Pollution, land and water misuse, overharvesting, urbanisation, population growth and climate change all now endanger our well-being because of how we have thought about and related to the environment in the past.
Primary responsibility for climate disruption has been laid both at the feet of transnational corporations (BP, Exon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, British Coal Corp.), and nations such as the United States, whose greenhouse gas emissions are the second largest in the world after China (2014).
However, historian Joy Porter of the University of Hull explores a different approach. Join her and discover how, within a number of indigenous traditions, the solution is not to blame, but to change thinking through recognition of the past, the fostering of respect and kinship with the non-human world and the adoption of balance as a guiding philosophical principle.
An example is the ‘seventh generation’ thinking associated with the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation (Hodenosaunee) of North-eastern North America. It urges that decisions be thought about in terms of their impact upon coming generations ‘even those whose faces are as yet below the ground’.
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution begins, Joy will explain why the challenge of advancing our thinking on the environment within capitalism has never been more important. She will go beyond stereotyped notions of the ‘eco-Indian’, toward how the legacies of the American past might inform a better environmental future for all.
Annual Aylmer Lecture
About the speaker
Joy Porter is an interdisciplinary scholar and Professor of Indigenous History at the University of Hull. From September 2019-2022 she is a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow investigating ‘What Would Nixon Do? The Forgotten Republican Roots of American Environmentalism’.
Image credit: flickr.com/Darvin Atkeson