmental imagination. Indeed, the early modern environmental imagination is so often wound up with representations of madness that it becomes virtually impossible to discuss literary madness meaningfully outside of an ecocritical perspective, one that takes into account the idea that environmental ethics dynamically connects with a wide spectrum of human values, biases, and presuppositions. Whether we are talking about Othello as he “breaks out to savage madness,” Ophelia, “a document in madness” (Hamlet 4.5.176), or just plain old crazy King Lear, we get a more complete picture when looking from an expanded ethical sphere than not. From so doing, one thing that quickly becomes apparent in the early modern period is that the representation of the mad other is essentially ecophobic, implying a generalized environmental loathing that in diverse ways carefully police the limits of the human.

Notes 1 This idea is reminiscent of the early modern notion about demoniacal possession. As Edgar Allison Peers explains, it was an experience both of the body and the mind: “It was made to account not only for mental disease but for all kinds of physical deformations and imperfections, whether occurring alone, or, as is often the case, accompanying idiocy” (8). The notion of more-than-human involvement within the human also registers in Carol Thomas Neely’s discussions about madness as marking “the intersection of the human and the transcendent” (317). 2 All references to Shakespeare’s plays are from the 1997 Riverside edition. See Shakespeare, Works Cited. 3 I am grateful to Sophie Christman for the ideas (and most of the wording) in this sentence. 4 A character is a character, an invention of someone’s imagination. As the late Alfred Liede of Heidelberg University emphatically put it, “Mental illness cannot be an issue for literary study—it doesn’t lead anywhere” (de

Madness and Ecophobia  133 Beaugrande 17). A psychopathic character cannot punch you, but a real one can. A mad character is what its author makes it; a real one is a less absolute, subject to conflicting discourses and definitions with results that are, in turn, subject to the different disciplinary discourses and institutions of the time. Both, however, are imagined within a framework that utilizes notions of a hostile nature, a foil against which the human comes into focus. 5 Madness is all about the extreme limits of humanity. These limits are constantly being tried, extremes tested. The 21st century has been defined by what seem obsessions with extremes of many kinds. We hear daily of extreme weather events. We began the century with fears of computer shutdowns and mass chaos which would, we were warned, come at midnight of December 31, 1999—the issue variously known as the Millennium Bug, the Y2K Bug, the Y2K Problem, and merely Y2K. It didn’t happen, but the terror was real. The following year, the extraordinary events of September 11 shocked the world. We entertain ourselves with “extreme sports” (BASE jumping, wingsuiting, and mixed martial arts are perhaps the most famous of these). The graphic gore in the American CSI television programs and The Walking Dead have reached new levels of verisimilitude and extremity. No less are our psychological limits being pushed to the extreme by Daish, who broadcast beheadings and other atrocities. All of this at time when we are heavily bombarded on all sides by information to such an extent that, as I mentioned in Chapter 3 (referencing former Apple and Microsoft executive Linda Stone), some people think we are in a constant state of partial attention, that we are no longer able to focus effectively and are capable only of partial attention. Yet extremity is nothing new to our species; it is, in fact, what defines us. We are all about pushing the limits. One of the limits that defines and fascinates humanity has to do with mental functioning. 6 As I explained in Ecocriticism and Shakespeare, monsters “present the horrifying aspect of an agential nature that helps codify and organize rituals of scapegoating on the one hand and the parameters of exploitation on the other, while at the same time feeding a felt hunger for wonder” (68). 7 Although people all through recorded history have done and thought things that were ecophobic, the term is a neologism, and no one in Shakespeare’s day, for instance, was struggling with the term. Not so with the term madness. 8 Branimir M. Reiger similarly asks, “What is meant by ‘Madness in Literature?’ How can this thematic phrase aid in the understanding of literature? Does it refer to the writer, the abnormal behavior of the characters or some nexus? Does it refer to the writings of madmen or the actions of mad protagonists” (1). 9 Michel Foucault explains that between word and image…unity begins to dissolve; a single and identical meaning is not immediately common to them. And if it is true that the image still has the function of speaking, of transmitting something consubstantial with language, we must recognize that it already no longer says the same thing; and that…[it] engages in an experiment that will take it farther and farther from language, whatever the superficial identity of the theme. Figure and speech still illustrate the same fable of folly in the same moral world, but already they take two different directions, indicating, in a still barely perceptible scission, what will be the great line of cleavage in the Western experience of madness. (18) True too of the distance between the mad on stage and the unsettling patient staring at you out of the barred window of a mental facility.

134  Madness and Ecophobia 10 Again, Foucault has important insights on this topic: In the serene world of mental illness, modern man no longer communicates with the madman. There is no common language: or rather, it no longer exists; the constitution of madness as mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, bears witness to a rupture in a dialogue, gives the separation as already enacted, and expels from the memory all those imperfect words, of no fixed syntax, spoken falteringly, in which the exchange between madness and reason was carried out. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue by reason about madness, could only have come into existence in such a silence. (x–xii) 11 Silencing the mad looks awfully similar to humanity’s quashing of nature’s agency. 12 Duncan Salkeld summarizes Derrida nicely: “The upshot of Derrida’s remarks is that there is no madness in Shakespearean or Renaissance Drama. Nor, indeed, in any literature. All writing (and, therefore, speech) is inscribed with the logos of Western ‘Reason in general’ and necessarily excludes madness itself from its discourse” (40). And that would be absurd if true. 13 Admittedly, as Felman has argued, “to ‘speak in the name of,’ to ‘speak for,’ could thus mean…to appropriate and to silence” (“Women and Madness” 4). In passing, we might note also that this is a point that could as easily be made about writing the environment. 14 The negative connotation of “beast” here is an enduring example of ecophobia, reflected in such contemporary examples as Mr. Trump stating that the Syrian President “Assad is an animal” (see McKernan), or in comparisons of people to monkeys, dogs, rats, snakes, pigs, maggots, and so on. Some comparisons can, to be sure, be ennobling (being called eagle-eyed, a stud, wise as an owl, or lion-hearted), but these are personifications and false characterizations of the animals. Moreover, there are important intersections of racial and gender lines here with ecophobia. Of the many offensive animal comparisons men make of women (bitch, cow, sow, bunny, pussy, catty, chick, crow, dog, mare, shrew, vixen, and so on), there are few equivalents for men, and terms such as “stud” tend to be racialized (it is the black stud rather than the white or Asian). Ecophobia is deeply involved with sexism and racism. 15 Defining human subjectivity in opposition to the nonhuman has material and legal implications, with important consequences for social relations. Cary Wolfe has looked at these material and legal implications in Before the Law and explains that “as long as the automatic exclusion of animals from standing remains intact simply because of their species, such a dehumanization by means of the discursive mechanism of ‘dehumanization’ will be readily available for deployment against whatever body happens to fall outside the enthnocentric ‘we’” (21, emphases in original). On the legal side, Kevin Curran asks, “What are we to make of the many moments like […] in Shakespeare’s work when matters of law—property, obligation, crime, judgment—underwrite ideas about the nature of the self? What do we learn about Shakespeare’s thinking on selfhood if we consider the topic from a legal perspective?” (3). Early modern policing of the borders of the human depends on an anti-animal, anti-nature ethics that is at its core ecophobic (as well as sexist and racist). 16 Some other sources include Philip Barrough’s The Method of Phisick, Conteining the Causes, Signes, and Cures of Inward Diseases (1590), Timothy

Madness and Ecophobia  135

17 18 19 20




Bright’s A Treatise of Melancholie (1586), F.N. Coeffeteau’s A Table of Humane Passions, With Their Causes and Effects (1621), André Du Laurens’s A Discourse of the Preservation of the Sight: of Melancholike Diseases; of Rheumes, and of Old Age (1599), Tamaso Garzoni’s The Hospitall of Incurable Fooles (1600), and Thomas Wright’s The Passions of the Minde (1601). This paragraph appears in slightly different form in my Ecocriticism and Shakespeare 102. See Kassell, Hawkins, Ralley, and Young. This is a category defined, inhabited, and policed by men. Witches and the mad are not men. Social constructions of madness in early modern England, therefore, are at core sexist. Sexism and ecophobia are joined at the hip. Richard Kerridge argues persuasively that “environmentalism has a political weakness in comparison with feminism: it is much harder for environmentalists to make the connection between global threats and individual lives. Green politics cannot easily be, like feminism, a politics of personal liberation and empowerment” (6). Kerridge is not arguing that such connections are absent but only that people may often fail to see them. “Think about the actions of a frenetic [person], or of a maniac; you will find nothing of the [hu]man; he bites, be screams, he hollers in a savage voice, he rolls his fiery eyes, his hair is dishevelled, this precipitates everything, and very often he dies. Regard how the melancholic leaves himself so completely that he is rendered a companion of beasts [because] he does not like solitude.” [translated by Simon Estok and Sophie Christman]. Linda Woodbridge has argued that his madness is itself curative and redemptive and that he “learns more in one night of madness than he had learned in eighty years of sanity” (304) and that he is, to some extent, redeemed through his night of chaos. This paragraph appears in slightly different form in my Ecocriticism and Shakespeare 118.

7 The Ecophobic Unconscious Indifference to Waste and Junk Agency

The ecophobic unconscious creates waste and is characterized by overconsumption, conspicuous consumption, and needless consumption; by appetites gone mad; by individualism unchecked; by being absorbed in the present (with only the faintest attention to its relation to the future); and, more ominously, by being victim to processes and agents that we ourselves have activated. Moreover, this ecophobic unconscious is characterized by a kind of indifference to the harmful use of things such as toxic plastics and a paralysis to stop such usage: it is a slave relationship to generating ever-growing and ever-diversifying products (including waste products) characterized by a perverse belief in the capacity of science to solve the problems. The ecophobic unconscious is a dangerously human maladaptive behavioral condition that promotes Anthropocene waste, and it is characterized by appetites we consciously choose not to control and by the agencies we thought were relegated to the trash heap and therefore gone. Everyone has probably imagined at some point the Wall-E world, the Blue Earth gone very bad, polluted beyond recovery. When I was in Grade Two, the Five Man Electrical Band had a song called “I’m a Stranger Here” (1972) about people coming to Earth from outer space and wondering what madness could have possessed us to make such a mess of things. The song is structured as a dialogue between earthlings bragging about their achievements and the space people wondering about the apparent contradictions. The earthlings explain, We got the aero plane, we got the automobile We got sky scraper buildings made of glass and steel We’ve got synthetic food that nearly tastes real And a little white pill that makes you feel A whole lot better when you get out of bed You take one in the morning for the long day ahead We got everything everybody needs to survive Surely the good life has arrived.

The Ecophobic Unconscious  137 The space people respond, I think your atmosphere is hurting my eyes And your concrete mountains are blacking out the skies Now I don’t say that you’ve been telling me lies But why do I hear those children’s cries? …You know you can’t keep what you take by force But it’s only my first impression of course. The song continues with the earthlings bragging, “We got the rivers and the mountains and the valleys and the trees/ We got the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea/ We got the –/” only to be suddenly interrupted by the flabbergasted aliens, chiding, “Oh you crazy fools! Don’t you know you had it made?/ You were living in paradise/ … I only pray that you take my advice/ Because Paradise won’t come twice.”1 Forty-two years later, I’m wondering that same thing that those 70s rockers wondered: just how crazy would our planet look to a saner set of eyes? Exactly what is this world we’ve created, this Anthropocene? One thing is certain: the ecophobic unconscious is all about waste.2 No waste, no Anthropocene. No plastic in the oceans, no accumulations of radioactive isotopes, or of carbon, or of chlorine, would reduce the kind and degree of climate change problems we face today. Collective humanity has a pollution problem. Other species pollute, to be sure (as I discuss below), but they do it without the kind of awareness and certainly not on the same tragic3 scale that we do. Our view of nature and of garbage have long occupied a similar ethical space. To say this is not to imply that our ecophobia is the only way in which we relate to the world, a point I made in Chapter 2; rather, it is to understand that there is also an agency in nature that we sometimes very sincerely fear, an agency to which we are also sometimes utterly indifferent. Understanding how fear of nature’s agency becomes manifested in the uniquely human condition of ecophobia offers a way forward from our current climate moment. When there is a lion running toward me at full tilt, I will most certainly run away. As I mentioned in the Introduction and Chapter 1, certain fears have ensured our survival. Certain fears are embedded in our genes; others perhaps are not. Certainly, fear of dirt and filth has kept us safe, but the compulsive hand-sanitizing that we see today? The ecophobia hypothesis builds on the position within evolutionary psychology that while some stimuli represent real threats to survival, others are simply imagined. The fight or flight response to the latter is ecophobia.4 My concern in this chapter focuses on the way that garbage and environment have become fused in our thinking. When Susan Signe Morrison explains in The Literature of Waste: Material Ecopoetics and Ethical Matter5 that “garbage and nature are both feared owing to their

