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The Neoliberal Colonization on Nature 
and Our Deep Ecological Selves 
Kurt Love, Ph.D. 
Central Connecticut State Univers...
The Map of Diversity 
• The “map” of diversity has routinely deselected 
relationships with nature. 
• The privileged disc...
Privileging Humans & 
Omitting Nature 
• Racism, sexism (by extension, heterosexism), Capitalism, classism, 
Neoliberalism...
Neoliberalism’s Roots 
• Neoliberalism, the favoring of “free market” ideology in business and non-business contexts, is b...
European Colonizers & 
American Indians 
Clash of two peoples with two 
different “ecological selves”! 
European Colonizer...
European Colonizers & 
West Africans 
Clash of two peoples with two 
different “ecological selves”! 
European Colonizers: ...
Shift Away From 
Valuing Nature 
Joseph Campbell 
stated that we can 
see the movements 
of a society based 
on the highes...
Shift Away FromValuing Nature 
Gods and 
Goddesses 
communicate 
through the 
actions of nature 
in the forests 
Gods and ...
Shift Away FromValuing Nature
Shift Away FromValuing Nature 
Government provides 
policies of morality 
aimed solely at rights of 
humans 
Transcontinen...
Shift Away FromValuing Nature
INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS 
& SPIRITUALITIES 
Pre-date 
Christianity 
Pre-date Islam 
Pre-date Judaism 
Earth-based 
spiritualit...
CREATING PATRIARCHY 
Women are closer to 
nature than men;# 
Nature is wild, chaotic, 
and uncontrollable 
Therefore... 
W...
REALISM & PATRIARCHY 
Women are closer to 
nature than men;# 
Nature is wild, chaotic, 
and uncontrollable 
Therefore... 
...
Christians & 
Earth-Based Spiritualities 
Movement out of nature and into 
“Human” as separate from nature! 
Nature is whe...
MAINTAINING PATRIARCHY 
A mass killing of women during the 
“Burning Times” in Europe & the US 
Removal of a religion wher...
Science as a Product of 
Sociocultural Values 
Galileo Galilei 
“The Universe is a clock” 
Johannes Kepler 
“The Universe ...
Aloha & Haole
Aloha & Haole 
Aloha # 
“Together, we breathe the sacred breath”# 
A consciousness that we are inescapably interwoven with...
Aloha & Haole 
Haole # 
“One who is without sacred breath”# 
A consciousness that does not include an awareness that we ar...
Hubris and Ideology 
Root metaphors: 
Words that carry forward cultural value systems; these are often mystified# 
Hubris:...
Is “Progress” 
Ecologically Sustainable? 
Progress # 
Technology# 
Individuality/Isolation# 
Capitalism# 
Competition# 
Mo...
“Progress” Creates Oppression 
We are currently at the stage of global peak oil, and the next 30-40 years will very likely...
Ecojustice Purposes of 
School 
Sustainability # 
Environmental# 
Social# 
Economic
Sustainability - Environmental 
The Earth has the ability on global local scales to 
replenish itself within a human gener...
Sustainability - Social 
Working towards peace 
(non-violent conflict 
resolution)# 
Solidarity - Affirmation - 
Critique ...
Sustainability - Economy 
Strong local 
economies and 
responsible global 
commerce# 
Reintegration of the 
cultural commo...
A Vision
A Diversity Without 
Sustainability 
Diversity studies cannot be truly sustainable without 
ecological identities as an in...
References 
Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York, NY, Ballantine Books. 
! 
Bowers, C. A. (2006). Rev...
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The Neoliberal Colonization on Nature and Our Deep Ecological Selves

Presented at the National Association of Multicultural Educators Annual Conference in November 2014 in Tucson, AZ.

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NAME 2014 Presentation

  1. 1. The Neoliberal Colonization on Nature and Our Deep Ecological Selves Kurt Love, Ph.D. Central Connecticut State University ! National Association of Multicultural Educators Annual Meeting, November 5-9, 2014 Tucson, Arizona
  2. 2. The Map of Diversity • The “map” of diversity has routinely deselected relationships with nature. • The privileged discourse in diversity studies is anthropocentric and has created an academic blindspot.
