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The Ecotopian Model-building of Australian Climate Change Intellectuals

Arena Journal
Issue 35/36 (2011)

Abstract: Auberon Waugh noted in 1989 that the 'broken-down socialist bandwagon' was transferring its disappointed passengers to 'the shiny new green machine, bound for the same destination - Utopia - where you can boss other people about'. Waugh was speaking at that moment in the late 1980s when 'discovery' of the greenhouse effect produced a remarkable political effect: the threat of global warming concentrated individual minds so wonderfully that many people began to regard the planet as the most precious resource borrowed from their children rather than a commodity inherited from their parents and at their disposal. Yet nature did not, as Waugh suggests, replace class as the principal motif in imaginary futures, whether utopian or dystopian. Rather class and nature more commonly became intertwined themes in utopian and dystopian texts from the late 1980s onwards. Significant examples include Kim Stanley Robinson's Antarctica (1998), Forty Signs of Rain (2004), Fifty Degrees Below (2005) and Sixty Days and Counting (2007); and Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake (2003) and The Year of the Flood (2009). It was from the late 1980s too that the inherent connectivity between class and nature was theorized in the development of ecological Marxism, which pointed not just to the usual singular suspect in the ultimate downfall of capitalism, its tendency to economic crisis, but also to its tendency to ruin the conditions necessary for its continuation.

To cite this article: Burgmann, Verity. The Ecotopian Model-building of Australian Climate Change Intellectuals [online]. Arena Journal, No. 35/36, 2011: [78]-94. Availability: <;dn=374760246340063;res=IELLCC> ISSN: 1320-6567. [cited 29 Nov 15].

Personal Author: Burgmann, Verity; Source: Arena Journal, No. 35/36, 2011: [78]-94 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 1320-6567 Subject: Communism; Climatic changes; Global warming; Sustainable development--Environmental aspects; Peer Reviewed: Yes

Database: Literature & Culture Collection