138  The Ecophobic Unconscious controllable and uncanny powers, [and that they] need to be put into place” (25), fashioned in a way that obliterates their agentic capacities and the material implications of those capacities, we can immediately recognize that the fear of garbage is a fear of its nonhuman (indeed, potentially human-threatening) agency—the core of ecophobia. It is precisely this fear of the agency of the natural, a horror at the agential forces in the unwanted, that makes us shudder at the capacities of the filth our own bodies produce, as Morrison explains. The agencies of garbage and of the perceived natural world are worrying: the late Patricia Yaeger explains in an oft-cited PMLA “Editor’s Column” entitled “The Death of Nature and the Apotheosis of Trash; or, Rubbish Ecology” that “trash becomes nature, and nature becomes trash” (332). In a short but comprehensive discussion of waste, Brian Thill describes how “our relationships to waste of all kinds… seem to depend on a fantasy of power, a belief that all humankind shall have dominion over all things, including its own detritus; a steadfast faith in the idea that we will be the carriers of meaning” (62). The reality, however, as Thill insightfully observes, is that far from having dominion over waste, we are subject to the vagaries, often unforeseen and unpredictable, of the things we want to be rid of. One of the earliest scholars to speak meaningfully on dirt was Mary Douglas. In her monumental Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, Douglas contends that There is no such thing as absolute dirt: it exists in the eye of the beholder. If we shun dirt, it is not because of craven fear, still less dread or holy terror. Nor do our ideas about disease account for the range of our behaviour in cleaning or avoiding dirt. Dirt offends against order. Eliminating it is not a negative movement, but a positive effort to organize the environment. (12) It is this ordering and erasure of the potential agency of dirt that, in its most frenetic and obsessive manifestations (hand sanitizers everywhere, contempt for natural bodily odors), points toward a radical fear of nature. Dirt is dangerous, with a potential agency that threatens our own, indeed our very existence, and it is the association of agential dirt with agential nature that is the threat. Indeed, as Véronique Bragard shows, “humans are defined by what they reject” (“Introduction” 460). This echoes a point Zygmunt Bauman makes in Wasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts, in which he argues that “[w]e dispose of leftovers in the most radical and effective way: we make them invisible by not looking and unthinkable by not thinking” (27), and that our life is defined precisely by our ability to remove garbage: “the survival of the modern form of life… depends on the dexterity and proficiency of garbage removal” (ibid). Dirt—perhaps more precisely, the disorder and ecophobia it promises—is dangerous. It is important, however, to be careful not to conflate (as I have been doing here) the concepts of “dirt” and “waste,” though there is obviously

The Ecophobic Unconscious  139 overlap between what they cover. Indeed, some of the work in the area of what Heather Sullivan proposes as “dirt theory” (515) is very useful in appreciating how we conceptualize and understand waste. For instance, Sullivan’s echo of Douglas about how humanity shuns dirt and waste is an important one: Modernity’s many anti-dirt campaigns include efforts made to remove or conceal bodily filth, waste, and the sweaty labor of agricultural processes. Overall, the more sanitary conditions have been profoundly healthy for human beings (if not for many environments more broadly), though some aspects have led to unintended and not always positive consequences. (526) Sullivan goes on to note that one of these unintended and not always positive consequences is the tendency to imagine that there is an “away” to which waste may be sent where it may be assumed to safely and passively remain. I want to argue here that the imagination of awayness and invisibility signifies a core element of ecophobia: indifference. What makes it so is not simply the disregard toward the ethical rights of nature to continue unimpinged with its own agencies and processes, a disregard that finds full material expression when we use the natural environment as a dumpsite, a disregard that presumes a metaphorical association of garbage with nature; it is also the utilitarian notion of disposability that we attach to nature when we dump in it, a notion seething with the will to power, with fantasies about control, and with delusions of exceptionalism, each of which is challenged by garbage. Our anxieties about the manifold agencies of garbage register strongly in contemporary media. In much of these media representations about the spectacle of our current waste problems, Brian Thill notes, “what is meant to be most alarming to the viewer is the colonization of living space by the overwhelming force of accumulated garbage” (110). It is alarming because the agency of garbage is both unpredictable and unwanted, offering what Serenella Iovino poignantly describes as an “unsolicited lesson” (“Naples” 341). Stacy Alaimo’s description of the agency of garbage is particularly useful here: “There is something uncanny about ordinary human objects becoming the stuff of horror and destruction; these effects are magnified by the strange jumbling of scale in which a tiny bit of plastic can wreak havoc on the ecologies of the vast seas” (Exposed 130). Unpredictable and uncontrolled nonhuman agency is troubling. The ecophobic loathes the unpredictable. In its return of the unwanted, waste, Iovino has noted, offers “the other side of our presence in the world, our absence made visible” (“Naples” 340). Keenly alert to the onto-ecological foundations of waste, Iovino insightfully observes that “waste is nature’s indifference toward human civilization. In that it brings the products of culture back to their

140  The Ecophobic Unconscious biological origin, waste is a nonhuman mirror of the human. By showing the circular and continuous emerging of the nonhuman from what was once human, waste gives us an unsolicited lesson in humility” (341). Rivers of refuse, oceans filled with plastic,6 swollen and leeching landfills, toxic geographies of electronic waste (e-waste) in Africa and China,7 radioactive waste, food waste,8 sewage, tailings from tar sands extraction (which involves strip mining enormous swaths of Alberta’s boreal forests), medical garbage, litter: it all adds up. The waste and garbage humanity produces is breathtaking, unfathomable, staggering; moreover, it is far from being passive stuff. It doesn’t just sit there but rather manifests its presence in ways that we now understand as threatening. Toxins kill (Figures 7.1 and 7.2). Garbage is worrying precisely because it manifests the unpredictable and potentially dangerous agency of a thing that we once controlled. Stephanie Foote captures this well: Garbage looks all used up, as though its story has already been fully told. Once used up or discarded, any object—a broken radio, a Popsicle stick, a torn shirt—is just trash. Drained of value, it seems to be at the end of once-complex, once luxuriantly proliferating narratives of pleasure or necessity. (193) Like the natural environments, such as American national parks and the growing sites of global ecotourism, that Western societies imagined as

Figure 7.1  “  Rowing in a river of garbage in Jakarta, Indonesia.” Source: Madan, Planet Custodian breaking-pictures-show-childhood-being-spent-in-garbage.html.

The Ecophobic Unconscious  141

Figure 7.2  A river of garbage in Beirut. Source: Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN

divinely created for their pleasure or necessity but that turn out to have their own agency (unpredictable and potentially dangerous), garbage is that dangerous thing that touches the ecophobic unconsciousness with an agency that we want to keep at a distance from ourselves, thrown away. Waste is taking on a new character in the 21st century, and, Thill notes, waste and its impact have become a popular field for thinking about possible futures, a vehicle through which science fiction tries to work through its ambivalence about our desires to transcend the irreducible messiness of time, space, and mortality, as well as our simultaneous fears of being rendered obsolete in the new technological utopia. (47)9 There is a growing consciousness that the history of relations with trash is not sustainable.10 Waste is thus central to a growing corpus of ecophobic apocalyptic visions that posit the polluted natural world as an angry agent set on destroying humanity. The insistent apocalypticism permeating mainstream media in the 21st century has deep and important implications for how we understand ecophobia. Véronique Bragard argues, for instance, “that the apocalyptic imagination calls for not only a rehabilitated relationship with nature that is threatened by industrial feats, but also a groundbreaking relationship with waste and matter” (“Sparing” 479). It is an important insight, and part of that groundbreaking redefining of our relationship with waste must include an analysis of the increasingly sublime dimensions we imagine with our refuse, which is becoming a thing of art, a

142  The Ecophobic Unconscious thing represented by and representative of humanity. It is the subject of poetry and the backdrop of films. Wall-E, a film set hundreds of years into the postapocalyptic future, has a grotesquely polluted world11 as its setting. Now abandoned to the machines and roaches that continue to clean it up, the Earth is an enormous dump, and the humans (who apparently haven’t addressed the issues that caused this problem) are now morbidly obese and have been evacuated by the megacorporation Buy-N-Large to spaceship arks where they can enjoy lives of pure consumption (spectatorial and culinary). We see quickly that the environment and the problems in it that we have caused function as nothing more than a backdrop to the main story, which is a kind of bizarre boy (Wall-E) meets girl (Eve) love story, robotic and sanitized, and without all of the exchanges of precious bodily fluids. The movie ranked first in Time Magazine’s “Best Movie of the Decade,” but considering its grim apocalypticism, it does nothing to motivate changes in ethical relationships with our natural environment. Nor, in fact, is it really the intent of the film to do so. But it does show two very important things: first, and shockingly, it shows that we are content to sit and watch all of this garbage as entertainment rather than to see it as a serious dystopic trajectory; second, the appeal of Wall-E shows that this kind of thing is acceptable to us in a way that, say, vivisection or coprophagy might not be. Garbage is an acceptable part of the artistic endeavor. Both of these examples reinforce the indifference of ecophobia. In a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion, Christopher Todd Anderson suggests that “garbage exists on the border between the natural and the artificial and, by extension, between human culture and wild nature” (35). The artificial becomes inextricable from the natural: existing on the border, garbage edits the narratives of the natural, and the agency produced evokes ecophobic attention. Anderson seems quite aware of the claims about the inextricability of the natural and the artificial in our thinking, particularly in his discussion of Thich Nhat Hanh. Anderson writes that Hanh has noted the continuity between the pure beauty of a rose and the rot of garbage, for their dichotomy exists “only when we look on the surface. If we look more deeply we will see that in just five or six days, the rose will become part of the garbage […]. The rose and the garbage are equal. The garbage is just as precious as the rose.” (Anderson 36, Hanh 96–97, as cited by Anderson)12 But if for Hanh, garbage and nature are inextricable, for Anderson, they are clearly not fused, and there is what he calls “a fundamental ambiguity” here and a specific point at which “the artificial product becomes part of the natural landscape” (36). Fair enough, and the agency of a tin can in weeds morphing from the status of litter and assimilating into the environment is clearly important (and I’ll explore this agency in detail

The Ecophobic Unconscious  143 below); we also need to consider the place of tin cans and weeds in our thinking.13 They inhabit the same conceptual space, and it is for this reason that we have no qualms at all tossing our junk away. It is why we never gave a thought to space junk until we thought it could come back to us in some destructive way. It is why we never gave a thought to the waste from all of our nuclear tests until we thought it could come back to us in some dangerous way. It is why we never gave a thought to driving all our cars around, flying all our jets, and rumbling along in all of our coal-fired trains until we thought it could all come back to us in some harmful way. Anderson’s work is important because it pushes us to think through “seeming dichotomies” (37), to understand that “various kinds of waste… raise fundamental questions about how we understand ourselves and our place in the natural world” (36). One of the conclusions he reaches is that American literary treatments of garbage (particularly in poems) explore “in often reverential terms how garbage links our species to nature’s ecological cycles” and that works of poetry dealing with garbage and waste portray dumps, compost heaps, and other waste places as sites of self-reflection and as unexpected emblems of spiritual and ecological renewal. For poets seeking redemptive value and spiritual significance in what we normally consider to be repellent, garbage serves as a meeting point of human culture the natural world, and the spiritual realm. (37) Anderson goes on to note, thus, that “garbage poetry maintains certain attitudes associated with… the sublime” (38), that it indeed “shares a kinship with concepts of the sublime developed by aestheticians, artists, and writers in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries” (51). The possibility that dirt is sublime is a particularly maladaptive new twist in our relationship with waste. Patricia Yaeger suggests that “postmodern detritus has unexpectedly taken on the sublimity that was once associated with nature” (327). For Yaeger, one of the results is that an old opposition between nature and culture has been displaced in postmodern art by a preoccupation with trash… If nature once represented the before (creating culture as child, product, or second nature) and if detritus represented the after (that which was marginalized, repressed, or tossed away), these representations have lost their appeal. We are born into a detritus strewn world, and the nature that buffets us is never culture’s opposite. (323) The waste thrown “away” (into the rest of the world, the invisible world we imagine outside of ourselves)—as Anderson, Yaeger, and many others

144  The Ecophobic Unconscious know—fuses with that world it comes to inhabit. Waste is matter and remains matter wherever we think “away” is, and its agency grows, mutates, morphs: it is “a powerful type of matter that mutates, modulates, transforms both humans and their habitat and needs to be studied in its relationality” (Bragard “Introduction” 460). This agency sometimes presents a threat to our survival, but it is the very unpredictability that evokes knee-jerk ecophobia. In its aesthetic condensation of the sublimity of postmodern detritus, poetry provides an ideal lens through which to view the relationship between garbage and ecophobia. Two very different poems, one “Above the Water, Under the Water” by South Korean poet Seungho Choi and the other “Garbage” by American poet A.R. Ammons, offer good relational angles on this matter. In her colossal and encyclopedic Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures, Harvard professor Karen Thornber reads “Above the Water, Under the Water” as an indictment of the blindness of people to what is beneath their very eyes and claims that the poem “shows appreciating the nonhuman as having little to do with protecting it; the text reveals how focus on far away spaces at the expense of those nearby can even enable the destruction of the natural world” (290). This much is accurate, but Thornber relates the ignorance of the tourists about the mess beneath the calm of the lake to her larger thesis about what she calls “eco-ambiguity, the complex, contradictory interactions between people and environments with a significant nonhuman presence” (1). As I discussed in Chapter 1, this is a term that is at best deeply problematical. Even so, Thornber claims that this phenomenon “appears more prevalent in literature from East Asia than other textual corpuses” (3). Choi’s poem, however, reveals something quite different: the dynamic of trash burial and hiding that it exposes and brings to the surface, the agency of waste matter that it reveals, and the popular complacency it critiques do not seem to revel in ambiguity. It is a relatively short but dense poem: “Above the Water, Under the Water” Seungho Choi While the tourists are crossing the tranquil lake divers descend to the bottom of the lake to recover a corpse, and at the bottom a colossal tomb of garbage with a fat belly that’s growing silently, steadily, bigger, inside the muddy water filled with silt in which are kneaded discarded fetuses and larvae and some cats and dogs, the belly of the colossal tomb of garbage that’s getting fatter

