Birth of a New Earth

The Radical Politics of Environmentalism

Adrian Parr

Columbia University Press

Birth of a New Earth

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Pub Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780231180092

328 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $28.00£22.95

Pub Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780231180085

328 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $85.00£70.95

Pub Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780231542456

328 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $27.99£22.95

Birth of a New Earth

The Radical Politics of Environmentalism

Adrian Parr

Columbia University Press

In response to unprecedented environmental degradation, activists and popular movements have risen up to fight the crisis of climate change and the ongoing devastation of the earth. The environmental movement has undeniably influenced even its adversaries, as the language of sustainability can be found in corporate mission statements, government policy, and national security agendas. However, the price of success has been compromise, prompting soul-searching and questioning of the politics of environmentalism. Is it a revolutionary movement that opposes the current system? Or is it reformist, changing the system by working within it?

In Birth of a New Earth, Adrian Parr argues that this is a false choice, calling for a shift from an opposition between revolution and incremental change to a renewed collective imagination. Parr insists that environmental destruction is at its core a problem of democratization and decolonization. It requires reckoning with militarism, market fundamentalism, and global inequality and mobilizing an alternative political vision capable of freeing the collective imagination in order to replace an apocalyptic mindset frozen by the spectacle of violence. Birth of a New Earth locates the emancipatory work of environmental politics in solidarities that can bring together different constituencies, fusing opposing political strategies and paradigms by working both inside and outside the prevailing system. She discusses experiments in food sovereignty, collaborative natural-resource management, and public-interest design initiatives that test new models of economic democratization. Ultimately, Parr proclaims, environmental politics is the refusal to surrender life to the violence of global capitalism, corporate governance, and militarism. This defiance can serve as the source for the birth of a new earth.
As Adrian Parr suggests in timely fashion, imagination may be the best weapon we have in the fight against environmental destruction, as useful as a new engine or a bigger windmill. Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
Birth of a New Earth is one of those rare and brilliant books that critiques the ongoing destruction of the environment in a writing style that is lyrical, compassionate, and as accessible as it is informative. Parr masterfully weaves together a language of critique and possibility and in doing so makes a convincing case for environmental and economic justice on a global scale and offers a powerful argument for rethinking the meaning and practice of politics. Henry Giroux, author of America at War with Itself
This is a prescient book, one that not only provides a rigorous and critical analysis of emergent environmentalisms but also charts how imaginations of a "new earth" can be forged at the limits of liberal democracy. In this sense, the book is as much about the political as it is about the environmental. It is a must-read for our times. Ananya Roy, author of Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development
"Environmentalism" will not survive this book. It will be frustrating and disappointing for many readers to discover that their good deeds to save the planet can be useless and even counterproductive; they may be nourishing the machine producing environmental degradation: global capitalism, corporate governance, and militarism. But they will also discover in this book stimulating windows to emancipatory imagining and transformative politics that really care for Mother Earth. Gustavo Esteva Figueroa, author of The Future of Development: A Radical Manifesto
Adrian Parr’s marvelous book Birth of a New Earth does not simply argue that capitalism, neoliberalism, and militarism are incompatible with environmental concerns but also provides concrete examples of how to overcome this incompatibility, which is the cause of our greatest natural, political, and social emergencies. Parr calls upon activists and intellectuals to forcefully resist false policies that claim to foster global sustainability in favor of radical interventions that, one local step at a time, will truly save the world. Santiago Zabala, author of Why Only Art Can Save Us
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Varying Shades of Green
2. Green Governmentality
3. Green Scare
4. Fascist Earth
5. Commonism
6. Welcome to the Dark Side of Dignity and Development
7. Urban Clear-Cutting
8. Protest Without People
9. So to Speak
Afterword
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Adrian Parr is chair and director of the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati and UNESCO Co-Chair of Water Access and Sustainability. Her books include Hijacking Sustainability (2009) and The Wrath of Capital: Neoliberalism and Climate Change Politics (Columbia, 2013). She is also the producer and codirector (with Sean Hughes) of the award-winning documentary The Intimate Realities of Water (2016).