Friday, June 15, 2007

I've Deleted "Environmentalism as Spectacle"

Just FYI, I've deleted the "environmentalism as spectacle" thread, because I think I shouldn't have written it. My apologies to those whose comments are lost.



margarita said...

That's too bad that you deleted that post. I don't think people should be afraid of criticism. You weren't ugly about it, and you took pains to make yourself very clear--something Mr. Man did not do. He still hasn't answered a lot of the questions people have been asking, and I'm still not liking him for it.
On another note, didn't he used to have a link to your website on his website? I thought I had seen it there, but it looks like it's gone. Not so subtle message if it was there before.

To Mimi,

Thank you for the wonderful suggestion. There's so much to learn and I want to do right by my vegetables and the earth they grow in. I will try it. Thanks again!

susan said...

I'm sorry you took down that post. You'd articulated thoughts I'd had and had the courage to make them public. Your points were very diplomatically made and it's too bad -- it's just too bad.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand your taking that entry down, (I probably would have done the same.)but I felt what you had to say was quite thoughtful. It's all such a hard situation, and it's going to get harder as oil gets more and more scarce. It is going to be really hard to do the right thing and to know what the right thing to do is. It's all a process.

All the best,


Anonymous said...

Google reader seems not to care that you deleted that post since it remains visible there...

RAS said...

Sharon, I thought that was one of your best posts. It was very articulate and contained much wisdom. I think you should seriously consider putting it back up. Especially since it's going to be available for all eternity now on the web anyway; people might as well be able to get it from your site. Once you put something online, that's where it stays.

P.S. Nim DID have a link to your blog. It is, however, now gone. That's not a very grown-up way to handle criticsm, but hey, its his choice.

Michelle in Ga said...

No one's perfect. Here's a blog post to cheer you up:

Shalom, Michelle

jewishfarmer said...

Thank you for the supportive comments and the observation that the material is still out there - I am a little dense about this stuff, and honestly hadn't known.

Honestly, all I can say is that I'm not entirely sure of my own motives here, and because of that, I'm trying to err on the side of not being too big a bitch ;-). Not everyone felt I was diplomatic, and the accusation I was being petty seemed to have a little too much truth in it. I'm not sure I can tell right now.

I haven't changed my opinion of the donation request, but I'm going to just let it go now.

As for the link, well, life goes on.


Heather said...

I tend to agree that it was an excellent post, but also understand wanting to be sure of yourself and your motives in posting anything.

Too bad he decided to get rid of his link to your blog... personally I prefer your blog to his, so it's his loss.

Your helpful posts are just that - helpful and sensible. Your more philosophical and observational posts have a well-roundedness and depth that I really appreciate -- intelligent without being unreadable, as some of the posts at other sites can be. Yes, I slog through as much of the posts at Energy Bulletin as I can... some of those folks really could use a few lessons effective use of language in order to reach more people.

Meantime, and most importantly, let's hope everyone involved keeps on trying to live lower impact lives.

Alina said...

Sharon, I still have your post on my google reader as well. I think you are quite right to make the criticisms that you did, and I'm sorry you took down the post.

Liz said...

Oh Sharon, I'm sorry you felt the need to take your post down. I only had a chance to skim it (I came back to read, only to find it gone. poof!), but what you said very clearly echoed my own thoughts about NIM.

Maybe Colin thought it would be "fun" to be a spokesperson for the environment, but I think he's finding it much more difficult than he imagined. For an issue that should bring folks together, there is so much divisiveness... be green this way or that way; your way is unsustainable, but mine isn't; what's best; what's better. I haven't been immune from it, either. I've questioned people's methods and don't feel proud about that.

Anyway. I'm sorry you took it down.

deliberately said...

Sharon, this was in my blogpost today:
"For those of you who may not have been following, Sharon over at Casaubon's Book has recently been, in my opinion, openly curious (rather than outright critical, as some have called it) about the goings on over at No Impact Man. Specifically, why was Colin Beavan suddenly accepting donations even though we have been led to believe his experiment was intended to fuel the writing of a book for which he had received an advance. Unfortunately, what Sharon finally demonstrates is that it's not easy being green, and I sympathize with her decision on this one. One of the things we have to be careful about when we think of the overall sustainability or green effort is that we all come to it from different places, and that it's much more important to band together against those forces who want to keep on going with the status quo as opposed to falling into criticism of each other. We have more in common, me and Sharon and Colin, than we have that is in conflict. We should build on those commonalities, disagree to ensure we're keeping each other honest, and let the little differences be what they are: unimportant in the greater scheme of things. I applaud Sharon for taking a stand in favor of what binds us rather than letting small differences tear us apart."