The Ecophobic Unconscious  145 because it ate a shoe, broken plastic containers, pieces of vinyl, etc., a tomb that with time swells to a corpse-like body, they see, small, melancholy pond snails, their intestines rotting, poisoned by poison in the wastewater, evidence of civilizations born on the waterfront festering together with all kinds of untreated excrement coming out the rear hole. While the tourists are crossing the tranquil lake headed toward a recreation park drunk on the view of the hotel and mountains surrounding the lake. (Choi 22–23, my translation) 물 위에 물 아래 최 승 호 관광객들이 잔잔한 호수를 건너갈 때 水夫는 시체를 건지러 호수 밑바닥으로 내려가 호수 밑바닥에 소리 없이 점점 불어나는 배때기가 뚱뚱해진 쓰레기들의 엄청난 무덤을, 버려진 태아와 애벌레와 더러는 고양이도 개도 반죽된 개흙투성이 흙탕물 속에 신발짝, 깨진 플라스틱통, 비닐 조각 따위를 먹고 배때기가 뚱뚱해진 쓰레기들의 엄청난 무덤을, 갈수록 시체처럼 몸집이 불어나는 무덤을 본다 폐수의 毒에 중독된 채 창자가 곪아가는 우울한 쇠우렁이를 물가에 발생했던 文明이 처리되지 않은 뒷구멍의 온갖 배설물과 함께 곪아가는 증거를 호수를 둘러싼 호텔과 산들의 경관에 취하면서 유원지를 향해 관광객들이 잔잔한 호수를 건너갈 때 (Choi 22–23) The contempt and fear for waste is unambiguous, as is the ethics of waste disposal that the poem describes. There is nothing ambiguous about the disregard for nature, the indifference about its integrity and rights, and the outright ecophobic contempt for its autonomy and agency (each carefully controlled in the recreation park) that dumping and pollution implies. It is not an ecoambiguous ethics that we observe

146  The Ecophobic Unconscious but rather what is more properly understood as a lack of ethics due to ecophobia. Long before Thornber’s ecoambiguity hypothesis, Korean literature professor Chanje Wu, in his Introduction to a translation of the poem, comments on the proximity of waste that Seungho Choi describes: although the bottom of the lake seems “thrown away” enough, there is no “away”: “the world is not much different,” Wu explains, “from the terrible industrial complex,” and “human civilization is festering in its own poisoned waste-waters and drowning in its own cesspool” (xiii). Proximal relations define the intensity of our ecophobic responses to waste: “it is as if the real dread we feel about our own waste is not its undesirable and ignoble presence, but the creeping fear that its unwanted proximity to us somehow threatens to erase or disturb our very sense of ourselves as discrete bodies” (Thill 29). Being close, waste threatens our sense of integrity; being away, it allows us to make ourselves in our own image, uncorrupted by that matter in which we have lost interest or need. We continue to throw things away in the confident ecophobic fantasy that such actions are even possible, that there is an invisible space of nature that we don’t have to consider, without intrinsic value or rights, but, by now, we should know better. As Véronique Bragard observes, we “harbor fallacious fantasies that [waste] ceases to act on us once it has been swept out of sight” (“Introduction” 460). Timothy Morton vividly explains that there is no “away”: “we know better: instead of the mythical land Away, we know the waste goes” somewhere (Hyperobjects 31). Choi’s poem takes us there. Written in the early years of South Korea’s rapid industrialization, the poem is an early call to arms to resist not simply the mounting garbage problem but to see waste itself as a part of society, a part with powerful agency and material effects. This is a global issue, confined neither to Choi’s Korea or Ammons’s United States. It seems wise, therefore, perhaps to expand Patricia Yaeger’s famous comments in her “Editors Column” in PMLA about how “Americans in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries dwell among sewers and local dumps: the machine graveyards and toxic landfills that plump the heartland” (327). This plumping of the heartland with waste, like the plumping of colossal tomb at the bottom of Choi’s lake, the tomb whose fat belly grows steadily bigger, bespeaks a shift in thinking, evident in both Choi and Ammons: in the works of both, we see the sublimity of which Yaeger and Anderson speak.14 For Ammons, “garbage has to be the poem of our time because/ garbage is spiritual, believable enough/ to get our attention, getting in the way, piling/ up, stinking, turning brooks brownish and/ creamy white” (8). There is no mystery here, no dead thing at the bottom that divers are seeking to exhume from the filthy depths: no indeed. For Ammons, garbage is a sign of hope, of re-making, of the possibilities of language, recombination, and new life. Ammons stresses again and again the importance of words:

The Ecophobic Unconscious  147 a waste of words, a flattened-down, smoothed over mesa of Styrofoam verbiage; since words were introduced here things have gone poorly for the planet: it’s been between words and rivers, surface-mining words and hilltops, cuneiform records in priestly piles; between clay tablets and irrigated fields: papyrus in sheets; vellum in Alexandria; hundreds of temples to type and, now, networks of words intricate as the realities they represent. (74) Words, like garbage, are human products, not to be underestimated. Learned poets have said that Garbage: A Poem is not about garbage but that it is about writing poetry. But this is clearly a view that trivializes both the redemption of garbage that this long poem attempts and the meaning of that redemption within the history out of which the poem grows. This indeed is a poem about garbage and about the importance of redeeming it, reconceptualizing it, of seeing it on the same level that we see one of the most prized accomplishments of human civilization: language itself. Certainly, if one thing has come out of the enormous and growing body of waste scholarship, it is that waste is both productive and dangerous, spent but agential, rejected but inescapable and, most dangerously, all-permeable in our worldings. The intensity of disruptions of order potential in waste is immense. Our very identities rest on what we exclude as “not us,” and, as Barbara Creed has explained, “the body protects itself from bodily waste such as shit, blood, urine and pus by ejecting these things from the body just as it expels food that, for whatever reason, the subject finds loathsome” (Creed 9). Civilization itself is created and preserved through the fantasy that we can keep waste at a distance, dump it in a natural environment that doesn’t touch us, doesn’t intrude on our organizations and codifications and divisions, doesn’t trump our agency, doesn’t trouble our fantasy that we alone have agential dominion. Disrupting our agency means destabilizing our capacities to organize and define our very existence. Codifications and divisions define urbanization and development, and waste is central to these codifications. For Yaeger, the artistic codifications of garbage are important and point toward a new ecology: rubbish ecology. Yaeger asks, “If ecology has been defined as the study of organisms and their environments and has evolved to mean environmental preservation or conservation, then rubbish ecology can be defined as the act of saving and savoring debris” (329). She goes on to explain that

148  The Ecophobic Unconscious While rubbish ecology and the aestheticization of trash may seem counterintuitive (and at times unethical in a world where brownfields and colossal dumps swallow the poor), artists and architects have embraced the globe’s junkyards as their own, often healing them in the process. (335) Indeed, garbage may be sublime, then, but this raises another question: doesn’t the sublime have implications that push in a direction quite opposite to activism, preservation, and conservation? Mark Feldman’s opinion is that “for a rubbish ecology to be effective, in terms of changing attitudes and behaviors, it must avoid the aesthetics of sublimity. The sublime is an aesthetic of vastness and incomprehensibility that fosters feelings of helplessness” (See Feldman, Works Cited). For a number of 18th century philosophers, certainly the sublime evokes more than simply pleasure. For Edmund Burke, the sublime is a source of pain, deprivation, darkness, and solitude. For Kant, the sublime is inextricable from perceptions of risk, peril, and discomfort. Yet these in themselves do not necessarily foster feelings of helplessness. Indeed, evidence seems to run the other way on this matter; humanity has been most productive when faced with vastness and incomprehensibility. Being frightened is not the same as being paralyzed. And of course, the sublime engages with ecophobia (easily the topic of another book in itself), but it also relates importantly with issues about class and race. Anderson speaks of how “to experience the sublime or to contemplate spiritual mysteries in a garbage dump is to downplay one’s knowledge of the dayto-day problems of waste management and environmental degradation” (51). This distance from the day-to-day, this freedom from the mundane and leisure from the urgent is a class and race thing. Tightly entwined with what and where waste is are questions about environmental justice. While mainstream media is fascinated with the apocalyptic environmental aspects of waste, there is a relative dearth of attention to questions about environmental justice in mainstream media (news, filmic, documentary, and so on) about garbage. Anderson believes that literature itself, in fact, is often not concerned with such issues: The environmental justice movement has drawn attention to the social dimensions of environmental problems, but most garbage poems say little about the unavoidable repugnance of garbage in or near one’s home. We should remember that a certain socio-economic privilege is inherent in thinking about garbage in aesthetic and spiritual terms, and poems of sublime garbage form a counterpoint to the way garbage is experienced, for example, by the urban poor. (52)

The Ecophobic Unconscious  149 Yet both Ammons and Choi are concerned in their poems with the disenfranchised, the poor, the oppressed—the victims and recipients of waste. Ammons’s poetic organization of “Garbage” begins with a dedication “to the bacteria, tumblebugs, scavengers, wordsmiths—the transfigurers, restorers” that is truly radical. Not only is he formally recognizing the agency of nonhuman organisms, but he is suggesting an entirely different ethical interpretation on how we are to view the world. Ammons is explicit in his message that we should not underestimate the power and agency of garbage. Wherever it is, it continues to express itself. It continues to haunt us. John Scanlan makes a similar point in his popular On Garbage: This is the fate of all things. Even burning the stuff doesn’t make it go away—it just dissolves it into an atmosphere that sends it back down with the rain. In fact, there is nowhere for our unwanted matter to go unless we export it to the heavens, but even then the debris from space travel falls back to earth eventually (thousands of pieces of it every year). (166) Junk returns. The return of plastic comes to mind. It is all over our oceans, and these oceans feed us—and they feed us what we have fed them. Stacy Alaimo explains that “the state of the oceans is dire” (“­Oceanic” 186) and that a large part of this is the fact that plastic just doesn’t go away. It continues to circulate. It circulates in the sea. It circulates through the food system. We have plastic in our brains. It circulates as matter and as narrative, and, though we like to think that recognizing agency and narrative in matter is a very new materialist thing to do, Ammons was doing it much sooner. His poetry on garbage raises the issue clearly: tissues and holograms of energy circulate in us and seek and find representations of themselves outside us, so that we can participate in celebrations high and know reaches of feeling and sight and thought that penetrate (really penetrate) far, far beyond these wet cells, right on up past our stories, the planets, moons, and other bodies locally to the other end of the pole where matter’s forms diffuse and energy loses all means to express itself except as spirit. (21)

150  The Ecophobic Unconscious We see here clearly the idea of the transcorporeality of matter.15 One of the implications seems obvious, and it is a point that we’ve already seen: there is no away. Material continues to move and act among, across, and through bodies. Throwing stuff away means simply throwing it at other parts of the system, differentially empowered parts. Choi, too, very forcefully reveals sharp power differentials within this system. The “tourists crossing the tranquil lake” (Choi 22, my translation) are entirely unaware of what is beneath them as they move across the lake, supported, as they are, by the deceptively pretty water and by the privilege of affluence and position that allows them to become “intoxicated by the view of the hotels and mountains surrounding the lake” (23, my translation). “While” they are crossing the lake, the poem explains, “divers” are doing their job, and it is a dirty job—the recovery of a corpse. South Korea is a heavily stratified society: the divers and the tourists represent radically different classes.16 In North America (Canada and the United States), class stratification seems but, in fact, is not much different. In South Korea, class stratifications exist on the surface and are clearly delineated in society; in North America, it is perhaps less so—but it is still stratified.17 Brian Thill has discussed “the class snobbery that has always been associated with those who traffic in garbage” (41), showing that such a vocation clearly unveils the fantasy of “away” for what it is, that trafficking in garbage is “the job that places us most squarely back in the filth we would prefer to disavow” (44). John Scanlan, too, seems to assume that the “we” who read books are not the people who deal with garbage: “the development of civilization removes us from encounters with the abject. Instead, we [emphasis added] leave garbage to be dealt with by others” (166).18 When Choi raises the topic of class difference in relation to “a colossal tomb of garbage […] that’s growing silently, steadily, bigger,” he importantly links garbage with environmental justice. Garbage is itself a thing of fear and loathing, is a marker of difference, a tool for creating and maintaining inequality and dissimilarity—a purpose to which people have used “Nature” itself (hence, unsavory comparisons of people to animals and so on). Both garbage and nature are, in this way of thinking, things to be walled off, separated, kept “away” from (and thereby defining) civilization. It is in their vast capacities to disrupt what we define as order that garbage and nature are a threat. Our ecophobic reaction to garbage is intimately cross-stitched with the increasing maladaptative theorization of garbage as a sublime object of our own creation, rather like Frankenstein. The garbage that Ammons and Choi describe are clearly different, within radically different historical contexts. Industrialization happened very differently in Europe than in East Asia—much more wastefully in the former than the latter. The “industrial revolution” in East Asia was much later and much more efficient than in the West: “east Asia

The Ecophobic Unconscious  151 successfully responded to natural resource constraints,” and while the West “developed capital-intensive and resource-intensive technology […], the east Asian experience […] developed labour-intensive and ­resource-saving technology” (Sugihara 3856). While I certainly do not want to diminish or ignore the significance of contextual differences, it is necessary to understand that there are very substantial similarities in how each poem writes human relationships with garbage. In both Ammons and Choi, garbage is an object readers consume as they tour through the scenes. Both poems produce the reader within a version of what Brian Thill calls “toxic tourism” (73).19 Each poem engages with this phenomenon, acting as a kind of toxic tour guide, with the readers themselves becoming toxic tourists. The effect is a reiteration of garbage as an object for viewing, consumption, and a kind of pleasure. With a privileged class looking at garbage that it doesn’t have to live with, we witness a version of the environmental racism displayed in both poems. The ecophobia hypothesis seeks understandings of the confluent ways in which anxieties, indifference, and irrational fears of difference play out along a spectrum of otherness that in its broad sweep includes race, class, environment, gender, sexuality—indeed, any and every category of abjection. The hypothesis assumes that the ethics of exclusion permeates and interpenetrates any and all categories of exclusion. Pivotal in the matter of waste is environmental racism. Environmental racism is both a national and global issue. Within the United States, where the issue has perhaps received the most sustained attention, poor and minority communities suffer inordinate exposure to toxic practices and substances; 20 globally, it manifests in, as Rob Nixon describes the matter, the “offloading [of] rich-nation toxins onto the world’s poorest” (2). Environmental racism is front-and-center in ­Nixon’s landmark Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Nixon begins with the truly remarkable confidential memo on the subject from a confidential World Bank memo by Lawrence Summers: I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that…. I’ve always thought that countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles…. Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the Least Developed Countries? (Summers, as cited by Nixon 1) It is a shocking comment by the former Chief Economist of The World Bank (an agency whose purported mission is to eradicate poverty) that evidences both ecophobia and racism. Waste is a central player in both ecophobia and racism.

