Is Green the New Black? Adrian Parr tackles the politics of sustainability

In the recent years, sustainability has gone mainstream. No longer is the quest for a green lifestyle a grassroots movement among progressively minded collectives; sustainability is now the buzzword among Prius-driving Hollywood stars and multinational corporations. Eco-hip is the new hip.


According to Adrian Parr, the October guest lecturer for the EVDS Design Matters Lecture Series in Calgary, the sustainability movement has become the basis for a new market in green commodities and design, a situation that risks co-opting the politics of the movement as it leads to the very system of relations that it struggles against.


Parr, visiting professor at the University of Cincinnati, will tackle the politics of sustainability at the EVDS lecture and reception on Thursday, October 15th at 7:00pm at The Uptown Theatre in Calgary.


“Sustainability has captured our imagination at a time when we are discouraged and demoralized by a failed war and general governmental incompetence,” says Parr, author of the recent and very provocative book, Hijacking Sustainability. “[Sustainability] offers an alternative narrative of the collective good – an idea now compromised and endangered by corporate, military, and government interests.”


The question to answer is: how can we resuscitate the politics of the sustainability movement? Parr believes a university can help further the green movement.


“I think green politics is also largely a pedagogical problem, and it has to do with educating people about the implications of their actions both at an individual level and at the level of the community,” says Parr. “The university environment promotes the development of an ‘informed citizen’ and this really is where sustainability politics originates.”


Although Parr won’t specifically speak on Calgary, she invites all Calgarians to join.


“The topic is relevant to all as we are all actors in the global public commons we call climate.”


EVDS Professor David Monteyne agrees this topic is very relevant not only to students but also to the Calgary community. “She is coming out with some clear thinking and critical questioning about the ubiquitous and powerful discourse of sustainability and its realities and implications.”


The Uptown is located at 610 8 Ave SW. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5; students attend for free.


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