Techno-Utopianism & the Fate of the Earth

The Techno-Utopian & the Fate of the Earth Teach-In brought together 45+ leading scholars, authors, and activists at The Great Hall of The Cooper Union, New York City, for a public ‘Teach-In” on the profound impacts— environmental, economic and social—of runaway technological expansionism, and cyber immersion; the tendency to see technology as the savior for all problems. A change of direction is still required, returning the fate of nature to the center of economic and social decision making.

We’ve archived all of the videos from the event below, with special thanks to IFG (where this material is adapted from). The original program is available here. Audio versions of the videos are available here.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 10AM-10PM

I. TECHNOLOGY VS. NATURE

Technological innovation, celebrated throughout history, has had profound effects upon Nature, and human beings– our ways of thought, operating systems, power structures, and how we experience our own existence. This is especially so in the new cyber-tech world. Justifications still range from humanity’s “unquenchable thirst” for knowledge, to the imperatives of economic growth, wealth and power in our economic system, to the acclaimed search to bring comfort and happiness to a global population. So, how have we done? What have been the trade offs? Meanwhile, spectacular, dreadful impacts continue and accelerate. Immediate change is required in our thinking, behavior, values and economies, before Nature and human society are terminated.
10:00AM–11:30AM OPENING PANEL
This panel is introduced by Ralph White of the New York Open Center.
Mander-Jerry

Jerry Mander (IFG): Questions We Should Have Asked About Technology
click here for video
Heinberg_Richard

Richard Heinberg (Post Carbon Institute): The Party’s Over

Mittal_Anuradha

Anuradha Mittal, India (Oakland Institute): Stealing Nature

Kimbrell_Andrew

Andrew Kimbrell (ICTA): The End of Market Capitalism?

 

11:30–1:30PM CLASH OF WORLDVIEWS
This panel is introduced by Linda Sheehan of the Earth Law Center.
Crist_Eileen

Eileen Crist (Virginia Tech): Confronting Anthropocentrism

Butler_Tom

Tom Butler (Foundtn for Deep Ecology): The Language of Dominion

Krall_Lisi

Lisi Krall (State U. of NY): The Economic Evolution Of Dominion

Griffin_Susan

Susan Griffin (“Woman & Nature”): Speed, Consciousness & Quantification

no video
Spretnak_Charlene

Charlene Spretnak (“The Resurgence of the Real”): Dynamic InterrelatednessAudio Player

 

1:30PM–1:45PM BREAK

 

1:45PM–3:15PM NATURE’S PRESENCE & OUR AWARENESS
This panel is introduced by Stephanie Mills, author of Turning Away from Technology.
Ehrenfeld_David

David Ehrenfeld (Rutgers Univ.): De-extinction and Its Residue Problems

No video

Tompkins_Doug

Doug Tompkins (Deep Ecology Found’n): Technology & Nature/Clash of Concepts

Thompson_Reynolds_Mary

Mary Reynolds Thompson (Author): Reclaiming The Wild Soul

No video

Jackson_Wes

Wes Jackson (The Land Institute): Nature Is the Final Measure (1)

click here for video

 

II. TECHNO-SOLUTIONISM: BUILDING SUBSTITUTE NATURE

With the planet depleted, overbuilt and poisoned, wild nature and its great gifts are disappearing. The economic challenge for a growth economy is to save itself by building entirely new resource bases to replace the old ones: New genetic foods, new genetic people and beings, new chemical skies to replace old ones (the victims of climate change), new molecular systems, new weaponry on earth and soon, in space, et. al.. For corporations, innovation solves the problem: Ignore the mess, create saleable “green” false solutions, and build and market “substitute nature” for uninterrupted product development and growth.
3:15PM–4:00PM FALSE SOLUTIONS
This panel is introduced by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute.
Huesemann_Michael

Michael Huesemann (Author, “Techno-Fix”): Why Technology Can’t Save Us

No video

Greer_JohnMichael

John M. Greer (Author, “The Wealth of Nature”): False Promises

 

4:00PM–6:15PM THE QUEST FOR “NEW NATURE”
This panel is introduced by Tom Butler of the Foundation for Deep Ecology.
Hamilton_Clive

Clive Hamilton, Australia (“Playing God with Climate”): Geo-Engineering/New Skies

Mooney_Pat

Pat Mooney, Canada (ETC. Group): Nanotechnology/New Earth

Barker_Debbie

Debbie Barker (Center for Food Safety): GMOs/Corporate Techno-Food

No video

Thomas_Jim

Jim Thomas, Canada (ETC. Group): Synthetic Biology/Designing New Life Forms

click here for video
Film Excerpt (Bregtje van der Haak): DNA Dreams (5 min.)
Kimbrell_Andrew

Andrew Kimbrell (ICTA): Genetic Redesign of Human Beings

No video
Singer_Katie

Katie Singer (“An Electronic Silent Spring”): EMR: Radiation Soup

click here for video

 

6:15PM–6:45PM BREAK

 

6:45PM–7:45PM SPECIAL GUESTS’ COMMENTARIES
This panel is introduced by Jerry Mander of the International Forum on Globalization.
Nader_Ralph

Ralph Nader (Center for Responsive Law), Author, Unstoppable

McKibben_Bill

Bill McKibben (350.org), Author, The End of NatureAudio Player

 

7:45PM–10:00PM “FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND” (Truman on the A-Bomb); NUKES, DRONES, MILITARY ROBOTS
This panel is introduced by Koohan Paik of the International Forum on Globalization.
Paik_Koohan

