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Ecopiety: Green Media and the Dilemma of Environmental Virtue (Religion and Social Transformation Book 1)

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Tackles a human problem we all share―the fate of the earth and our role in its future Confident that your personal good deeds of environmental virtue will save the earth? The stories we encounter about the environment in popular culture too often promote an imagined moral economy, assuring us that tiny acts of voluntary personal piety, such as recycling a coffee cup, o Tackles a human problem we all share―the fate of the earth and our role in its future Confident that your personal good deeds of environmental virtue will save the earth? The stories we encounter about the environment in popular culture too often promote an imagined moral economy, assuring us that tiny acts of voluntary personal piety, such as recycling a coffee cup, or purchasing green consumer items, can offset our destructive habits. No need to make any fundamental structural changes. The trick is simply for the consumer to buy the right things and shop our way to a greener future. It’s time for a reality check. Ecopiety offers an absorbing examination of the intersections of environmental sensibilities, contemporary expressions of piety and devotion, and American popular culture. Ranging from portrayals of environmental sin and virtue such as the eco-pious depiction of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, to the green capitalism found in the world of mobile-device “carbon sin-tracking” software applications, to the socially conscious vegetarian vampires in True Blood, the volume illuminates the work pop culture performs as both a mirror and an engine for the greening of American spiritual and ethical commitments. Taylor makes the case that it is not through a framework of grim duty or obligation, but through one of play and delight, that we may move environmental ideals into substantive action.


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Tackles a human problem we all share―the fate of the earth and our role in its future Confident that your personal good deeds of environmental virtue will save the earth? The stories we encounter about the environment in popular culture too often promote an imagined moral economy, assuring us that tiny acts of voluntary personal piety, such as recycling a coffee cup, o Tackles a human problem we all share―the fate of the earth and our role in its future Confident that your personal good deeds of environmental virtue will save the earth? The stories we encounter about the environment in popular culture too often promote an imagined moral economy, assuring us that tiny acts of voluntary personal piety, such as recycling a coffee cup, or purchasing green consumer items, can offset our destructive habits. No need to make any fundamental structural changes. The trick is simply for the consumer to buy the right things and shop our way to a greener future. It’s time for a reality check. Ecopiety offers an absorbing examination of the intersections of environmental sensibilities, contemporary expressions of piety and devotion, and American popular culture. Ranging from portrayals of environmental sin and virtue such as the eco-pious depiction of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey, to the green capitalism found in the world of mobile-device “carbon sin-tracking” software applications, to the socially conscious vegetarian vampires in True Blood, the volume illuminates the work pop culture performs as both a mirror and an engine for the greening of American spiritual and ethical commitments. Taylor makes the case that it is not through a framework of grim duty or obligation, but through one of play and delight, that we may move environmental ideals into substantive action.

32 review for Ecopiety: Green Media and the Dilemma of Environmental Virtue (Religion and Social Transformation Book 1)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    This was SUCH an interesting read.  When the title said "Media" I expected advertisements, news outlets, Instagram, but instead what I received was a beautiful and intriguing dialogue about environmentalism and spirituality, a discussion on Twilight fanfiction and its subsequent rewrite, Fifty Shades of Gray, and the acknowledgement of personal choices and their effects on our planet.   Trust me, I absolutely did not see the softcore porn book making an appearance in an environmentalism and spiri This was SUCH an interesting read.  When the title said "Media" I expected advertisements, news outlets, Instagram, but instead what I received was a beautiful and intriguing dialogue about environmentalism and spirituality, a discussion on Twilight fanfiction and its subsequent rewrite, Fifty Shades of Gray, and the acknowledgement of personal choices and their effects on our planet.   Trust me, I absolutely did not see the softcore porn book making an appearance in an environmentalism and spirituality book, but given that Christian Gray has his hands in environmentally friendly technology and processes, it makes sense to see why such a popular book was referenced in an entire chapter.  Does his ecopiety--his sense of being 'holier than thou' because of how environmentally friendly he is--outweigh the fact that he is emotionally abusive and manipulative toward his belle, Anastasia?  And what do we make of its origin source, Twilight, where the Cullen family states that they're vegetarian because they're abstaining from humans, but instead eat animals?  Which is the antithesis of vegetarianism?  Or what of Edward's enjoyment of his Prius, a look at his upper class life, where Bella loves her old pickup truck meant for a rural near-farming community?   Just, wow.  There was a lot to unpack, and a lot to really see.  I would love the chance to reread the first of the Twilight series, just to totally see what Taylor is talking about--not that I think she's incorrect, but because I think she's entirely correct in what she's seeing. Though, her overall message, of how environmentalism and spiritual piety seems to be intertwined, was the most intriguing.  I loved the ways in which she parsed this hypothesis out from literature, fanfiction, television, and advertisements.  After all, a prius is still a car, and cars, no matter how environmentally friendly, will always be a detriment to the environment.   Definitely worth a read, if only for the Twilight chapters (I'm willing to wager you'll want to read the rest, too)! Review cross-listed here!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mike Stolfi

    Awesome book. I had no idea that pollution porn even existed, or why any-one would get off on it, & now I do. But seriously, without global policy you will never save the planet by your personal purchasing biases, even if it does make you feel good about them. Of course the Smug episode of South Park already covered this. . .