152  The Ecophobic Unconscious It is tempting to speak in universals about waste. Waste is waste, after all, so why complicate it, one might ask. But we’ve all heard the comment that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and it is important to recognize the cultural valence of waste. In South Korea, for instance, food waste21 has a very different history than in, say, the United States. I’ve lived in Korea for more than twenty years and am amazed every time I go back to Canada (my country of birth) at how profoundly backward things are in “America.” With recycling at a level of sophistication that makes North American recycling look woefully backward, Korea is, nevertheless, in the middle of radically changing attitudes toward food waste. If Chanje Wu is correct in suggesting (as I think he is) that Korea was “breathless [in its] effort to catch up with the industrialized world” (xi), my guess is that this does not apply to the matter of recycling—an area in which, as I’ve said, South Korea is far, far ahead of America. The rapid economic development of Korea—what has been called “The Miracle on the Han” (Han Gang oui Geechock 한강의 기적)—has produced a kind of a knee-jerk reaction to the past, an indulgence in spending and in the freedom to waste things—the kind of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous wastage that perhaps characterizes all newly rich economies. A great many reports in the first decade of the 21st century condemn the wastage in restaurants—and even “the re-use of left-over food in [Korean] restaurants” (­koreanrestaurants-still-recycle-left-overs/), and reports continue to appear. At a conference in June 2016 in Amsterdam, Won-Chung Kim mentioned the ideal in Korea: “Food, once placed on the table in public restaurants, is strictly forbidden by law for reuse, for hygienic reasons. As such, left over side dishes are promptly discarded after each meal, and contribute to a tremendous amount of food waste.” It is an ideal that the Korean House of Representatives Lee Nak-won shares: “the re-use of left-over food in restaurants is a serious issue,” he explains, as it violates the trust of the consumers who go to them… those who operate restaurants which handle food for our citizens must understand their special responsibility and prepare a good environment in their businesses… authorities must exercise proper oversight and completely root out this problem. (Scwartzman) The ideal is one thing; the reality, however, is a bit different. There are a great many websites that attest to the continuing problem of the re-use of “panchan” (side-dishes)—re-use, not recycling. What these reports rarely examine, however, is that food waste in South Korea, once an indicator of freedom from the austerity of colonial and wartime pasts, is bound up with matters of history, national identity, power, pride, resistance, and many other things.

The Ecophobic Unconscious  153 Obviously, the United States and South Korea have followed very different paths of development, and for a country so small and with such a large population, problems can’t hide for long: throwing things away means that “away” is probably closer than it would be in the United States or Canada. The Seoul Metropolitan Area alone has 25.64 million people (compared with the twenty million of the New York metro region), but it is twice as dense as New York. As Rob Nixon has famously observed, there are changes that are too slow for us to perceive, things that “occur […] gradually and out of sight, a violence of decayed destruction that is dispersed across time and space, an attritional violence that is typically not viewed as violence at all” (2). But if waste is one of the forms of “slow violence” in the West, then it is certainly not quite so in the Korea, away never being that far away on the Korean peninsula. While it may be true, as the modern proverb has it, that “birds don’t shit in their own nests” (a variant being the imperative “don’t shit where you eat”), it is also true that birds often don’t shit very far from where they nest. The guano of nesting cormorants leave the cliffs of Vancouver’s Stanley Park entirely obscured, covered with a thick layer that turns the cliff’s black face white. Birds shit everywhere. “Rome is ­Getting Buried in the Droppings of a Million Starlings,” runs a headline in January 2016 (see O’Sullivan). Seoul, like countless other big cities, tries to limit pigeon roosting with spikes and netting, their droppings long recognized as a health and aesthetic issue. Birds produce waste. People produce waste. All living things produce waste. Producing waste is natural, is at the very core of life itself. What makes waste a core element of the ecophobia hypothesis is in how we conceptualize it, how these ways of thinking produce material effects, and how these material effects reinforce the very ways of thinking that produced them in the first place. Unlike the other eight or nine million species on the planet (perhaps with the exception of some cetacean species), humans genuinely fear agency in nonhuman sources, including the agency of garbage. We, like any other species, like to keep our garbage away from our nests, but unfortunately, in the Anthropocene, there really is no “away,” and even as thinking about garbage is changing, it is not clear that the direction entirely avoids the Anthropocene’s problematic ethics. Einstein is reputed to have said that “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”22 To understand our ethical relationships with the natural world, it is necessary also to understand how our relationship with garbage is, essentially, maladaptive. Ecophobia must be understood with attention to waste and to how we produce it—both conceptually and materially. In conceptually fusing waste and environment on an ontological level, we parade fear and hatred of the agencies of nature and waste. These agencies are isomorphically similar, and they are inextricable from each other. I have shown also that the trend to elevate waste to the level of

154  The Ecophobic Unconscious sublime object (at once the product of human industriousness and the matter of the more-than-human world) discloses the lines of privilege and prejudice along which we produce waste. It is imperative, therefore, to see waste, as I have begun to show, both in terms of environmental justice and environmental racism—both of which articulate concerns about food production and food waste. Understanding how ecophobia prompts environmental injustice (and environmental racism) produces a more comprehensive and wider understanding of the mutually reinforcing ethics that bring about oppression and suffering—social and environmental. Understanding this is what the ecophobia hypothesis seeks. Instances of ecophobia occur on different positions of the spectrum, in both bold and ambiguous ways, enabling the hypothesis to be analysed through multiple means by transdisciplinary scholars in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, performing arts, and film. Understanding ecophobia is about engendering responsibility. Acknowledging the ecophobic condition is about moving toward E.O. Wilson’s original sentiments and spirit of the biophilia hypothesis and away from the dark, antagonistic, and exploitative responses and reflexive fears that have increasingly come to characterize human interactions with the environment. The ecophobia hypothesis is about prompting action—from concept to embodiment and practice—in everyday life. This action can grow out of inquiries into genetic materialism and into our histories as a species; it can grow out of analyses about mass media manipulations of our deepest anxieties; it can grow out of our understandings that meat-eating today is unsustainable and, at core, ecophobic; and it can grow out of questioning how we conceptualize, understand, and represent our own psychology and how the ecophobic unconscious helps us see and organize matter. Ecophobia is a spectrum condition at the opposite end of the continuum from biophilia, and Sophie Christman is astute to invoke Beethoven in regard to our grapplings with the size and complexity of this continuum (see “Foreword” x–xi, above). The ecophobia hypothesis conducts symphonies of scale and dependence, of enmeshments and resistance, of biophilia and maladaptive behaviors, and these are worth an ear—indeed, demand riveted attention.

Notes 1 The song reached number 2 in Canada (but only 76 in the United States). 2 At the outset, it seems necessary to be clear about the terms I am using here, since trash, waste, garbage, refuse, and rubbish are clearly different words with different meanings. In Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage, ­William Rathje and Cullen Murphy draw distinctions between trash, garbage, refuse, and rubbish: Trash refers specifically to discards that are at least theoretically dry— newspapers, boxes, cans and so on. Garbage technically refer to ‘wet’ discards—food remains, yard waste, and offal. Refuse is a more inclusive

The Ecophobic Unconscious  155 term for both the wet discards and the dry. Rubbish is even more inclusive: It refers to all refuse plus construction and demolition debris. (Rathje and Murphy 9) While I certainly do not want to downplay or diminish the significance of disciplinary and definitional subtleties, for the purposes of my investigations here, the terms are serviceable synonymically, and I often use them interchangeably. 3 I mean “tragic” here in the sense of the fall of a hero from a high place to a low one as a result of some internal flaw. When we fall, it will be because of our insatiable appetites. 4 As Doctor of Psychology John Grohol explains of the flight or fight response, The evolutionary purpose of this response is obvious. In prehistoric times, a person might have found themselves in a situation where a quick choice has to be made. If the person had spent a lot of time thinking about it, they may have become dinner for a lion or other animal. The body’s fight or flight response, it’s theorized, took thinking out of the equation so we could react more quickly—and stay alive. As our bodies and minds have adapted and evolved to the changing times, the threats have become less obvious—and sometimes they aren’t even real. Today, our body can react to even perceived or imagined threats. (see Grohol https://   Grohol goes on to note that “virtually any phobia can trigger the fight or flight response.” An imagined threat from the agency of nature (including notions behind compulsive use of hand sanitizers) is an example of one of these phobias (ecophobia) about which Grohol speaks. 5 Relatively speaking, not much has been written on waste in literature, certainly little from a theoretical perspective. The most direct treatment of the subject is Susan Signe Morrison’s book. Expansive in scope and detailed in its support, this book looks squarely at literary representations of waste in the Western (primarily English) canon with the explicit intention of revealing that “literature reflects the ways in which humans commonly perceive waste” (3), how waste has long been marked as “other,” and what some of the theoretical implications of this othering are in terms of environmental ethics. 6 According to a report published by the World Economic Forum, “the ocean [sic] is expect to contain 1 tonne of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish (by weight)” (see “The New Plastics Economy,” pdf). Whether true or not (questions about the research linger—see “Will Plastic Really Outweigh Fish,”, the amount of plastic in the oceans is staggering. Fish and birds eat it accidentally, and nano-plastics make their way into our own cells. 7 Recycling of e-waste has become a thriving business, but it is dirty and dangerous, as reported by CNN: “Much of the toxic pollution comes from burning circuit boards, plastic and copper wires, or washing them with hydrochloric acid to recover valuable metals like copper and steel. In doing so, workshops contaminate workers and the environment with toxic heavy metals like lead, beryllium and cadmium, while also releasing hydrocarbon ashes into the air, water and soil” (Watson, world/asia/china-electronic-waste-e-waste/index.html). 8 It is common knowledge by now that one third of all food produced for human consumption in the world gets wasted.

156  The Ecophobic Unconscious 9 It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between the science and the science fiction—for instance, the recent notion that scientists could use giant machines to re-freeze the Arctic (see Zdanowicz) is real news, not a movie plot. So too is the proposal to make vast deliveries of particles into the upper stratosphere to reflect heat back into space and to thereby cool the Earth (see Temple). 10 For a comprehensive look at the changing history of disposability in the United States, see Susan Strasser’s Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. 11 American poet A.R. Ammons coins the term “museums of our desecrations” (85) in his long poem on garbage. It is a term that could aptly describe the setting of Wall-E. 12 Decay and rot are important to the ecophobia hypothesis because they are agency and excess overgrown and unpredictable. Literary treatments of rot and decay clearly reveal the ecophobic unconscious. As I explain in Ecocriticism and Shakespeare: Reading Ecophobia, for instance, The metaphors Hamlet uses are very telling. Whenever he talks about difference, his thoughts eventually devolve upon some form of rot. For instance, evil resides in excess, and people are bad only “By their o’ergrowth of some complexion, / […] / Or by some habit, that too much o’erleavens/ The form of plausive manners…these men / […] / Shall in the general censure take corruption/ From that particular fault.” (1.4.27–36). The problem is not “one defect” or “particular fault,” since nobody is perfect; the problem is the “o’ergrowth” of such a “complexion.” Excess (and eventually rot), then, is the problem, and it is defined with naturalistic imagery. (86) Rot is slowly receiving more and more ecocritical attention. In a fascinating exploration of “the myth if the California dream” (Weidner 237), Ned Weidner reveals convincingly “how ecophobic olfactory imaginations separate people across racial lines” (245). Weidner explains that “paradise is generated by an ecophobic desire to safeguard people from the dangers of nature, including its interpenetrating cycle of life and death.” (251). 13 As I have explained in Ecocriticism and Shakespeare, Common dictionary meanings have weeds as things that have no practical value to people (i.e., they do not produce edible materials or attractive adornments or otherwise commodifiable products). Moreover, weeds often express a parasitical relationship to other plants or their food, making the weed’ stronger and killing the other plants or making them weaker. (36–37) It is a worthless commodity with dangerous agency, an aberration or excess that inspires ecophobic violence—plucking, killing, poisoning. Weeds, moreover, point to other ecophobic practices, such as the commodification of nature (which weeds clearly threaten). Any kind of commodification of nature is inherently ecophobic, in the same way that any commodification of women is misogynistic and of sexual minorities, homophobic. 14 There is a danger here in normalizing waste, trivializing the enormity of global garbage problems, and containing the potency and unpredictability of junk agency. 15 Stacy Alaimo describes “transcorporeality” as follows:

The Ecophobic Unconscious  157 Imagining human corporeality as trans-corporeality, in which the human is always intermeshed with the more-than-human world, underlines the extent to which the substance of the human is ultimately inseparable from “the environment.” It makes it difficult to pose nature as mere background, as Val Plumwood would put it, for the exploits of the human since “nature” is always as close as one’s own skin– perhaps even closer. Indeed, thinking across bodies may catalyze the recognition that the environment, which is too often imagined as inert, empty space or as a resource for human use, is, in fact, a world of fleshy beings with their own needs, claims, and actions. By emphasizing the movement across bodies, trans-corporeality reveals the interchanges and interconnections between various bodily natures. But by underscoring that trans indicates movement across different sites, trans-corporeality also opens up a mobile space that acknowledges the often unpredictable and unwanted actions of human bodies, nonhuman creatures, ecological systems, chemical agents, and other actors. (Bodily 2) 16 In Korea, the colloquial idiom (known among everyone) about what are known in Konglish (Korean English) as “3D jobs” (dirty, dangerous, and difficult) applies well to the divers of the poem. Tourists and 3D workers don’t mix, the former often sustained by the labors of the latter. Tourism functions in part as an effect of the ecophobic unconscious. Tourism and the ecophobic unconscious normalize fantasies of static, postcard landscapes, while conceptually burying the presences of natural agency and reifying radically unequal class structures. The ecophobic unconscious and class oppression intersect in this poem. 17 Having lived in Canada for three decades and South Korea for two, I assume that I can see accurately on this matter. My own biological brother drives a garbage truck. We don’t get on. We try, to be sure, but we have nothing to talk about except our past; like most male siblings, we spent most of our childhoods fighting with each other, so our talks about the good ole days rarely end well. It is as easy to imagine my brother and I chatting affably in a coffee shop as it is to imagine Choi’s tourists and divers (waste retrievers of a sort) doing so. 18 Scanlan goes on to note the environmental racism and classism that attends “our” notions about garbage: The social significance of refuse collectors, like garbage itself, largely eludes our attention. Like the wastes and mess they look after they are degraded because, according to Michael Walzer, their relationship to dirt, waste and garbage “makes them the object of disdain and avoidance”; we “impose… patterns of behaviour, routines of distancing, that place them in a kind of pale: deferential movements, peremptory commands, refusals of recognition. (Walzer 176; Scanlan 176) 19 Thill explains that “‘toxic tourism’ […is] an ostensibly progressive notion that brings people into devastated communities on ‘toxic tours’ […], tours of toxic sites as a kind of negative sightseeing, a method for cultivating environmental advocacy” (73). The problem with this idea, as Thill explains, is that “we are meant to survey the damage wrought by the very unromantic forms of waste that actually destroy lives on a daily basis through the slow violence of unemployment, poverty, overpolicing, and gentrification” (73).

158  The Ecophobic Unconscious Not coincidently, Thill is also talking about “ghetto” tourism as an analogous phenomenon. They are, he explains, “two sides of the same coin” (73). Indeed, waste is central to environmental justice. 20 Robert Bullard explains that “Industrial toxins, polluted air and drinking water, and the siting of municipal landfills, lead smelters, incinerators, and hazardous waste facilities have had a disproportionate impact upon people of color, working class communities, and the poor” (Bullard 319). The Flint Water Crisis and Love Canal are two of the more prominent American examples of environmental racism. 21 Much of the research into waste has been centered on food waste. While it has not been the primary object here to discuss food waste, the topic is immensely important, and there are indeed many monographs on the topic. Tristram Stuart’s Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (2009) is prominent among these. It discusses the issue in terms of overproduction and storage issues—namely, that too much food is produced in fully developed countries and simply cannot be adequately stored or transported. Among developing countries such as Pakistan, Stuart maintains that harvesting and cultivation are the big problems and that simply growing more food isn’t the answer (especially if it can’t be harvested). What is particularly valuable in this book is how it draws together the topics of food, waste, and the racial and cultural implications of corporate global capitalism, how the devastated local industries in places such as India are the direct result of policies of waste and racism, comments as germane today as the day Stuart wrote them nearly a decade ago. Jonathan Bloom’s American Wasteland: How ­A merica Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) is another prominent set of analyses. It describes poignantly how since the Depression, “we have trained ourselves to regard food as a symbol of ­A merican plenty that should be available at all seasons and times, and in dizzying quantities” (Publishers Weekly review, backflap)—a situation not unlike post-War Korea. 2 There is debate about what Einstein said exactly—or even, whether he, in 2 fact, did say anything—on this topic (see also the blog at http://icarus-falling. Whatever the source or exact original, the idea here is important. In more contemporary vernacular, we need to think outside of the box.

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“Above the Water, Under the Water” (Choi) 15, 144–146, 149, 156n16, 156n17 Abram, David 25, 80–81, 90n5 Ackerman, Diane 56–58, 73n4 activism 49, 74n9; ecomedia and 53, 55; hollow ecology of 78; narrative science and 54–55; see also ecomedia, effecting change through Adams, Carol J. 103–104 adaptive behaviors 155n4; ecophobia/ biophilia spectrum and 24, 25, 31; obsolescence of 24, 25, 34n14; see also maladaptive behaviors adaptive force 21 Admirable and Memorable Histories Containing the Wonders of Our Time (Goulart) 126 adventure-nature genre 66 Aftermath: Population Zero (television series) 66 Agamben, Giorgio 39 agency 27–32, 33n4, 84; genetic materialism and 28, 31; intra-actions and 27, 34n17; through agribusiness 112–113; tragedy and 45, 46 agency, loss of 9–10, 18n19, 21–22; climate change and 31–32; connections between patriarchy and 95; fear of 15, 40, 48; by mad people 125, 134n11; terrorism and 31–32; tragedy and 10 agency, nonhuman 25, 33n3, 50, 79, 133n6, 148; material feminism and material ecocriticism on 22, 41, 90n5; of nature 16, 124, 134n11; see also nonhuman animals agency, of garbage 136–153; “Above the Water, Under the Water,” 15, 144–146, 149, 156n16, 156n17;

Garbage: A Poem 15, 143, 146–147, 149–150; see also waste agential images 13, 36, 51n1 agential realism 22 agentic capacity 79 agentic matter 79 Age of Stupid, The (film) 54, 55 agriculture 84; agribusiness 95, 96, 107–110, 112–113; diversity destruction 95, 111; Monsanto 107, 110, 112–113; Pollan and 96–98, 110, 115, 116n10; see also food; meat production Ahn, T.K. 87 air travel 52, 62–63 Alaimo, Stacy xi, 41, 139, 149, 156n15 Aldrin, Buzz 65 ALECC (the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada) 4 Alexander, Jeffrey C. 39 Allderidge, Patricia 126 All Over Creation (Ozeki) 96, 107, 108–109 American exceptionalism 46 American isolationism 38 American Psychological Association 1, 12 American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) (Bloom) 157n21 Ammons, A.R. 15, 143, 146–147, 149–150, 151, 156n11 amygdala xiv Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, The (Fromm) 8 Anatomy of Melancholy (Burton) 121, 129 Anderson, Christopher Todd 15, 142–143, 146, 148

184 Index Anderson, Kip 116n9, 116n12 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (Kingsolver) 99, 114 animal agriculture see meat production; nonhuman animals animal experimentation 101 Animal Manifesto, The: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint (Bekoff) 102–103, 116n9, 118n23 Animal Planet/Discovery Channel 66 animal rights 79–81, 100–101; see also meat production; nonhuman animals; vegetarian- and veganism animals see nonhuman animals Anthropocene x–xi, 11; boring ourselves 53, 73n4; capitalism and 86; definition 83–84, 90n2; ecomedia and 14, 52, 53, 57; ecophobia reproduced through concept of 57, 78, 84, 89; meat and 14; paradox of control vs. influence 84–85, 91n10; problems of concept 83–87, 88–89, 91n15; scale and 14, 78–79, 83–86; term used 21, 57, 78, 86, 90n1, 90n4; waste and 136, 137, 153 Anthropocene and the Global Environmental Crisis: Rethinking Modernity in a New Epoch (Hamilton, Bonneuil, and Gemenne) 91n10 anthropocentrism 33n7, 37, 47, 84, 90n5, 91n9 Anthropozoic Era 78, 90n2 antipathy see indifference anti-Semitism 29 anti-smoking movement 67–68, 76n29, 85 anxiety xiii, xiv, 7, 9, 41, 150; agency and 32, 92, 139; see also fear; phobias apocalyptic discourse 38, 141 “Are Jews Smarter?” (Senior) 30 Aristotle 40 Armstrong, Franny 55 Armstrong, Neil 65 artificial intelligence (AI) 91n13 Åsberg, Cecilia 56, 57, 75n18, 75n23, 84; capitalism and 86; scale issues and 79 Ashkenazi Jews 29–30 Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) 2, 58

atomic bomb test 112 attention spans 56, 74n13, 133n5 Atwood, Margaret 96 autism 95, 115n6 aversion to nature xiv, 9, 39, 47, 52, 72; harm and 23, 37–38; modern life encourages 57; see also indifference avoidance xiii, xiv, 9, 23, 70, 157n18 Babb, Lawrence 128 Bacigalupi, Paolo 96 backlash effect 99, 117n17 Barad, Karen 22, 34n17, 90n5 Barbas-Rhoden, Laura 6 bare life concept 39 Bass, Rick 99 Bauman, Zygmunt 15, 138 Beard, Michael 20, 32, 33n1 beasts, mad people compared to 126, 131, 135n21; see also literary madness; madness; nonhuman animals Beck, Ulrich 48 Before the Law (Wolfe) 134n15 Bekoff, Marc 102–103, 115, 116n9, 118n23 Belsey, Catherine 125, 127 Benjamin, Walter 51n8, 59 Bennett, Jane 43, 90n5 Benthan, Jeremy 118n24 Bernheimer, Richard 129–130 Berzonsky, Carol L. xi, xii bestiality 131 Bethlem Royal Hospital 123, 126–127 Beyond Ecophobia (Sobel) 10–11 biological basis of behavior see genetics biomobility 108 Biophilia (Wilson) 22 biophilia hypothesis x, xii, 2, 47, 82; genetic materialism and 8, 9, 12, 22, 28, 31, 32; introduction and definition ix–x, 8, 9; “surface ethics” and 33n5; see also ecophobia/biophilia spectrum biophilia hypothesis, problems of 8–9, 12, 24, 28, 58, 70; ecophobia/ biophilia spectrum unrecognized 9–10, 16, 22; Katcher and Wilkins 81–82; as limited explanation for human behavior 2, 8, 12, 14, 22, 58, 70; nonhuman animal treatment

Index  185 82, 90n8; Shepard and 81; see also ecophobia/biophilia spectrum Biophilia Hypothesis, The (Wilson and Kellert) 9, 82 biophilia spectrum see ecophobia/ biophilia spectrum biophobia 17n6 “Biopolitics and the Critique of Neoliberalism in El corazón del silencio by Tatiana Lobo” (BarbasRhoden) 6 bioregional eating 97, 99, 117n16 biosemiotics 27, 32 biosphere refashioning 86–87 biotic communities x, 1, 80 Black, Shameem 104, 105–106 Blakley, Johanna 63–64, 77n39 Bloom, Dan 59 Bloom, Jonathan 157n21 Bonneuil, Christophe 11, 91n10 Borradori, Giovanna 39 boundaries: adversarial 36; erased by natural disasters and acts of terror 48, 49–50; between fact and fiction 72, 104, 106–107; of humanity, madness as outside of 125, 128; national 37, 38; natural/artificial borders 142; scale and 79 Bragard, Véronique 138, 141, 146 Brayton, Dan 46 Brereton, Pat 56, 75n17, 77n38 Briefe Discourse of a Disease Called the Suffocation of the Mother, A (Jorden) 127 Brooks, Peter 55 Buell, Lawrence 47 Bullard, Robert 158n20 Burke, Edmund 148 Burton, Robert 121, 129 Bush, George W. 36 Bush Administration 60 Butler, Judith 46, 124 Canada 150, 153 capitalism 75n23, 85; dismemberment and 104; global food economy and 79, 92, 93, 95–96, 104, 109, 111; Klein on 64, 70, 76n24, 85, 86; model relies on ecophobia 85–86; scale and 85; as symptom as opposed to cause of climate change 64, 75n23, 86, 91n15, 111–112; veganism as threat to 93 “Capitalocene” (term) 86

carbon footprint 52, 53 Carroll, Joseph 25, 27 Carruth, Allison 111, 114, 118n28 carrying capacity 21 Carson, Rachel ix Catching Fire (Collins) 96 Chaudhuri, Una 79–80, 87 children 23, 74n15, 82, 103, 139 China 76n31, 92, 110, 140 Choi, Seungho 15, 144–146, 150, 151, 157n17 Chopra, Shiv 113 Christman, Sophie 58, 70, 91n13, 154 Chronicle of Higher Education, The 99 Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) 94, 115n4 Clapp, Jennifer 94–95 Clark, Timothy 12–13, 18n22, 89 classism 16; see also social class climate change: GM food and 109–110; scale of effects 31, 78, 79, 83, 84, 88–89; waste and 137 climate change, capitalism and see capitalism climate change, ecophobia as cause ix, xi, 2, 12, 46, 83; Deyo on 58; ecophobia as obsolete adapative strategy 24; Gaard and ecofeminism 57, 64, 73n3; meat production and 14, 23, 73n8, 78, 91n12, 92–93; media reproduces ecophobia 36, 53 climate change, human’s responsibility for xi, 70, 83, 84 climate change, meat production and 14, 23, 73n8, 78, 91n12, 92–93; vegetarian- and veganism and 98 climate change, media representations of 32, 59, 60, 65, 66, 96; Christman and Kaplan on 70; hot water tanks and 77n34; terror narratives and 35, 43 climate change, reversing 14; consilience and 88; COP21 agreement 52, 73n2; developing strategies for 53, 55; ecophobia as obsolete adapative strategy 24; feasibility of 20–21; gender and feminism and 72; legislation for 76n31; technological fixes 156n9 climate change denial 12, 56, 58, 84, 115; similarity to tobacco industry 67–68, 76n29 “Climate Change Fiction” (Cli-Fi) 59

