The environmental movement is turning a brighter shade of green, and a new generation of activists and thinkers is overturning traditional ideas about how to achieve global sustainability. Instead of rejecting technological innovation and economic development as the source of our ecological woes, they say, we must embrace human ingenuity as a creative wellspring for responding to the environmental challenges of our age.
This interview is the first in a series of conversations that will expand and develop the exploration of “bright green” environmentalism that we kicked off in the Oct–Dec 2007 issue of WIE. This week, editor Ross Robertson speaks with integral ecologist and professor of philosophy Michael Zimmerman. A pioneer in applying the multidisciplinary approach of integral philosophy to environmental thought, Zimmerman has been investigating the delicate balance between ecological prudence and social and economic development since his days as a civil rights activist in the sixties. His work is marked by an unusual depth of knowledge and spans a broad range of interests in the cultural, political, ethical, and metaphysical dimensions of contemporary environmental questions.
In this engaging exchange, rich with original and stimulating ideas, Zimmerman and Robertson explore the transformations underway in environmentalism today. Out of their conversation, a much fuller and more hopeful vision of sustainable development emerges, one that opens the future to radical change.