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Abstract

We dedicate this series of articles to Jim Kopp, gentle bear of a man and utopian scholar, who patiently introduced us to the immense related literature and keygures in Oregon's history. Though Jim did not live to see the fruits of our collective labors, his inuence shines throughout these writings. We also acknowledgenancial support via the John Templeton Foundation. Though only occasionally labeled as such, ecotopias feature abundantly in contemporary environmental discourse. Popularlms, such as Avatar and 2012, address the desire for a more perfect union between the human and the nonhuman, and do so by imaginatively depicting what such a union might look like. Abiding and ephemeral gatherings of people across the United States (and globally as well) attempt to synco- pate the communitarian impulse with ecological well-being. This dynamic—the deployment of ecological ideals as tools of social and economic organization—is widely cited by journalists working to * The publication of this and a number of future issues of the JSRNC focusing on religion, nature, and science are being facilitated by a grant from the Metanexus Institute, with additional support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Ofce of Research, and the Departments of Anthropology and Religion, at the Uni- versity of Florida. The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and the editors of this journal, gratefully acknowledge this support—Bron Taylor, JSRNC Editor-in-Chief.
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____________________________________________
Guest Editors- Introduction:
Imagining Ecotopia*
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Article
Full-text available
James Graham Ballard was a contemporary British novelist who published a wide variety of works ranging from climate fiction to transgressive fiction. “The Ultimate City” (1976) is one of Ballard’s short stories that portrays a dystopian vision where a utopian urban experiment transforms into a catastrophe. The story tells the attempt of the protagonist, Halloway and his company to reanimate a city that was abandoned years ago due to oil depletion. Halloway aims to bring the city back to life through the limited amount of oil left in the city, only to confront chaos and disorder. Using the concepts of Ecotopia and petroculture, this article aims to explore the ways in which oil shapes and destroys modern societies and possible alternatives to this predicament in Ballard’s work. To this end, after a theoretical discussion of these concepts, the article examines the ecotopian features in the ecological community in the text and compares it to the consumerist culture of the metropolis; and later addresses the problem of oil that is an essential component of modern urban life. This part of the article reveals the degree of dependence on oil and the transformative power associated with it through examples from the story. The article argues that “The Ultimate City” is a premonition to the reader concerning the current energy politics that may culminate in a total disaster unless necessary steps are taken.
Chapter
This paper considers the contribution of climate fiction to the field of sustainability communication, given the ability of such popular culture narratives to explore future socioecological impacts of and responses to climate change. Climate fiction offers opportunities to engage the wider public in imagining and reflecting on the implications of current consumption/production practices on future generations, ranging from future system collapse to resilience and transformation. The paper examines a selection of novels and films, noting thematic trends of dystopian, apocalyptic, techno-fantasy and sustainability narratives as to their role helping or undermining sustainability communication goals regarding the climate crisis and sustainability transitions.
Book
From Native American myths and the accounts of explorers and settlers to the contemporary explosion of poetry and prose, O'Connell finds a sense of the Northwest as a spiritual homeland to be a common thread. Copyright © 2003 by the University of Washington Press. All rights reserved.
Article
This book analyzes the relationship between the imagination of the global and the ethical commitment to the local in environmentalist thought and writing from the 1960s to the present. Part I critically examines the emphasis on local identities and communities in North American environmentalism by establishing conceptual connections between environmentalism and ecocriticism, on one hand, and theories of globalization, transnationalism, and cosmopolitanism, on the other. It proposes the concept of "eco-cosmopolitanism" as a shorthand for envisioning these connections and the cultural and aesthetic forms into which they translate. Part II focuses on conceptualizations of environmental danger and connects environmentalist and ecocritical thought with the interdisciplinary field of risk theory in the social sciences, arguing that environmental justice theory and ecocriticism stand to benefit from closer consideration of the theories of cosmopolitanism that have arisen in this field from the analysis of transnational communities at risk. Both parts of the book combine in-depth theoretical discussion with detailed analyses of novels, poems, films, computer software, and installation artworks from the United States and abroad that translate new connections between global, national, and local forms of awareness into innovative aesthetic forms combining allegory, epic, and views of the planet as a whole with modernist and postmodernist strategies of fragmentation, montage, collage, and zooming.
Article
This paper examines the ways in which utopianism permeates both radical and reformist environmentalism. Utopianism has created 'ecotopia', the radical environmentalist's utopia which has evolved from writing and action over the past half century. Ecotopianism's 'transgressive' potential in assisting change towards an ecological society is examined, and judged to be limited by idealism and unrealistic assessments of existing socio-economic dynamics. Reformist environmentalism is also considered; it is argued that this, too, can rest on unrealistic premises, reflecting liberal-capitalist utopian fantasies.
  • Ernest Callenbach
Callenbach, Ernest. 1990. Ecotopia (New York: Bantam Books).
Building Ecotopia', The Economist
  • Natasha Loder
Loder, Natasha. 2008. 'Building Ecotopia', The Economist, 19 November. Online: http://www.economist.com/node/12494612.
Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place
  • William Vitek
  • Wes Jackson
Vitek, William, and Wes Jackson. 1996. Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place (New Haven: Yale University Press).
Ecological Utopias: Envisioning the Sustainable Society
  • Marius De Geus
de Geus, Marius. 1999. Ecological Utopias: Envisioning the Sustainable Society (Utrecht: International Books).
‘'The Novel That Predicted Portland’
  • Scott Timberg
Timberg, Scott. 2008. ‘'The Novel That Predicted Portland’', The New York Times, 12
The New Utopia', House Beautiful
  • Marie Nygren
  • Smith Hanes
Nygren, Marie, and Smith Hanes. 2011. 'The New Utopia', House Beautiful, December/January. Online: http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/ serenbe-community-1210?click=main_sr.
‘'Why Treasure Island is the Super Green City of the Future’
  • Logan Ward
Ward, Logan. 2009. ‘'Why Treasure Island is the Super Green City of the Future’', Popular Mechanics, 1 October. Online: http://www.popularmechanics.com/ science/environment/4239381.