28 March 2017

Month of May


The issues did not always find the right players for them. Someone full of rage at existing conditions often seeks to join the protest movement around at the time—which since 1970 has often meant an environmental movement—and in some situations will even vent their rage against fellow-campaigners. Ideally, environmentalism needed people with ties in their family and locality, and with a keen sense of responsibility for future generations, who felt bound by certain rules and values and, when appropriate, viewed the state as a positive force for order. But such people are often not prepared for confrontation with the state, or have no time for a new commitment. After 1970, then, it was typically ’68ers who, having failed in their previous objectives, could be mobilized to campaign against environmental scandals: single people without children, for whom homeland, family, standards and laws were deeply suspect. What counted tor them above everything was their spontaneous impulses, and they liked nothing more than travelling around the world. This did not necessarily mean that they ended up doing nothing for environmentalism. The history of the eco-age provides material for success stories as well as tragedies, but also quite a lot of material for comedies.

—Joachim Radkau, The Age of Ecology

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