The science of the nineteenth century was dominated by the perfectibility of knowledge. Fueled by the analytic/systematic distinction provided by Kant, the European thinkers of the day were bent on elucidating all the empirical rules that governed the universe. Even if the universe was infinite everything was potentially knowable and humans were capable of detached observation that could elucidate and name all these facts and rules.
For the first four months of 2010 I spent a great deal of time trying to elucidate, as a member of the pos-post-modernist era (an era so ill-defined we haven’t gotten around to naming it yet), what a political ecology means. Beyond just defining this broad term, I had tasked myself with building it particularly in the context of social problems such as crime, abuse, poverty and homelessness. The ecological enters from my faith based belief that the formula for human happiness includes an inextricable coupling of the natural and artificial worlds.
Global energy reserves in the form of uranium are estimated at massive to virtually limitless. Expensive, high-tech reactors have reasonable lifetimes and depleted uranium quantities are relatively limited considering the amount of electricity that can be produced. The horror stories of Chernobyl, the fallout, cancers and deformities still ravaging the peoples of that area have created a highly sensitized public. Yet through all this I for one had never paid much thought to the uranium production process. A well made 2007 Global TV documentary, that I came across while trying to fathom a political ecology of Yellowknife (see below) shed some light on it for me.
I’ve managed to wrangle myself into a directed studies course in sociology with the ominous title ‘Studies in Political Ecology’ for this semester, which I hope will garner some interesting readings for myself and potentially a theoretical framework from which to view much of our current dilemmas in international politics and development.
Another semester begins, and I start on the task of organizing myself and my studies. Like a four month marathon, undergraduate sometimes feels like an attempt to go as far as you can without draining your reserves.