Anonymous said...

Your post was so thoughtful and careful! I wanted to say some of those things in comments on other peoples post, but didn't feel I needed to because you had already said them. Celebrity does weird things to professions and vocations that are not used to them. Tony Bourdain has written thoughtfully, (if venomously) about the differences between being a chef, and a celebrity-chef. Over time he's toned the venom down and become humbler, but much of the original message remains, there are differences and we need to think about them. Have there been celebrity-farmers in the past? Is Pollan's shining the spotlight on Joel Salatin turning him into America's first celebrity-farmer? What does that matter how do we think about it? We need to reflect on this stuff. Academia hit the celebrity-academic problem decades ago (we call 'em "Big Names"), and we've been grappling with it, and honestly it is still a huge problem in Academia, and there is a lot of in-fighting to be the next "Big Name." Are enviromentalists and lifestyle activists going to start in-fighting over who will be the next environmentalist-celebrity, The next Nader or Gore or Petrini?
I worried that the slowly ratcheting emotional tones of some of the comments was going to lead to a rift between folk who should be working together. But the content needs to be thought about, and the post itself was balanced and restrained. If you question your own motives, I totally respect that. Give it a while to calm down and try to approach the subject again. It might help if you could think of another example or two of Environmentalism as Spectacle, besides NIM; Terre Madre jumps to mind, as does the watermark stunt from New York. The issue will not go away, and honestly future incidents could be far uglier if we can't wrap our thinking around the issues. Thank you
-Brian M.

Deb G said...

I want to add my request to Brian M.'s that you write about this again later. I didn't read your post, but I think you have much of value to say in what I've read on your blog. I think there have been some important issues raised by NIM's request for donations (especially regarding what is a sustainable income/lifestyle). I also think the media element of environmentalism has to be looked at if being green is going to be more than just a fad. I do respect your decision to take your post down if you weren't comfortable with it, sometimes the how and when of what is said is just as important as the message.

deliberately said...

OK, I have been wrong in defending Colin. I've sat back since his experiment started and, despite several areas where he has failed to adequately respond to challenges and criticism from his public, given him the benefit of the doubt. I thought the larger discussion was more important than the person or his personal quirks.

That's now changed. Given the condescending way he has handled the challenges he received for requesting donations, I can't abide him any longer. There are too many good places to learn and expand on the internet to waste my time with his self-serving stunt.

Sharon, don't second-guess yourself next time. While you can be passionate about your positions, I haven't yet encountered a time when you aren't fundamentally on the right side of the argument. If your gut tells you to push back, push back. And it's sad that we've lost the post in it's original form, because now it seems others might need to read it as well.


Susan Och said...

I would have loved to read it.

jewishfarmer said...

Thank you all for the kind words, and I appreciate the advice. Colin and have had some discussion in private, and I think I made the right choice in taking the piece off. I want to be absolutely clear that while I may not approve of Colin's taking donations, I've always approved of the basic project. The majority of people in the world are urbanites. The worst polluters on earth are rich people. I think Colin's project matters, even if I don't agree with some of the things he does. And I'm not saying that because of seconding guessing - this is first guessing. Even in the deleted post, I wanted to be clear about what I do think is good in this project.

BTW, Colin graciously put my link back. I'm certainly not immune to getting mad, and I don't begrudge him for doing the same.

Enough on this subject.


Anonymous said...

I was away from a computer for the last several days, so I missed all the excitement.

Good on 'ya, Sharon, for being willing to take down a post when you had second thoughts. I've done this a few times (or revised a post to take out the more snarky language). What happens is that I'll wake up in the middle of the night thinking, I REALLY didn't mean to say that as strongly as I did.

To me, these are matters of diplomacy and consideration - not of principle. So many conflicts get started not because of anything important, but because of hurt pride.

I think we are in the phase of peak oil / sustainability, where potential fissures are appearing. This is familiar territory to anyone who has been involved in political movements. I wonder if this time we'll be able to overcome the tendencies for in-fighting and sectarianism?

As a previous comment pointed out, we have so much more in common with each other... and yet it's easy for terrible squabbles to break out between people who agree on 98% of the issues.

Especially online, when we all go too far too quickly.

Caroline Casey, the "Visionary Activist," has a wonderful spiel on "how to be a good ally."

The way that you (Sharon) deal with this problem sets an example for others. So I applaud that you're grappling with these tough problems.

Energy Bulletin

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