The roots of the network

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The Greening of Industry Network, like many of the other agents of ecological modernization or green commerce, can trace its roots back to the experiences of the 1970s when, as we have seen in chapter 3, the various traditions of ecology were mobilized in the making of a new social movement (Hajer 1995: 73-103). From an "imperialist" or managerial tradition there was the influence of systems thinking, which made perhaps its most visible public appearance in the Limits to Growth report to the Club of Rome of 1972 (Meadows et al. 1972). Here was a new breed of managerial ecologists who used computer projections ofeconomic trends and a cybernetic language of feedback mechanisms to interpret interactions between natural resources and socio-economic development.

Like the ecosystems ecologists who had been so influential in the late 1960s, systems analysts were an outgrowth of the diffusion of computers and cybernetics, particularly in American society, but they were also responding to a new phase in the human interaction with non-human nature (Cramer et al. 1987). As material production in the postwar era became ever more dependent on science-based invention, the means of regulation and control also needed to change. In particular there was a need for more sophisticated conceptual tools to bring resource and energy flows into the models of the ecologist. By linking cybernetics with biology, systems ecology was a crucial component of the new environmental consciousness (Jamison 1993). Further, the imperialist tradition inspired energy systems analysts, like Amory Lovins, who would play such a major role in the energy debates of the late 1970s.

From the arcadian tradition came an interest in moving back to the land. The arcadian tradition also inspired a concern with local, or indigenous, forms of knowledge and an identification with history and traditions as part of the environmental movement. Arcadianism received its paradigmatic expression in A Blueprint for Survival, also from 1972, a program for a community-based ecology that was decentralized, autonomous and participatory (Ecologist 1972). But it can be suggested that it was more in the spirit of the movement, in the emphasis that was placed on local groups and "consciousness-raising," that the arcadian tradition had its most profound impact. Indeed, many environmentally minded biologists and engineers "dropped out" in the 1970s and formed rural, experimental, sites for their research activity, such as the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado and the New Alchemy Institute in Massachusetts. In many so-called developing countries, like India, a number of scientists and engineers left the cities in the 1970s to form centers for "appropriate technology" in the countryside (Elzinga and Jamison 1986).

It was mainly in this way that the pragmatic "human ecology" tradition entered into the movement with its experimentalism, its "do-it-yourself-ism," which tended to manifest itself most visibly in an interest in alternative, or appropriate technologies. At that time environmental technology, as we have noted earlier, was articulated primarily in "utopian" terms, that is, as not-yet-existing visionary alternatives, but, here and there, centers and communes were established to construct living examples of what ecological technology might look like - a kind of utopian practice (MacRobie 1981).

The main idea in those days was to develop criteria for scientific and technological development that responded to the objections of the activists. An ecological technology was thus the polar opposite of the large-scale, non-renewable, environmentally destructive technologies that the environmental movement had emerged to oppose. Robin Clarke published a widely disseminated list to characterize alternative technology; he also set up a Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales (Dickson 1974: 103). For several years workshops, courses, journals, and informal study groups developed archetypes or designs for alternative, radical, or appropriate technology (for experiences in the US see Pursell 1993). A major effort was undertaken by shop stewards at Lucas Aerospace Corporation to develop an alternative corporate plan by which the interests of the environmental movement could be operationalized within the context of a major industrial firm (Wainwright and Eliot 1982).

For a short time the different branches coexisted within one movement, carving out a cognitive space, a new kind of social or political ecology which combined the systemic, the experiential, and the pragmatic. In particular in the struggles against nuclear power, the traditions informed and interacted with one another in a synergistic fashion in order to strengthen each other's various arguments and approaches and to develop a broad-based and coherent alternative vision of an ecological society.

The cognitive praxis of the movement thus represented a recombination of the three ecology traditions. Managerialism provided much of the cosmology or world-view assumptions through its systemic holism, its one-earth-ism that was so characteristic of the political ecology of the 1970s. The arcadian tradition provided much of the organizational ambition that colored the movement, the effort to escape from the confines of industrial society and create "liberated zones" in the countryside from where different forms of exemplary action could be mounted against destroyers of the environment. The human ecology tradition provided a connection between the imperialists and the arcadians by offering practical-technical substance in its propagation of, and experimentation with, appropriate small-scale non-polluting technologies.

Eventually, however, unity broke apart, but the visionary seeds that had been planted continued to grow and stay alive in the collective memory. Already in the heat of the energy debate of the late 1970s renewable energy technologies became the focal point of the alternative technology movement and gradually, after the political battles had been resolved in one way or another, a number of companies emerged to commercialize what had been unleashed: wind energy, solar energy, and other forms of environmentally friendly energy technology. In the 1980s several new "branches" of industry developed out of the alternative technology movement, such as wind energy and organic foods industries in Denmark, as well as various consulting firms in energy conservation, non-waste technology, ecological design, etc.

In addition to the development of new industrial branches, there was also a gradual shift, in several countries, in the way in which environmental technology and environmental regulation came to be thought about by policy-makers (Weale 1992). Originally, environmental technology was generally viewed as something to be placed at the end-point of a production process as a control or filtering technique, such as the catalytic mufflers that were added to automobiles in response to the pollution-control legislation that was enacted in many countries. The technology came, as it were, at the "end of the pipe" as an addition to normal operations. But here and there a few companies, under the influence of the environmental movement, started to experiment with environmental technology that was more process-oriented and that attempted to prevent pollution or waste at their source.

By the early 1980s the notion of pollution prevention had begun to be discussed among environmental consultants and gradually the experiences of such pioneering companies as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) began to be referred to as examples to emulate. By the late 1980s several consulting firms and industrial research organizations, both in Europe and the United States, were carrying out projects in pollution prevention or waste-reduction technology (e.g. Buriks 1988). The efforts made by the Dutch research organization the TNO Center for Technology and Policy, the cleaner technology programs initiated by the Danish Environmental Ministry, and the pollution prevention activities, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme were particularly important. In the late 1980s and early 1990s these efforts came to be consolidated in the form of new networks of innovators, and it was at that time that GIN was initiated.

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Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

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