Environmentalism and criticism of mechanical modernity

Dominique Bourg
Philosopher and Honorary Professor at Lausanne University

Opposing positions about the ecological transition are part of a long tradition. They pit those who espouse the age-old movement championing modernity against those who contest it, based on the movement sparked by modernity itself. There is no likelihood of these conflicting interpretations suddenly disappearing. The points of disagreement that led to the emergence of ecological thinking in the 19th century are still very much present, reflected in contemporary opposition between the “solutions” offered by green growth and eco-modernism and the partisans of degrowth in terms of material wealth.

The outcome of the transition currently underway, commensurate with the obstacles it seeks to overcome, is profoundly uncertain. Ecological transition demands, at the very least, deep-reaching changes in how we live our lives, changes that go beyond purely technical solutions, as it invites us to engage in an in-depth reassessment of our relationship with ecosystems and the living world in general.