Last night I was privileged to be invited to a dialog sponsored by SFUs Burnaby Mountain College called Are We Just a Bunch of Ecopaths? A Dialogue on Our Environmental Paradox. William Deverell (famous author) and Buzz Holling (eco-complexity scientist) were the honourary guess. Elizabeth May (Green Party Leader) was also invited but could not attend. Burnaby Mountain College is a project that brings together visiting scholars, postdocs and graduate students from all the different SFU schools in to on common place for discussion and debate. This interdisciplinary forum allows for the exchange of ideas and for graduate students to meet others outside their own school.
It was very inspiring hearing Bill and Buzz talk about how we are living in a paradox. A very interesting discussion point postulated on the idea of “media fair and equal coverage”, this has caused special interest groups to refute scientific fact without any credible evidence. Bill approached his work with passion and activism while Buzz uses his sense of calm curiosity. Both gentlemen have different approaches to their work but have the same goal; change the attitudes of people so that our planet can sustain human and other species, not just this generation but all future generations. The discussion and exchange of ideas was broad, but all were connected.
I did a search for the definition of “echpath” on the web. Urban Dictionary came up with two definitions:
- A person so obsessed with “environmentalism” and “being green” that they deem any sort of infraction against their misguided mindset as the ultimate sin. Possessed of a gigantic “holier than thou” attitude. Were this type of person given a choice between cutting down a tree and strangling a newborn baby…well, sorry baby!
- Someone who uses the environment in a destructive fashion purely for their own gratification without regard for the common good of life on earth. These people have no sense of remorse or guilt or remorse about their destructive impact on the environment. Ecopathism is a personality disorder much like sociopathism.
It is interesting that there would be these two contrary definition… perhaps here lies part of the paradox…