  3. 5 out of 5

    Zack

    The premise of this book is interesting: exploring some of the relations between religion, environmentalism, and media. But the project ultimately falls flat, in my mind, due to a theoretical simplicity and a conclusion that does far less than thrill. Each chapter of Ecopiety focuses on a particular environmental movement, artifact, or cause and its associated media, and the subjects that are focused on here are truly fascinating, ranging from Fifty Shades of Gray to the Prius automobile to "gre The premise of this book is interesting: exploring some of the relations between religion, environmentalism, and media. But the project ultimately falls flat, in my mind, due to a theoretical simplicity and a conclusion that does far less than thrill. Each chapter of Ecopiety focuses on a particular environmental movement, artifact, or cause and its associated media, and the subjects that are focused on here are truly fascinating, ranging from Fifty Shades of Gray to the Prius automobile to "green burials" and "green rap" just to name a few. But there seems to be fairly little interrogation of these phenomena. Chapters end up feeling more like reports on these interesting organizations than dedicated interrogations of what they're doing, how they're doing it, and what it means in a larger context. Some of this can be blamed on the media theory frameworks that McFarland Taylor employs, many of which are simply outdated and simplistic, and used in a way that props up a very basic exploration of an idea without interrogating later discussions surrounding the use of these theories. In addition, the conclusion seems out of step with the rest of the book's argument. Throughout, there is a latent emphasis on civic engagement, on large-scale reforms to environmental policies and ideas, and in some cases movements are critiqued for not supporting these kinds of initiatives. But the book's ultimate conclusion is that humans need to engage in "play" to re-story our cultures and make meaningful change. Perhaps this could eventually lead to the kind of civic engagement discussed earlier in the book, but that connection is never explicitly drawn in the concluding chapter, and so the notion of play as solution feels like it falls flat, and once again emphasizes personal actions and piety over collective action. The book is not badly written, and there're a lot of interesting facets to the cases and ideas explored here. Ultimately, though, the text is definitely too long, and feels a bit like a collection of scattered reports on various environmental issues and topics/activism without cohering in any meaningful way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Meira Datiya

    Sarah McFarland Taylor's 'Ecopiety' is a wake-up call for all those who want to be good stewards of planet earth but don't necessarily know what they should be doing. She untangles the web of conflicting narratives, pulls back the curtain on our psyche, and shows us the roots of corporate manipulation in media. This is a story of 'world making' and what it means for those of us wanting to live better lives in a world currently run on scarcity. She does this by first taking us deep into the psych Sarah McFarland Taylor's 'Ecopiety' is a wake-up call for all those who want to be good stewards of planet earth but don't necessarily know what they should be doing. She untangles the web of conflicting narratives, pulls back the curtain on our psyche, and shows us the roots of corporate manipulation in media. This is a story of 'world making' and what it means for those of us wanting to live better lives in a world currently run on scarcity. She does this by first taking us deep into the psychological realm of media manipulation and hidden relationships between 'ecopiety' and 'consumopiety'. How pop-culture influences us, and how we subvert it through remixing, re-storying, alternative endings, and co-opting corporate media tactics. In chapters two through six we learn about how our own stories reveal deeper narratives that we may or may not be consciously aware of, how software has created useless acts of piety that steer us away from holding corporations and governments accountable, as well as, green funerals. Chapter seven introduces us the dichotomy of environmentalism and social justice and the use of media forms as tools of witness. In the final chapter, we learn about the power of stories on our future. How we can shape them, collaborate, and re-story our world together. We don't need the guilt and psychological manipulation of corporate media telling us it's our fault for what it happening and only small acts can make a difference. When we can work together to build a brighter, healthier, and more just world for everyone. We never needed corporations to write our story for us.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne-irene Zimmermann

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kaela

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    Hannah

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    Emily

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    Olive McGuire

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    Bryan Cebulski

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    Jenn Mckague

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    Tessa Peixoto

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    Aaron Spiegel

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    Heidi

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    Katherine

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    Laura West

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    Rosemary Race

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    Emilio

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    Philip Yoder

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    Sarah Holliday (Page & Cup)

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    Rine Karr

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    Veekas Ashoka

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    William Blomfield

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    Pieter

  32. 4 out of 5

    Anna

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