186 Index climate change narratives 59; ecophobic ethics and 36; fear and 35; ineffectiveness of xi, 35, 55; numbness as response to xi, 35, 73n5; terror narratives 35–36, 37, 38, 40–45, 47–50; see also terror and climate change narratives climate change scholarship: Berzonsky and Moser xii; Chakrabarty 91n15; Christman and Kaplan 70; Deyo 58; food’s absence from 118n25; Gaard 57, 64, 70, 73n3, 117n22; Klein 66–67, 70, 85, 86; Koneswaran and Nierenberg 23; MacGregor 72; Malm and Hornberg 88, 90n4; Marshall 56; McEwan 20; Moser 73n5; obfuscation of 67, 76n29; Singer and Mason 109–110; Swim xii; Trexler 88–89 “Climate of Ecocinema, The” (Christman and Kaplan) 70 CNN 74n8 CO2 emissions 64, 74n8; see also greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Cochran, Gregory 29–30 Cold War 112 Collins, Suzanne 96 colonialism 113 Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods (Nabhan) 98–99, 114 compassion fatigue 14, 55, 67 connectedness 87 consilience 88 consumption 136 continuous partial attention 56, 74n13 control see agency Conway, Erik 76n29 COP21 agreement 52, 73n2 Coriolanus (Shakespeare) 15 Cornyetz, Nina 106 Corrupt to the Core (Chopra) 113 Cowspiracy (film) 116n9, 116n12 Creating a Climate for Change (Moser) 73n5 Creed, Barbara 147 critical animal studies 78, 90n3 Critical Animal Studies (McCance) 90n3 Cubitt, Sean 65–66, 68–69 Culpeper, Nicholas 122 culture 20; Ashkenazi Jews and 29; genetic materialism and 26–27;

see also biophilia hypothesis; genetic materialism Culture and Media: Ecocritical Explorations (Murphy) 60 Curran, Kevin 134n15 Curry, Alice 6 Curtin, Deane 100 Daish (ISIS) 37, 118n29 D’Amato, Paul 28–29 Darwin, Charles xiii, 21, 26–27 Davidson, Tonya 85 Day After Tomorrow, The (film) 57, 60, 61, 73n7 “Death of Nature and the Apotheosis of Trash, The; or, Rubbish Ecology” (Yaeger) 138 “‘Deep Into That Darkness Peering’: An Essay on Gothic Nature” (Hillard) 5 deforestation 92–93 Derrida, Jacques 125–126, 134n12 de Tocqueville, Alexis 38 “Development of the Literary Werewolf, The: Language, Subjectivity and Animal/ Human Boundaries” (Franck) 6 Deyo, Brian 58 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM V) 16n1 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV) 11 Diamond, Jared 13, 85–86 DiCaprio, Leonardo 55, 61 diet see food; meat production; vegetarian- and veganism DiLeo, Jeffrey R. 42–43 Dimock, Wai Chee 35, 40, 45, 49 Dionne, Craig 120 dirt 138–139, 143 disability 119, 123, 127; see also madness dismemberment 104 disposability, concept of 139; see also waste distance 42; see also scale diversity 21, 109; agribusiness destroys 95, 111 Diversity of Life, The (Wilson) xii docudrama genre 55 domestic landscapes 121–122 Don’t Even Think About It (film) 55

Index  187 Double-crested Cormorant 12 Douglas, Mary 15, 138, 139 Dr. Faustus (Marlowe) 15 Drift (McGoran) 96 drought 37 Duchess of Malfi, The (Webster) 126 du Laurens, André 131, 135n21 Duvernay, Alvin 54 Eagleton, Terry 10, 40 Eating Animals (Foer) 98, 101–102, 115 Ebert, Roger 53 ecoambiguity 33n7 Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures (Thornber) 33n7, 143–144 ecocriticism xi, 2–7, 17n11, 47; activism and 43, 104; ecofeminism and 19n26, 96; food and 96, 99–101, 104, 114; gender and 89; as interpretive analysis 61–62; madness and, scholarship deficit in field of 15, 119, 131; material ecocriticism ix, 22, 24–28, 32, 41; tragedy and 44 Ecocriticism and Shakespeare (Estok) 122, 133n6, 156n12, 156n13 Ecocriticism and the Idea of Culture: Biology and the Bildungsroman (Feder) 25 “Ecocriticism in an Age of Terror” (Estok) 35 Ecocriticism on the Edge (Clark) 18n22 Ecocriticism Reader 99 ecofeminism 57, 66, 69, 76n30, 77n38; Clark and 18n22, 89; ecocriticism and 19n26, 96; see also feminism and feminist theory; Gaard, Greta Ecogothic (Smith and Hughes) 5, 17n10 ecogothic studies 5–6, 17n10 “Ecological Martial Law” (Heinimann) 7 Ecologies of Affect (Davidson, Park, and Shields) 85 “Ecology and Man—A Viewpoint” (Shepard) 81 ecomedia 13, 35, 52–73; ecomedia studies 69, 73n1, 79; ethics and 52, 56, 59–60, 61, 69, 75n17; meat production and 96–99; narrative

science and 55; see also terror and climate change narratives EcoMedia (Cubitt) 68, 69 ecomedia, effecting change through: activism and 53, 55; ecophobia theory’s exploration as crucial to 58–62, 63–65, 69–72, 73n3, 73n4, 73n5, 75n18; food and 55, 73n8, 77n39, 96–98; hope and 56–58, 72; marketing vs. legislation 67–68, 76n31, 76n32; measuring impact 63–64; personalized narrative and 63; Pollan and 97 ecomedia, indifference and 54–55, 66–67, 72, 142; overexposure and backlash effect 56, 63; through confirmational content 55; see also indifference ecomedia, marketing and 53, 63, 66–67; hope and 56–57; problems of 54, 55, 73n7; through narrative science 54–55 ecomedia, reproduction of ecophobia through 53, 54–55, 59–61, 72; gender and 52, 54, 55, 60, 61, 70–71, 77n38; Hollywood capitulation and 60–61, 73n7; patriarchal structures 55, 74n11, 77n38 Ecomedia: Key Issues (Rust, Monani, and Cubitt) 69 ecophobia, irrationality of 1, 16n2 Ecophobia, Politics of, Michael Bates ecophobia, term use and definition xi–xii, xiii, 1, 133n7; Brayton 46; Clark 18n22; criticism of 2–7, 22–23; ecogothic studies and 5–6; Estok, ix, 18n20, 18n22; introduction of 2, 10–11, 18n20; Lynch (“biophobia”) 17n6; madness and 124; psychological 7, 10, 16n1; Sobel 10, 11, 18n20; van Tine (“gaeaphobia”) 11; Will 10 ecophobia/biophilia spectrum xi–xii, 1, 9–10, 16n4, 154; adaptive behaviors and 23–24, 25, 31; biophilia as common to all animals 16n1, 23–24; ecomedia and 59; ecophobia as unique to humans xv, 16n1, 20, 23–24; genetic materialism and 22, 24, 31, 32, 81–82; nonbiotic nature and 82 ecophobic personification 54, 74n9

188 Index ecophobic unconscious 55, 136; see also waste ecopsychology field 11 eco-suicide xii [email protected] (journal) 6–7 effecting change: repetition and 80, 103, 118n23; see also ecomedia, effecting change through Egan, Gabriel 22–23 Einstein, Albert 153, 158n22 electric cars 76n33 electronic waste (e-waste) 140, 155n7 11th Hour, The (film) 53, 55 Emmerich, Roland 60 empathy 23 energy conservation 77n34 Environmental Crisis in Young Adult Fiction: A Poetics of Earth (Curry) 6 environmental ethics, madness and 121, 124, 129–130, 131, 132 Environmental Ethics and Film (Brereton) 75n17 Environmental Imagination, The (Buell) 47 environmental justice 148, 153 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 61, 75n19 environmental racism 151, 153, 157n18, 158n20 epigenesis xii, xiii, 30–31, 33n2, 34n19; see also genetic materialism erotophobia 17n12 Estok, Simon C. ix, xi–xii; dissertation 18n20; Ecocriticism and Shakespeare 122, 133n6, 156n12, 156n13; “Ecocriticism in an Age of Terror,” 35; “Narrativizing Science”, 75n23; Robisch and 2–7; “Spectators to Future Ruin”, 63; “Theorizing”, 2–7, 12, 17n11, 17n12 ethics 20, 75n17, 77n39, 79; American-style 110, 111–112, 115; changing 65, 68, 70; ecomedia and 52, 56, 59–60, 61, 69, 75n17; of exclusion 37–38, 150; expanding circle of 41, 71, 80, 82, 89, 125; genetics and 26, 31; GM food and 109–110, 112–113; hate speech and 76n32; hollow ecology and 78; madness and 121, 122–123, 124, 125, 129–130, 131, 132; morality 20, 62–65, 100; nonhuman animals and 78–80, 89, 90n6; reproduction of ecophobic 52, 53, 59–60, 145;

“surface ethics,” 33n5; waste and 137, 139, 145, 153; see also biophilia hypothesis; ecophobia/ biophilia spectrum ethics, meat production and 14, 78, 97–98; Adams 103–104; Bekoff 103; as central to patriarchy and industrialization 92, 93, 94; expanding circle of ethics 80, 89; feminism and 89; Foer 98, 100–101, 102, 117n21; Fromm, Harold 99–101, 117n21; legislation and 85, 102; My Year of Meats 104, 106; Nabhan 98–99; Pollan 97–98; Polyface Farm 97, 98, 115, 116n11, 116n12; Singer 101 ethnocentrism 37 Evolution in Four Dimensions (Jablonka and Lamb) 30–31 exceptionalism 37, 40, 46 Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (Darwin) xiii extinction 31; Great Oxygenation Event and 86–87 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Foer) 42 fact and fiction 104, 105, 115 factory farmed meat see meat production fast food restaurants 96, 116n7 fear 5, 35, 103, 130, 131; as biological instinct xi, xiii, xiv, 8, 34n12, 137; Darwin on xiii, xiv; of dirt and bacteria 17n5, 137; of foreign 121–122; of loss of agency and unpredictability 15, 40, 48, 128; of waste 15–16, 137–138, 145, 150, 153; see also anxiety; ecophobia, term use and definition; phobias Feder, Helen 25 Feder, Lillian 125, 129–130, 132 Feldman, Mark 148 Felman, Shoshana 122, 126, 134n13 Felski, Rita 46 feminism and feminist theory 27, 71, 72, 75n18, 135n20; Darwin and 26, 27; material feminism 22; meat eating and 96, 103–104; scale-framing and 89; see also ecofeminism; Gaard, Greta Fermi, Enrico 112 Fish, Cheryl 104–105 Fisher, R. Michael 7

Index  189 Five Man Electrical Band 136–137 flashpoints 49, 51n8, 114 Foer, Jonathan Safran 42, 98, 101–102, 115, 117n21 Fogazzaro, Antonio 6 food 14–15, 19n25, 92–115, 118n25; agribusiness 96, 107–110, 112–113; distribution and overproduction 94–95, 110; ecomedia and 55, 73n8, 77n39, 96; ecophobia theory’s exploration as crucial to 103, 114–115; food security 96, 110, 111, 114; global food economy 92, 94–95; GMOs 95, 96–97, 107–113, 118n29; hunger and 95, 110; local 97, 99, 117n16; nutrition industry 97, 116n10; patenting 110, 111, 112; as personal 77n39, 114–115; rights to produce 113–114; seasonal 94, 115n5; standards 95; waste 74n8, 95, 96, 116n7, 140, 151–152, 155n8, 158n21; see also agriculture; meat production; vegetarian- and veganism Food, Inc. (film) 77n39, 98, 101 Foote, Stephanie 140 foreign landscapes 121–122 fossil fuels 57 Foucault, Michel 122, 126, 133n9, 134n10 Franck, Kaja 6 Freud, Sigmund xiii Fromm, Erich 8 Fromm, Harold 99–101, 114, 115, 117n19, 117n21 Frost, Robert 45 Future is Wild, The (television series) 66 Gaard, Greta 7, 17n12, 19n26, 70, 73n3; climate change root causes and 57; on Food, Inc. 98; on Fromm 117n19; on vulnerability of women 64; see also ecofeminism gaeaphobia 11 Galeano, Jorge 111 garbage, term defined 154n2; see also agency, of garbage; waste Garbage: A Poem (Ammons) 15, 143, 146–147, 149–150 Garrard, Greg 2–3 gay marriage 43 Gemenne, François 11, 91n10 gender 54, 89, 127–128; male hero 18n19, 55, 60, 61, 74n11; misogyny