  3. 3. Privileging Humans & Omitting Nature • Racism, sexism (by extension, heterosexism), Capitalism, classism, Neoliberalism, religionism, globalization, and colonization can all be traced to a particular version of discrimination that favors humans as distant from nature (usually through technology, wealth and often reinforced militarily) • White, European, Christian, wealthy people in positions of domination have relied heavily on a narrative that treats them as God’s people who are right, fully human, have the moral doctrine (rationale), and governmental structure to rule others who are indigenous, poor (or outside of a capitalistic structure), not Christian. • The first and most important step is to see one self as being removed from nature in order to be part of today’s privileged, dominant group.
  4. 4. Neoliberalism’s Roots • Neoliberalism, the favoring of “free market” ideology in business and non-business contexts, is borne out of a desire to accumulate wealth. • Wealth comes from capitalism, which depends on consumerism • Capitalism and consumerism are fundamentally against close relationships with nature and have long-standing practices of exploitation with those who are close to nature. • The global colonizers, Europeans, created racism out of desires to control, colonize, and capitalize from those who were initially closer to nature (subhuman) • Europeans viewed themselves as superior primarily because they became more technological (militarily, agriculturally, and through the mining of the earth), or created themselves and their self images as being increasingly distant from the earth and more able to control the earth. • Controlling the earth also meant controlling people of the earth. People who were not as technologically developed did not have the designator of being fully human. • People who were not fully human could be destroyed, manipulated, and exploited. • People of indigenous societies, women in general, and poor people were all seen as being closer to the earth and were therefore routinely dominated.
  5. 5. European Colonizers & American Indians Clash of two peoples with two different “ecological selves”! European Colonizers: Nature for profit, land ownership, enclosure, capitalist mindset/values! American Indians: Nurturance, reciprocity, sustainable mindset/values! Genocide: From up to 18 million in 1490’s to 190,000 in 1890, up to 200 million Indians died in the Americas! Land Domination
  6. 6. European Colonizers & West Africans Clash of two peoples with two different “ecological selves”! European Colonizers: Nature for profit, land ownership, enclosure, capitalist mindset/values! West Africans: Nurturance, reciprocity, sustainable mindset/values! Slavery: About 12 million captured and shipped to the Americas, 645,000 brought to the U.S., nearly 4 million slaves in the 1860 census! Domination for profit via capitalism
  7. 7. Shift Away From Valuing Nature Joseph Campbell stated that we can see the movements of a society based on the highest buildings in an area.
  8. 8. Shift Away FromValuing Nature Gods and Goddesses communicate through the actions of nature in the forests Gods and Goddesses communicate through the actions of nature and in growth/ harvest of crops God (no Goddess) & salvation are found only through Jesus. The Devil resides in nature.
  9. 9. Shift Away FromValuing Nature
  10. 10. Shift Away FromValuing Nature Government provides policies of morality aimed solely at rights of humans Transcontinental corporations heavily influence governments and national policies through trade agreements creating the greatest negative impact on the global environment
  11. 11. Shift Away FromValuing Nature
  12. 12. INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS & SPIRITUALITIES Pre-date Christianity Pre-date Islam Pre-date Judaism Earth-based spiritualities Found in all parts of the world
  13. 13. CREATING PATRIARCHY Women are closer to nature than men;# Nature is wild, chaotic, and uncontrollable Therefore... Women are wild, chaotic, and uncontrollable Adam & Eve
  14. 14. REALISM & PATRIARCHY Women are closer to nature than men;# Nature is wild, chaotic, and uncontrollable Therefore... Women are wild, chaotic, and uncontrollable Aristotle and Phyllis (Alexander the Great’s Wife) "If thus it happened to me, an old man most wise, that I was deceived by a woman, you can see that I taught you well, that it could happen to you, a young man." - Aristotle
  15. 15. Christians & Earth-Based Spiritualities Movement out of nature and into “Human” as separate from nature! Nature is where Satan resides ! Technology is Godly & righteous! Christian missionaries with indigenous peoples globally, views on nudity! Killing of at least tens of thousands of “witches” from 1400s-1600s! Continued persecution of paganism, neopaganism, and Wicca
  16. 16. MAINTAINING PATRIARCHY A mass killing of women during the “Burning Times” in Europe & the US Removal of a religion where women are spiritual leaders and the central spirit is seen as feminine. ! Origin story: Goddess comes into her own, splits her self to have a male half who governs the physical plane (physical universe), and we are all aspects of the Goddess with the support of the God.
