Enviromental Responsibility Causes

be good for those who worry about consumption.

Take 'work' for example. IPAT systematically ignores work while IWAC a embraces it. As The Atlantic Monthly senior editor Jack Beatty notes, 'rad- t ical talk' about work - questions about job security, worker satisfaction, s

¡0 downsizing, overtime, and corporate responsibility - is coming back strong into public discourse.18 People who might otherwise imagine themselves H as apolitical care about the state of work, and they do talk about it. IWAC '<2 taps into this concern, linking it to larger concerns about environmen-¡^ tal degradation by suggesting that consumeristic impulses are linked to ¡2 the routinization of work and, more generally, to the degree of worker £ powerlessness within the workplace. The more powerless one feels at v work, the more one is inclined to assert power as a consumer. The 'W' in IWAC provides a conceptual space for asking difficult questions about u

-o consumption and affluence. It holds out the possibility of going beyond o a critique of the 'cultivation of needs' by advertisers to ask about social § forces (like the deadening quality of the workplace) that make citizens so •Ij susceptible to this 'cultivation.'19 Tying together two issues that matter to "g mass publics - the nature of work and the quality of the environment - via something like IWAC could help revitalize public debate and challenge the political timidity of mainstream environmentalism.

Likewise, the 'A' in IWAC, 'alternatives,' expands IPAT's 'T' in new directions by suggesting that the public's failure to embrace sustainable technologies has more to do with institutional structures that restrict the aggressive development and wide dissemination of sustainable technologies than with errant consumer choice. The marketplace, for instance, presents us with red cars and blue ones, and calls this consumer choice, when what sustainability truly demands is a choice between automobiles and mass transit systems that enjoy a level of government support and subsidy that is presently showered upon the automotive industry.20 With 'alternatives,' spirited conversation can coalesce around questions like: Do consumers confront real, or merely cosmetic choice? Is absence of choice the consequence of an autonomous and distant set of market mechanisms? Or is the self-interested exercise of political and economic power at work? And how would one begin to find out? In raising these uncomfortable questions, IWAC focuses attention on claims that the direction and pace of technological development is far from autonomous and is almost always political.21 Breaking down the widely held belief (which is reinforced by IPAT) that technical choice is 'neutral' and 'autonomous' could open the floodgates to full and vigorous debate over the nature and design of technological choice. Once the veil of neutrality is lifted, rich local discourse can, and sometimes does, follow.22

And then there is the issue of public imagination and collective creativity, represented by the 'C' in IWAC. 'Imagination' is not a word one often sees in reflections on environmental politics; it lies among such terms as love, caring, kindness, and meaning that raise eyebrows when introduced into political discourse and policy analysis.23 This despite the work of scholars like political scientist Karen Litfin that readily shows how ideas, images, categories, phrases and examples structure our collective imagination about what is proper and what is possible. Ideas and images, in other words, and those who package and broker them, wield considerable power.24 [...]

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