22, 33n4; see also ecofeminism; feminism and feminist theory; women genetically modified (GM) food 95, 96–97, 107–113, 118n29; see also food genetic basis of ecophobia ix, xi, 1, 8–9, 12, 16; importance of understanding 22, 25, 31, 81 genetic determinism 26 genetic materialism 12–13, 20, 25–32; Ashkenazi Jews and 29–30; criticism and fear of 26–27; epigenetics concept and 30–31; ethical choices and 31; hollow ecology ignores 22; other factors affecting 27–31; superabundance and 21 genetics: biophilia and 8–9, 22, 28, 81; epigenesis and xii, xiii, 30–31, 33n2, 34n19; eugenics and 109, 118n27 geopolitical borders 37, 38 Gibbens, Anthony 48 Gibson, Clark C. 87 Gilman, Sander 30 Gladwin, Derek 6 Gonder, Patrick 58, 75n16 Goode, Abby 6 Gore, Al 55, 61, 64 gothic nature 5 Gottschall, Jonathan 26, 27 Goulart, Simon 126 government as antihero 60 Grandjeat, Yves-Charles 7 Great Oxygenation Event 86–87 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: from air travel 52; duration of human activities producing 84; from internet servers 64; from meat production 34n9, 73n8, 91n12, 92–93 “Green is the New Black: Ecophobia and the Gothic Landscape in the Twilight Series” (Parmiter) 5 Green Media and Popular Culture: An Introduction (Parham) 63, 71 Gregg, Melissa 49 Groeneveld, Sarah 6 Grosz, Elizabeth 21, 26, 27 Hamilton, Clive 11, 91n10, 91n13 Hamlet (Shakespeare) 156n11 Hanh, Thich Nhat 142

190 Index hard science 8 Harpending, Henry 29–30 hate speech and hate crimes 71, 76n26 Head, Lesley 84 Hedrén, Johan 56, 57, 75n18, 75n23, 79, 84, 86 Heerwagen, Judith 25 Heinimann, David 7 Heise, Ursula 47, 48, 61 Heston, Charlton 65 heterosexism 64 Hilbeck, Angelika 95 Hillard, Tom 5 History Channel 66 hollow ecology x, xiv, 22, 78, 83 homophobia 10, 11, 22, 55 hope 56–57, 72 Hornborg, Alf 83, 87–88, 90n4 horror studies 5, 17n10 hot water heating 77n34 Houser, Heather 5 Hroch, Petra 83 Hughes, William 5 Human Age, The: The World Shaped by Us (Ackerman) 56–57 “Human Alien, The: Otherness, Humanism, and the Future of Ecocriticism” (Iovino) 119 humanism 38, 41 humanity, limits of 123, 133n5 humanness 38–39, 128, 134n15; bare life concept and 39 humility 57 hunger 95, 110 Hunger Games, The (Collins) 96 Hurricane Katrina 38, 44, 51n10 “Huxley’s Evolution and Ethics in Sociobiological Perspective” (Williams) 24 hyperobject concept 22 hypocrisy 96, 116n8, 116n9 hypotheses 2, 7–11 hysteria 127, 128 I, Robot (film) 91n13 “I’m a Stranger Here” (Five Man Electrical Band) 136–137, 154n1 immediacy 55, 74n10 in-betweenness 49 Inconvenient Truth, A (film) 55 In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (Pollan) 97 indifference 8, 17n14, 18, 34n12; ecophobia/biopilia spectrum and

xi, 1, 9, 12; of nonhuman animals 21, 24, 86; as precondition to violence 23, 37–38, 100; waste and 136, 139, 140; see also aversion to nature; ecomedia, indifference and individualism 85, 104, 118n24, 136 International Commission on Stratigraphy 90n1 In the Shadow of No Towers (Spiegelman) 42 intra-actions 22, 27, 34n17 invisibility, waste and 139 Iovino, Serenella ix, 17n12, 25, 28, 32, 119, 139 Islamophobia 36 ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 3, 4, 5, 19n25, 99 isolationism 38 Jablonka, Eva xii, 30–31 Jorden, Edward 127 Kakutani, Michiko 101–102 Kant, Immanuel 148 Kaplan, E. Ann xii, 32, 35, 40–41, 70 Katcher, Aaron 82, 90n8 Kazanjian, David 51n8 Keetley, Dawn 5–6 Kellert, Stephen 9, 23–24, 70 Kenner, Robert 98, 101 Kerridge, Richard 135n20 King Lear (Shakespeare) 41, 46, 120, 131, 135n22 Kingsolver, Barbara 99, 114 Kirkus Review, The 99 Kistiakowsky, George 112 Klein, Naomi 64, 65, 66–67, 70, 76n24, 85 Kolbert, Elizabeth 83–84 Koneswaran, Gowrii 23, 34n9 Korea 113, 152, 157n16 Laing, R.D. 120 Lamarck, Jean-Baptiste 21, 33n2, 34n19 Lamb, Marion 30–31 Landscapes of Fear (Tuan) 7–8, 121 language and literary idioms: Garbage: A Poem 146–147; nonhuman animals, comparisons using 126, 131, 134n14; see also literary madness “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene” (Scranton) 83

Index  191 Lecky, William E.H. 80 Lee, Charles T. 39 Lee Nak-won 152 legislation: anti-smoking 67–68, 102; climate change policy 76n31; ecophobic 111–112, 118n29; effectiveness of 102; liberty and 67–68, 85 Leopold, Aldo 23, 50 Lewontin, Richard 25 liberty 65–68, 70, 76n25, 26, 91n13; legislation and 67–68, 85 Liberzon, Israel ix, xiv Liede, Alfred 132n4 Life After People (television series) 66 Light, Andrew 41 Literary Animal, The: Evolution and the Nature of Narrative (Gottschall and Wilson) 26 literary criticism 24–25, 47, 88 literary madness 120–126, 132n4; definition 124–125, 133n8; Derrida and 125–126, 134n12; Foucault and 133n9, n10; idiomatic descriptions 119–120, 126, 129, 131; monstrosity and 122, 123, 124, 130, 131, 133n6; in Shakespeare 120–121, 122, 124, 127, 128, 129, 132; silencing and 125–126, 134n10, 134n11, 134n 13; see also madness literary theory 62 Literature of Waste, The: Material Ecopoetics and Ethical Matter (Morrison) 137–138, 155n5 Liu, Xinmin 58 locavore diet 97, 99, 117n16 loss of agency see agency, loss of Louv, Richard 74n15, 82, 103 Love, Glen 25 Lyman, Howard 116n9 Macbeth (Shakespeare) 127–128 MacDonald, Michael 126 MacDonald, Scott 61 MacGregor, Sherilyn 72 Mackenzie, Louisa 2–3, 16n2 MaddAddam (Atwood) 96 madness 119–132, 133n7; Bethlem Royal Hospital and 123, 126–127; definition 124; environmental ethics and 121, 124, 129–130, 131, 132; fear of foreign and 121–122; hysteria and 127, 128; idiomatic

descriptions 119–120, 126, 129; monstrosity and 122, 123, 124, 130, 131, 133n6; nocturnal behavior and 131, 135n22; as nonhuman and animalistic 119, 124, 126–127, 130–131, 132n1, 135n21; otherness and 125, 126; scholarship deficit 15, 119, 131; in Shakespeare 120–121, 122, 124, 127, 128, 129, 132; silencing 125–126, 134n10, 134n11, 134n13; “wilderness zone” thesis 119; Wild Man myth 129–130; witchcraft and 127–128; see also literary madness maladaptive behaviors xi, xii, xiv, 136; ecophobia/biophilia spectrum and 2, 23–24, 52–53; waste and 143, 150, 153; see also adaptive behaviors male hero 18n19, 55, 60, 61, 74n11 Malm, Andreas 83, 87–88, 90n4 Malombra (Fogazzaro) 6 Mannon, Ethan 3–4 Markegard Family Grass-Fed Farm 116n12 marketability of ecophobia 8–9, 22, 37, 47. See also ecomedia, marketing and Marlowe, Christopher 15 Marshall, George 55, 56 Martin, Randall 121 Mason, Jim 77n39, 101, 109–110, 114 material agency 22; see also agency material ecocriticism ix, 22, 24–28, 32, 41; see also ecocriticism Material Ecocriticism (Iovino and Oppermann) 25, 28 material feminism 22; see also feminism and feminist theory McCabe, Janet G. 75n19 McCance, Dawne 90n3 McCarthy, Cormac 39, 96 McCarthy, Gina 75n19 McDonald’s 71 McEwan, Ian 20, 25, 31 McGoran, Jon 96 McKusick, James 6 McMurry, Andrew 58 McVay, Scott 9 Meadows, Donella 104 meat production 14–15, 19n25, 22–23, 55, 71, 73n8; antibiotics and hormones in 95, 104; climate change and 74n8, 78, 91n12;

192 Index consumption and social class 92; dismemberment and 103–104; Eating Animals 98, 101–102, 115; ecomedia on 96–99; GHG emissions from 34n9, 73n8, 91n12, 92–93; grain required for 110, 116n7, 117n13; My Year of Meats 96, 104–107; omitted from climate change discussion 104; Polyface Farm 97, 98, 115, 116n11, 116n 12; speciesism and 97–98, 103; unsustainability of “ethical,” 97, 116n12; waste in 74n8, 96, 116n7; see also ethics, meat production and; food; vegetarian- and veganism media, mainstream 35, 36–37, 44, 76n25, 96, 105; nature representations in 13, 42, 139–140; waste representations in 15, 148; see also climate change, media representations of; ecomedia; terror narratives Meeker, Joseph 10 Mehan, Uppinder 42–43 Meyer, Stephenie 5 Miall, David 62 misogyny 22, 33n4 Mitchell, W.J.T. 13 Mockingjay (Collins) 96 Moe, Aaron 6 Monani, Salma 65–66, 69 Monsanto 107, 110, 112–113 monstrosity, madness and 122, 123, 124, 130, 131, 133n6 Moore, Jason W. 86 morality 20, 62–65, 100; see also ethics Morrison, Susan Signe 137–138, 155n5 Mortimer-Sandilands, Catriona 6–7, 17n11 Morton, Timothy 4, 5, 22, 90n6, 91n9, 146 Moser, Susanne C. xi, xii, 73n5 Muiderslot 50, 51n10 Murphy, Bernice M. 5 Murphy, Cullen 154n2 Murphy, Patrick 60 Murray, Gilbert 40 Museums of Madness (Scull) 126 Mystical Bedlam (MacDonald) 126 My Year of Meats (Ozeki) 96, 104–107

Nabhan, Gary Paul 98–99, 114 Namdaemun 50, 51n10 narcissism 53 narrative science 54–55 “Narrativizing Science” (Estok) 75n23 National Geographic Channel 66 nationalism 113 natural disasters 49; ecomedia on 54, 60; naming of, and subjectivity 41 “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence” (Cochran and Harpending) 30 nature deficit disorder 75n15, 82, 103 Neely, Carol Thomas 124, 128, 132n1 Neimanis, Astrida 56, 57, 75n18, 75n23, 84; capitalism and 86; scale issues and 79 neurology, fear and xiv Newman, Karen 122 new materialism 28, 79 New Orleans, Louisiana 50, 51n10 news see climate change, media representations of; ecomedia; media, mainstream; terror narratives “New Study Says Climate Change Helped Spark Syrian Civil War” (Holthaus) 37 New York Magazine 30 New York Times 83, 101 Nichols, Ashton 6 Nichols, Bill 45 Nierenberg, Danielle 23, 34n9 9/11, 35, 38, 39, 50 Nixon, Rob 44, 53, 56, 65, 79, 151, 152 nocturnal behavior of madness 131 nonhuman animals x, 34n9; agentic capacity of 79; bare life concept and 39; biophilia in 16n4, 23–24; farm animal industry 23, 34n9, 55, 73n8; invisibility of 80–81, 85, 89; legal standing of 134n15; madness and 119, 124, 126–127, 131, 132n1, 135n21; omission of, from discussions about environmental destruction 85, 89; pejorative idioms featuring 126, 131, 134n14; pollution and biosphere refashioning by 21, 86, 137, 153; relatedness and 87; speciesism 16, 97–98, 103, 106, 134n14; see also agency, nonhuman; meat production; vegetarian- and veganism

Index  193 novel form 104 numbness and immobilization 67, 148; ecomedia and 53, 73n5, 73n6; terror and climate change narratives and 35, 36–37, 40, 41–42, 44, 49; see also indifference nutrition industry 97, 116n10 objectification 104 Odds Against Tomorrow (Rich) 31 Omnivore’s Dilemma, The (Pollan) 97, 115 On Garbage (Scanlan) 149 On Human Nature (Wilson) 20 Oppenheimer, J. Robert 112 Oppermann, Serpil ix, 4, 25, 28, 90n5; backlash and 99, 117n17 Oreskes, Naomi 76n29 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 92 Orians, Gordon H. 25 Oryx and Crake (Atwood) 96 Ostrer, Harry 30 Ostrom, Elinor 87 Othello (Shakespeare) 120, 122, 132 otherness: madness and 125, 126; nonhuman animals and 79–80, 90n6; silencing and 125; waste and 155n5 Ottum, Lisa 6 Oxford English Dictionary xiii Ozeki, Ruth 96, 104–107 pain 40 Palumbo-Liu, David 106 Parham, John 63, 69, 71 Paris Climate Accord 91n11 Park, Ondine 85 Parmiter, Tara K. 5 Parrino, Maria 6 partiarchy 77n38, 90n7, 95, 104, 107; see also capitalism Paster, Gail Kern 129 Peers, Edgar Allison 132n1 penguins, Chinstrap 21, 24 peripeteia 40 Perlmutter, David 115n6 personal connections 130, 135n20 personifcation of nature 60, 141; gendered/sexist 45, 72, 74n9 pesticides 116n6 phobias ix, xiii, xiv, 8, 17n5; definition 1, 12, 16n1; see also fear physical science xii, 8, 87–88

