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Embracing Our Monsters

Isabella Blair, Portland, Oregon

Week 5: 8 October 2018

I would be a hypocrite if I said I did not like technology, and so would you. I am assuming that you had to use some sort of technology to access this article, just as I had to use technology to write it. Most people living in modern society would not say that they dislike technology. Our lifestyles are completely dependent on it.

In “Love Your Monsters: Postenvironmentalism and the Anthropocene,” authors discuss how ecotheologists are hypocritical to cast out technology and claim it is anti-environmental. “Love Your Monsters” is quite technophilic, and I support it. The book states that humans and the technology that we have created have coevolved over centuries and have made the world what it is today. There is no denying this. Without electricity, where would we be today? We can’t simply stop improving technology and hope it’ll help undo the damage that has been done to the earth. We have coexisted for too long to do this. The only way to fix it is to create new technologies that improve the old ones.

“Love Your Monsters” brings up the conflict of Frankenstein. The reason why Frankenstein is such a “monster” is because Dr. Frankenstein abandoned his creation and was scared of it. “Love Your Monsters” argues that we cannot abandon our creations. We have to take care of them and improve upon them in order to survive.

The book uses the city of Venice as an example of this concept. Venice has to constantly be rebuilt so that the city may survive rising sea levels. Past technologies are constantly being improved upon. The city is a popular place to visit and it is only technology that has allowed it to exist.

In recent times, technologies have been made for the purpose of being more environmentally friendly. Progress is being made. We can see examples of this everywhere: solar panels, electric vehicles, compostable coffee cups, recycled notebooks, and even digital devices. People are depending on devices more often nowadays, allowing us to reduce our paper consumption and waste.

This past week, I went to central Oregon with a group of students and we did some trail work on the Pacific Crest Trail. We set up water logs and watch steps that serve the purpose of preventing erosion on trails. It felt amazing to contribute to a trail that so many people have used and continue to use because I really am making a difference. Water logs and watch steps are both examples of technology that help the planet.

“Love Your Monsters” mentions the concept of “intensification.” This is the idea that throughout history, humans have been constantly expanding the carrying capacity of the Earth with new technology. For example, when the agricultural revolution happened, humans were able to take a lot more of the earth’s resources. This sounds like wishful thinking to me, and I do not agree with it. There is a finite amount of resources on this planet. The Earth is only so large, and while certain resources are renewable, others are simply not. The only way technology would be able to help us continue to use the resources we are using, at the rate that we are consuming them, is by finding other habitable planets.

Hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail after doing some trail work.

Photograph by
Isabella Blair

We need to continue to encourage the development of technologies that will improve how we live on this planet. We cannot assume that there is no limit to our consumption. We must not abandon technology and hope that it will fix anything. Moving forward, not backwards, is our only option.