The Go Green Reads discussion group meets to discuss Ecopiety: Green Media and the Dilemma of Environmental Piety by Sarah McFarland Taylor. This unique book examines the intersections of environmental sensibilities, contemporary expressions of devotion and reverence, and American popular culture. The author asserts it is through a framework of play and delight that we can make the fundamental structural changes needed to meaningfully address climate change. Luckily for us, the author is Winnetka resident and Northwestern University Associate Professor of Religious and Environmental Studies, Sarah McFarland Taylor, who is leading this discussion!
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About the book: Confident that your personal good deeds of environmental virtue will save the earth? The stories we encounter about the environment in popular culture too often promote an imagined moral economy, assuring us that tiny acts of voluntary personal piety, such as recycling a coffee cup, or purchasing green consumer items, can offset our destructive habits. No need to make any fundamental structural changes. The trick is simply for the consumer to buy the right things and shop our way to a greener future.
It's time for a reality check. Ecopiety offers an absorbing examination of the intersections of environmental sensibilities, contemporary expressions of piety and devotion, and American popular culture. Ranging from portrayals of environmental sin and virtue such as the eco-pious depiction of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, to the green capitalism found in the world of mobile-device "carbon sin-tracking" software applications, to the socially conscious vegetarian vampires in True Blood, the volume illuminates the work pop culture performs as both a mirror and an engine for the greening of American spiritual and ethical commitments. Taylor makes the case that it is not through a framework of grim duty or obligation, but through one of play and delight, that we may move environmental ideals into substantive action.
"This book could not come at a more urgent time; as the costs of human life and consumerism become clearer in the environmental crises of the planet, McFarland Taylor offers us a brilliant, compelling analysis of how discourses of virtue are used to re-direct the global climate crisis from a collective politics to the choices of individual consumers. The book explores green consumer marketing in the frame of ecopiety by examining a variety of practices, from cars to reality television to mediated popular cultural narratives about vampires to green burials, and in the process offers not only a trenchant critique but also possible alternatives to individualist consumption as a way to virtuously ‘save the planet.’” ― Sarah Banet-Weiser, Head of Media and Communications, London School of Economics
Read an excerpt of Ecopiety here!
About the author: Sarah McFarland Taylor is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and in the Program in Environmental Policy and Culture at Northwestern University. She is the award-winning author of Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology. Discover more about the author here.
The Go Green Reads discussions are free and open to the public. This discussion group started in the spring of 2017. They focus on environmental and sustainable topics such as consumption, waste management, farming/gardening, native plants, water, capitalism, and climate change, just to name a few. The goal of Go Green Reads is to spread awareness and inspire collective and individual action. In addtion to discussing books, the group screens movies, engages speakers, and organizes local field trips.
Tackles a human problem we all share―the fate of the earth and our role in its future