Pickard, Richard 4 pillage and scorch development 12 Pitt, Brad 54 Plait, Phil 86–87 Planet of the Apes (film 1968) 74n11 Plant Horror (Keetley and Tenga) 5–6 Plato 2 PMLA (journal) 138, 146 “Politics of Ecophobia, The” (Will) 10 Pollan, Michael 96–98, 110, 115, 116n10 pollution x, 15; created by nonhuman animals 21, 86, 137, 153; from e-waste recycling 155n7; GHG emissions 34n9, 52, 64, 73n8, 84, 91n12, 92–93; in ocean 140, 155n6; in space 65, 76n27; in Wall-E 142 Polyface Farm 97, 98, 115, 116n11, 116n 12 population size 21, 153 post-9/11 narratives 13, 35, 36, 38–40, 42–43, 93; see also terror narratives Posthumus, Stephanie 3, 16n2 Postlethwaite, Pete 61 “Postscript on Biosemiotics” (Wheeler) 27 practical change 53 pre-trauma concept 40–41 Price, Cheryl Blake 6 privilege 148 protein 98, 117n15 proximity 40, 42, 143; meat production and 97; of waste to habitat 153; see also scale Pruitt, Scott 61, 75n19 psychology xii, 119–132 Psychology of the Emotions (Ribot) xiii Ptashne, Mark 31 Puar, Jasbir 43, 51n7 Publisher’s Weekly 99 Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (Douglas) 138 Queer Ecologies: Sex, Nature, Politics, Desire (Gaard) 7 “Queer Ecology” (Morton) 5 queer theory, terror and 51n7 racism 10, 16, 22, 33n4, 64; ecomedia and 55; environmental 150–151, 153, 157n18, 158n20; nonhuman

194 Index animal comparisons 134n14; Othello and 121, 122; terror narratives and 36 Rathje, William 154n2 refuse, term defined 154n2; see also waste Reiger, Branimir M. 133n8 renewable energy 57, 76n33 Reno, Seth 6 repetition, effecting change through 80, 103, 118n23 reproduction and superabundance 21 restraint 98, 117n14 Rethinking Tragedy (Felski) 46 Ribot, Théodule xiii Rich, Adrienne 18n22 Rich, Nathaniel 31 Rigby, Kate 7, 89 Ringelberg, Kalli Elizabeth 123 Risch, Neil 30 risk theories 48, 112 “River Notes from the Montana Flathead Reservation: An Update on the ‘Ecological Indian” (Grandjeat) 7 Road, The (McCarthy) 39, 96 Robin, Marie-Monique 111 Robisch, S. K. (Kip) 2–7, 10, 22 Rolston, Holmes, III 41 rot 142, 156n11; see also waste “Rotting Fish in Paradise: Putrefaction, Ecophobia, and Olfactory Imaginations of Southern California” (Weidner) 7 rubbish, term defined 154n2; see also waste rubbish ecology 147–148 Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage (Rathje and Murphy) 154n2 Ruddiman, William F. 84 Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture, The: Backwoods Horror and Terror in the Wilderness (Murphy) 5 Rust, Stephen 65–66, 69, 73n1 Salatin, Joel 97, 98, 115, 116n11, 116n12 Salkeld, Duncan 124 Samoilova, Gulnara 38 sanitization 17n5, 137, 139 Sansay, Leonora 6 scale 40, 78–89; of agentic capacity 79; of animal abuse 14, 80, 85, 89; capitalism and 85–86, 91n15;

changing concepts of 85, 87, 88–89; of climate change’s effects 84; climate change understandings and 83, 88–89; consilience leads to reimagining 88–89; ecomedia and 55–56; expanding ethical circle 41, 71, 80, 82, 89, 125; perception of 55–56, 79, 83, 85, 89; of pollution 137, 140; proximity to nature 82; proximity to tragedy 40, 81; spatial 79, 82; temporal 55–56, 59, 74n10, 79 scale-framing 79, 82, 89 scale of human influence see Anthropocene Scanlan, John 149, 157n18 Scarry, Elaine 40 science: ecophobic unconscious belief in 136; physical/social xii 8, 87–88 science narratives 54–55 Scranton, Roy 83 Scull, Andrew 126 seasonal eating 94, 99, 115n5 Secret History; or, The Horrors of St. Domingo (Sansay) 6 seeds, terminator gene in 108–109, 113 seed saving 108 Seeds of Death (documentary) 113 Seigworth, Gregory 49 Senior, Jennifer 30 September 11, 2001, 35, 38, 39, 50 sexism 10, 16, 23, 33n4, 106; capitalism and 64; ecophobia’s marketability through 54, 73n7; male hero role 18n19, 55, 60, 61, 74n11; misogyny 22, 33n4; nonhuman animal comparisons 134n14; personifications of nature and 45, 72, 74n9 Sexual Politics of Meat, The: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory 103–104 Seymour, Nicole 58 Shakespeare, William 15, 120–121, 122, 124, 129, 134n15; madness and 120–121, 122, 124, 127, 128, 129, 132 Shepard, Paul 81, 87, 123 Shields, Rob 85 Shin, Lisa M. ix, xiv Shiva, Vandana 95, 107, 112, 114 Shukin, Nicole 108 silencing 125–126, 134n10, 134n11, 134n13

Index  195 Silent Spring (Carson) ix Singer, Peter 47, 77n39, 101, 109–110, 114 Slovic, Paul 48, 73n6 Slovic, Scott xii, 4, 19n25, 58, 73n6 Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Nixon) 151 small farmers 111 Smith, Andrew 5 Smith, Bruce 84 Smith, Jeffrey 110 Sobel, David 10–11, 18n20 social class: classism 16; garbage and 150, 156n16, 156n17, 156n18; meat and 92; pollution and 158n20 social issues 73n3 social science xii, 87–88 Solar (McEwan) 20, 31 South Korea 150, 152, 153 space junk 65, 76n27 speciesism 16, 97–98, 103, 106, 134n14; see also nonhuman animals species leaping 108 “Spectators to Future Ruin” (Estok) 63 Speth, Gus 85 Spiegelman, Art 42 Spira, David S. xiii Stallybrass, Peter 128 Starosielski, Nicole 69–70 Statue of Liberty 65 Stein, Rachel 108–109 Steiner, George 40 Stolen Harvest (Shiva) 107 Stone, Linda 56, 74n13 Stoppani, Antonio 90n2 St. Paul’s Cathedral 50, 51n10 Stuart, Tristram 14–15, 158n21 sublimity 148 suffering 40, 100, 101–102 Sullivan, Heather 139 Summers, Lawrence 151 survival strategies see adaptive behaviors; maladaptive behaviors sustainability 71 sustainable citizen concept 91n13 Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and the Environment (Starosielski and Walker) 69–70 Swim, Janet K. xii Syria 37 Szabo-Jones, Lisa 92 Szasz, Thomas 127

Taylor, Jesse Oak xi Taylor, Matthew A. 4–5 Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities (Siperstein, Hall, and LeManager) 118n25 Tenga, Angela 6 10,000 Year Explosion, The (Cochran and Harpending) 29–30 terminator genes 108–109, 113 terror, veganism as 93 terror and climate change narratives 14, 32, 35–51; bare life concept and 39; Daish and 37, 118n29; fear and 35, 40, 43–44, 46–47; interdependence of 35; isolation and exceptionalism and 37–39, 46; loss of agency and unpredictability and 40–41, 46–47, 48; numbness and 35, 36–37, 40, 41–42, 44, 49; overexposure to 41–42, 44; personalized narratives of 42; post-9/11 narratives 13, 35, 36, 38–40, 42–43, 93; pre-trauma and 41; responses to trauma and 39; risk theory and 48; siege perception 43–44; speed of events 44; tragedy and 35, 40, 44–46 Terrorist Assemblages (Puar) 43 “Theorizing in a Space of Ambivalent Openness: Ecocriticism and Ecophobia” (Estok) 2–7, 12, 17n11, 17n12 theory: ecocriticism and 99; Estok-Robisch controversy and 2–7; phobia of 117n17 Thiher, Allen 131 Thill, Brian 138, 139, 141, 149, 151, 157n19 This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate (Klein) 65, 70, 76n24, 85 Thomas, Keith 126, 130, 131 Thornber, Karen 33n7, 144, 146 time, concept of 49, 50 tobacco industry 67–68, 76n29 Tomorrowland (film) 52, 53 tourism 151, 156n16, 156n19 tragedy 18n19; definitions 10, 40, 45, 50; new tragic theory 46; pollution and 137, 155n3; scale and 35, 40, 44–46, 45; tragic theory 35, 40–41, 44–46 transcorporeality 41; definition 156n15

196 Index transvaluing nature 87 trash, term defined 154n2; see also waste Trexler, Adam 31 Trinity atomic test 112 Trump, Donald 23, 76n25, 115, 134n14 Trump Administration 91n11 Tuan, Yi-Fu 7–8, 34n12, 121, 129 2012 (film) 60–61 Ulrich, Roger 22 “Unconscious, The” (Freud), xiii United Nations 73n8 United States: American exceptionalism 46; American isolationism 38; food power of 110–111, 118n28; food waste in 151, 152, 153; meat consumption in 92, 105–106, 110 unpredictability 48, 73n7, 120, 143; fear of 15, 40, 48, 128; terror and climate change narratives and 40–41, 46–47, 48 “Unsettling the Environment” (Groeneveld) 6 Upstream Color (film) 58 US Food and Drug Administration 111 van Tine, Robert 11 Vaughan, Hunter 73n7, 75n20 “Vegans and the Quest for Purity” (Fromm) 99–101, 117n19 Vegan Studies Project, The (Wright) 14, 93, 115n2 “Vegetable Monsters: Man-Eating Trees in Fin-De-Siècle Fiction” (Price) 6 vegetarian- and veganism 14, 19n25, 74n8, 91n12; ethics and 101–102; Fromm and 99–101; judgments toward 93, 99–101, 115n2, 117n19; legislating 85; protein argument 98, 117n15; as threatening to dominant paradigm 93; see also food; meat production violence 13, 43–44, 53, 71, 89 virtual reality 59, 82 Walker, Janet 69–70 Wall-E (film) 136, 142 Walzer, Michael 157n18 war 13 war on terror 36

waste: “Above the Water, Under the Water,” 15, 144–146, 149, 156n16, 156n17; “awayness” and 139, 143, 144–146, 147, 153; conflated with dirt 138–139; danger of 140; disposability concept and 139; electronic 140, 155n7; food 74n8, 95, 96, 116n7, 140, 152, 155n8, 158n21; Garbage: A Poem 15, 143, 146–147, 149–150; in meat production 74n8, 96, 116n7; natural/artificial borders of 142; normalizing 156n14; as other 155n5; research and literature deficit 148, 155n5; rot and decay in literature 156n11; social class and 149–150, 156n16, 156n17; as sublime 147; term defined 154n2; unpredictability of 143; Wall-E and 142; see also agency, of garbage Wasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts (Bauman) 138 waste infrastructure x, xiv waste production 12, 15, 17n4 Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal (Stuart) 158n21 water 73n8 Watson, James Robert 38 Way We Eat, The: Why Our Food Choices Matter (Singer and Mason) 109, 114–115 weapons of mass destruction 49 weather events: extreme 84; in King Lear 120–121; natural disasters 41, 49–50, 54, 60; see also climate change Weber, Elke U. 48 weeds 156n13 Weidner, Ned 7, 156n11 Weis, Tony 92, 93, 116n9 Weisman, Alan 66 Wheeler, Wendy 27, 29, 32 White, Hayden 129 “Whose there is there there? Queer Directions and Ecocritical Orientations” (Mortimer-Sandilands) 6–7 Wild Man image 129–130 Wild Men in the Middle Ages (Bernheimer) 129–130 Wilkins, Gregory 82, 90n8 Will, George F. 10, 11 Williams, George 24, 28

Index  197 Williams, Raymond 46 Willoquet-Maricondi, Paula 63 Wilson, E. O. xii, 20, 88 Wilson, E. O., biophilia concept by 2, 47, 82, 154; Fromm, Erich and 8; genetic materialism and 12, 22, 28, 31, 32; introduction and definition ix–x, 8, 9; “surface ethics” and 33n5; see also biophilia hypothesis, problems of; ecophobia/ biophilia spectrum Windup Girl, The (Bacigalupi) 96 Winerman, Lea xiv witchcraft 127–128 Wolfe, Cary 79, 134n15 women 23, 54, 64; ecomedia and 74n11; hysteria and 127, 128; meat eating and 103–104, 105–106; nonhuman animal comparisons 134n14; witchcraft and 127–128 Won-Chung Kim 152 Woodbridge, Linda 135n22 “Woodshed, The: A Response to ‘Ecocriticism and Ecophobia’” (Robisch) 3

Wordsworth and the Green Romantics: Affect and Ecology in the Nineteenth Century (Ottum and Reno) 6 World According to Monsanto, The (film) 111 World According to Monsanto, The (Galeano) 111 World Bank 151 World War II 112, 118n28 World War Z (film) 54, 73n7 World Without Us, The (Weisman) 66 Wright, Laura 14, 93, 115n2 Wu Chanje 146, 152 Y2K 133n5 Yaeger, Patricia 15, 138, 143, 146, 147–148 Year of the Flood, The (Atwood) 96 Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, The (Garrard) 2–3 Yılmaz, Zümre Gizem 58 Zeder, Melinda 84 Zoopoetics: Animals and the Making of Poetry (Moe) 6 zoos x