Note — Feb 21, 2021

Surveyors, Neighbors, and Stoichiometrists

From Charlie Loyd’s most recent newsletter issue, he’s categorizing kinds of environmentalism. He gives a few disclaimers but those categories helped him “as one way of analyzing some discussions I follow,” and I believe they will be useful for me too, and probably a number of readers as well. My reading is to consider the “surveyors” as a historical viewpoint on the environment, “neighbours” as a personal stance, and “stoichiometry” as a statement of the situation, still in search of a sequence of actions to accomplish. Philosophically I would have set myself between the later two, and realize I need to be both.

The neighbors neither see a philosophical border, nor want a physical border, between human and other-than-human life on Earth. What they see is a kaleidoscopically interlocked network of processes in motion. […]

The only way out is to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere as quickly as possible. Issues of conservation or coexistence may be world-shapingly important, yet they are categorically less important than, because they depend entirely on, putting carbon back underground. […]

[T]he surveyor worldview is founded on an individual encounter with Nature, the neighbors are thinking about communities of many kinds, and the stoichiometrists are looking at a global problem. […]

The ideal, as I see it today, is a grounded neighborism in private that connects to advocacy for stoichiometry-informed public policy. We owe each other neighborism but we owe stoichiometry to the world.