  17. 17. Science as a Product of Sociocultural Values Galileo Galilei “The Universe is a clock” Johannes Kepler “The Universe is a machine” Francis Bacon “For you have but to follow and as it were hound nature in her wanderings...Neither ought a man to make scruple of entering and penetrating into these holes and corners, when the inquisition of truth is his whole object” Thomas Hobbes “Nature is dead, stupid matter” René Descartes “We can be the masters and possessors of nature”
  18. 18. Aloha & Haole
  19. 19. Aloha & Haole Aloha # “Together, we breathe the sacred breath”# A consciousness that we are inescapably interwoven with each other and the earth. # What we do to each other and the earth, we do to ourselves.
  20. 20. Aloha & Haole Haole # “One who is without sacred breath”# A consciousness that does not include an awareness that we are inescapably interwoven with each other and the earth. # A consciousness only of self and an ignorance of one’s energetic and spiritual impact. Often comes with little or no understanding of spirituality or the purpose of one’s soul (soul loss).
  21. 21. Hubris and Ideology Root metaphors: Words that carry forward cultural value systems; these are often mystified# Hubris: Bowers argued that we often use root metaphors in our language that ultimately express hubris, ideology, and have long-term negative consequences both culturally and ecologically# Examples:# Individualism# Progress# Technology# Savage# The Corporation
  22. 22. Is “Progress” Ecologically Sustainable? Progress # Technology# Individuality/Isolation# Capitalism# Competition# Movement away from nature# Sustainability# Cooperation# Reciprocity# Nurturance# Interconnectedness with each other and with nature “Progress” as typically defined in the first world nations is the opposite of “sustainability”
  23. 23. “Progress” Creates Oppression We are currently at the stage of global peak oil, and the next 30-40 years will very likely be focused on rapidly decreasing supplies and is connected to a current energy crisis (Zittel, 2007). Access to freshwater is becoming increasingly difficult, especially for peoples in third world countries where freshwater sources are polluted or privatized (Shiva, 2005; Vorosmarty, Green, Salisbury & Lammers, 2000). Global warming is creating increasingly unstable and unpredictable conditions in local and global contexts with experts predicting numbers of environmental refugees in the hundreds of millions (Bhandari, 2009). Half the world’s population lives on $2.50 per day or less, and 80% of the world lives on $10 per day or less (Shah, 2010). Children in cities have higher rates of asthma than children in surrounding suburbs (Kozol, 2005)
  24. 24. Ecojustice Purposes of School Sustainability # Environmental# Social# Economic
  25. 25. Sustainability - Environmental The Earth has the ability on global local scales to replenish itself within a human generation (25 years)# Human/Nature connection critically analyzed
  26. 26. Sustainability - Social Working towards peace (non-violent conflict resolution)# Solidarity - Affirmation - Critique of Power# Health & Wellness
  27. 27. Sustainability - Economy Strong local economies and responsible global commerce# Reintegration of the cultural commons
  28. 28. A Vision
  29. 29. A Diversity Without Sustainability Diversity studies cannot be truly sustainable without ecological identities as an integral part of the discourse.# Currently, diversity studies favor Western, industrial culture as an endpoint for social justice. Students of color who have more access and success within the current structures of schools are used as a point for social justice.# Our schools are cultural vehicles forming all children to become docile workers in a capitalistic, consumeristic structure that ultimately creates a global monoculture that is unsustainable.
  30. 30. References Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York, NY, Ballantine Books. ! Bowers, C. A. (2006). Revitalizing the commons: Cultural and educational sites of resistance and affirmation. New York: Lexington Books. ! Doppelt, B. (2010). The power of sustainable thinking: How to create a positive future for the climate, the planet, your organization, and your life. New York, NY, Routledge. ! Feagin, J. R. (2001). Racist America: Roots, current realities and future reparations. New York, Taylor & Francis, Inc. Hardt, M. and A. Negri (2000). Empire. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. Loewen, J. W. (1996). Lies my teacher told me: Everything your American history textbook got wrong. New York, NY, Touchstone. Martusewicz, R., Edmundson, J. and, Lupinacci, J. (2011). Ecojustice education: Toward diverse, democratic, and sustainable communities. New York, NY, Routledge. Merchant, C. (1980). The death of nature. San Francisco, CA, Harper & Row. ! Nieto, S. (1994). "Affirmation, solidarity, and critique: Moving beyond tolerance in multicultural education." Multicultural Education. ! Plotkin, B. (2003). Soulcraft: Crossing into the mysteries of nature and psyche. Novato, CA, New World Library. Zinn, H. (2003). A people's history of the United States New York, HarperCollins.

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