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Roger Scruton

Green philosophy

In Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet Roger Scruton presents his views on how to deal with environmental, and other, problems which we are faced with.

Global warming is generally thought of as our main problem, and it seems as though tough measures may have to be taken to deal with it, perhaps international agreements on fossil fuel use. Scruton's view is that such solutions begin in the wrong place - they are top-down. He thinks that the best way to deal with problems is bottom-up: small groups of individuals should get together to put forward their point of view, and negotiate with other groups who may have opposing views. Scruton wants people to get back the power to decide how they are going to live - he sees rules such as the EU health and safety regulations as confiscating this power.

So to solve our problems we each need to get into detailed negotiation with others. The trouble is that this book isn't written in that way. Rather is paints a broad brush picture of Scruton's views, but doesn't look in detail at those who would disagree with them. Also, Scruton doesn't seem to me to enitrely consistent. He's a fan of Prince Charle's brainchild Poundbury - but surely thats a classic example of top-down development. More seriously, when he gets on to global warming he sees unilateral geoenineering by the USA as possible solution - so what has happened to the detailed negotiation over contentious issues? The book gives one viewpoint of how to deal with environmental problems, and it's easy to read, but for more serious discussion I would look elsewhere.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews