Dr. Tendai Chitewere
February 23 @ 3:35 pm - 5:00 pm
Dr. Tendai Chitewere, San Francisco State University (Click link for CV.)
Green Lifestyles and Consumption-based Environmentalism: critical lessons from an ecovillage
A growing number of ecological cohousing communities, ecovillages, are attempting to model sustainable ways to live. These efforts concentrate environmentally conscious residents who promote a sense of community as a tool for confronting social and environmental degradation. Through establishing a green lifestyle with architecture that can decrease ecological footprints and reduce social isolation, these communities propose structural, cultural change in the United States. At the same time, they are deeply embedded in a capitalist economy, one that insists on consumption as a way of life. This presentation examines the tension between capitalism and environmentalism through the lens of environmental justice and political ecology. Specifically, environmental justice is noticeably missing from the ecovillage discourse raising the question, for whom is the sustainable community envisioned? Based on ethnographic research in an ecovillage, I argue that US environmentalism needs to confront the growing influence of capitalism in environmentalist discourse. Without a critical analysis of social and environmental injustice, ecovillages risk contributing to the problems they aim to address.