Introducing Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Mark Bittman at Cooper Union, April 2014

Just Found: 2000 Interview with Wendell Berry

As the world’s growing environmental crisis becomes more publicized, is there a risk that it is also being too simplified?

The “environmental crisis” has happened because the human household or economy is in conflict at almost every point with the household
of nature. We have built our household on the assumption that the natural household is simple and can be simply used. We have assumed increasingly over the last five hundred years that nature is merely a supply of “raw materials,” and that we may safely possess those materials by taking them.... And so we will be wrong if we attempt to correct what we perceive as “environmental” problems without correcting the economic oversimplification that caused them.

What do you mean by “economic oversimplification?”

What has happened is that most people in [the developed world] have given proxies to the corporations to produce and provide all of their food, clothing, and shelter. Moreover, they are rapidly giving proxies to corporations or governments to provide entertainment, education, child care, care of the sick and elderly, and many other kinds of “service” that once were carried on informally and inexpensively by individuals or households or communities....
The trouble with this is that a proper concern for nature and our use of nature must be practiced, not by our proxy-holders, but by ourselves.... The “environmental crisis,” in fact, can be solved only if people, individually and in their communities, recover responsibility for their thoughtlessly given proxies.

Read more at World Watch (opens as a pdf)


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