Christopher C. Sellers: How a Mid-Century LA Environmentalist Got Beyond John Muir

A century out from Muir’s death, humanity’s mounting influence on the planet, and what we now know about that influence, have made a truly pristine nature ever more difficult, even impossible, to find. No place on earth stays untouched by a phenomenon like climate change. To be sure, we still need our Yosemites, not least for the transcendent encounters that Muir and his descendants have helped us to find in them. Yet in a time when human impacts have turned planetary in scale, the project of protecting our wildest places has become far more bound up with what we do in our cities, suburbs, and factories than Muir ever imagined Continue Reading Christopher C. Sellers: How a Mid-Century LA Environmentalist Got Beyond John Muir

Christopher C. Sellers: Beyond Environmentalism: Marching toward Climatism

Over the last decade around New York, a host of more localized concerns and groups have mobilized around a new bevvy of “green” causes: banding together to rebuild after Sandy, campaigning for locally grown and organic food, and fighting against fracking. At the People’s Climate March, they found welcome and common cause with those pushing for divestiture from fossil fuels, as well as those from more far flung locales, those rebuilding on the Gulf Coast after Katrina, those from island nations and from other communities on the “front line” of environmental change. In an earlier era, “the environment” had gained traction because of how it linked so many issues long considered separate, from pollution to wilderness preservation. Now “climate” may have proven itself sufficiently capacious to serve as an entire movement’s umbrella. Continue Reading Christopher C. Sellers: Beyond Environmentalism: Marching toward Climatism

Interview: Christopher C. Sellers on the origins of American environmentalism

During the post-WWII period in the United States, a new generation of pollutants proved especially mobile and persistent. Overriding a widespread segregation of neighborhoods by class as well as race, these pollutants proved capable of pervading entire suburban metropolises. Americans, especially around our largest cities, were forced to confront just how shared the burden of pollution had become. Continue Reading Interview: Christopher C. Sellers on the origins of American environmentalism

Excerpt: Crabgrass Crucible, by Christopher C. Sellers

In the United States, even from Bunner’s time, what nourished the nature love of the more and less scientifically qualified alike was a shared suburban experience. It was one not so much of home buying as home owning. Nor was it reducible to suburban dwellers’ relationship with “the land,” however fraught. What finally secured the breadth of environmentalism’s appeal was how nature love itself had become ever more suffused with anxieties about human health. Continue Reading Excerpt: Crabgrass Crucible, by Christopher C. Sellers