Koohan Paik, Guam/Korea/US (IFG): Marketing Nukes, Drones & Robots

Caldicott_Helen

Helen Caldicott, Australia (Physicians for Social Responsibility): Hiroshima, Fukushima & Beyond

click here for video
Film Excerpt: Paradise Lost (15 min.)
Laukon_Neisen

Neisen Laukon, Marshall Islands: Present at the Birth

Gagnon_Bruce

Bruce Gagnon (Global Network vs. Weapons in Space): Space Tech & Corporate Full Spectrum Dominance

click here for video
Film Excerpt: Robotic Takeover of the Military (5 min.)
Smith_Gar

Gar Smith (Earth Island Institute): Robots, Nature and the Singularity

No video

 

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 10AM-7:30PM

III.  CYBER ENVELOPMENT & HUMAN AWARENESS

We once lived in contact with wild Nature, and in-close human community; connected, embedded. Handing the future to technology, innovation, industrialization, and expansionist growth, human connection is now largely with machines, manufactured projected imagery, and cyber systems, generated from far-away mega-powers. A new kind of alienation, from Nature and from self, has appeared. We are enveloped by manufactured imagery and tech processes; they immerse society and become part of each of us. Does“Nature” exist anymore? Are we happy now?
10:00AM–12:30PM LIFE INSIDE THE MACHINE
This panel is introduced by Charlene Spretnak, author of The Resurgence of the Real.
Winner_Langdon

Langdon Winner (Rensselaer Polytech Inst.): Power Fantasies at the End of Modernism

Film Excerpt (Bregtje Van der Haak): TechMan (5 min.)
Rushkoff_Douglas

Douglas Rushkoff (CUNY Queens): Present Shock: Everything Is Now

Bowers_Chet

Chet Bowers: Techno-Language vs. Nature

No Video
Mills_Stephanie

Stephanie Mills: Everyday Life in the Modern World

No video

Enns_Aiden

Aiden Enns, Canada: (Geez Magazine): Life Offline

 No video
Holdrege_Craig

Craig Holdrege (Nature Inst.): Hyper-Real & Real/Humans in Cyber World Discussion

IV.  WHICH WAY OUT?  INGREDIENTS OF CHANGE

We start with the Primacy of Scale. Not large scale, small scale. Not global, local. Not faster, slower. Not more, less. Not top-down, bottom-up. Not private, shared. Not investor-owned, community owned. Not more tech, less tech. Not meta-economics, micro economics. Not competitive, collaborative. Not more trade, less trade. Not more energy, less energy. Not big business, small business. Where do we go from here?
12:30PM–2:30PM NOT GLOBALIZATION, LOCALIZATION
This panel is introduced by Debbie Barker of the Center for Food Safety.
Vandana_Shiva

Vandana Shiva, India (Navdanya): Introduction & Overview

Norberg-Hodge_Helena

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Sweden (Local Futures): Economics of Happiness

von Tscharner-Fleming_Severine

Severine von Tscharner-Fleming (Greenhorns): Young Farmers’ Movement

LaDuke_Winona

Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe): Keystone Pipeline on Native Lands?

Victor_Menotti

Victor Menotti (IFG): Keystone, Globalization, & the Koch Brothers

No video

Mayekiso_Mzwanele

Mzwanele Mayekiso, South Africa (iKweze Institute): Fighting Fracking & Mining, and Other Extractive Technologies in Africa

No video

King_David

David King, UK (Breaking the Frame): What Did the Luddites Say?

No video

 2:30PM–2:45PM BREAK

 

2:45PM–4:45PM INDIGENOUS VALUES & THE RIGHTS OF NATURE
This panel is introduced by Claire Greensfelder of INOCHI.
Armstrong_Jeannette

Jeannette Armstrong, Okanagan, Canada: Indigenous Economics

Sheehan_Linda

Linda Sheehan (Earth Law C’ter): Codifying Nature’s Rights in Human Law

Soltani_Atossa

Atossa Soltani, Iran/U.S. (Amazon Watch): Keep the Oil in the Ground

Gualinga_Patricia

Patricia Gualinga, Kechwa, Ecuador (Amazon Watch): Keep the Oil in the Ground

Tauli-Corpuz_Victoria

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Igorot, Philippines; UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

No video
Biggs_Shannon

Shannon Biggs (Global Exchange): Campaigning for Rights of Nature

4:45PM–7:00PM HYBRID ECONOMICS
This panel is introduced by Andrew Kimbrell of ICTA.
Thompson_Bruce

Bruce Thompson (CIIS): Ecological Economics

 No video
Hayes_Randy

Randy Hayes (Foundation Earth): True Cost Accounting

 No video
Heinberg_Richard

Richard Heinberg (Post Carbon Inst.): Steady-State Economics

No video

Farley_Joshua

Joshua Farley (U.Vermont): Economics & the Anthropocene

Krall_Lisi

Lisi Krall (State U. of NY): Wild Earth Economics

No video

Butler_Tom

Tom Butler (Deep Ecology): Rewilding

No video

Jackson_Wes

Wes Jackson (Land Institute): Nature Is the Final Measure (2)

No video
7:00-7:30 PM ALL PARTICIPANTS ON STAGE
Thank You

We are eternally grateful for the generous funding support that made this project possible. Special thanks to Foundation for Deep Ecology (Doug Tompkins), as well as Marian Weber, Peter & Mimi Buckley, CS Fund, Center for Food Safety, Marion Hunt, and Nancy Schaub.