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Ethics & the Environment, Volume 9, Number 2, Fall 2004

ABSTRACTS

ENVIRONMENTAL VISIONS: DELEUZE AND THE MODALITIES OF NATURE
Mark Halsey

This article examines the role of vision in the construction of "nature." It is suggested that how nature is "seen" is inextricably tied to how such a space is named, traversed and experienced at particular moments. A key contention is that the lens of modernity has for too long adversely impacted what it is possible to see, say, do, and feel with respect to "nature." The force of this statement is borne out with reference to orthodox envisionings of forest conflict in Australia. The article concludes by calling for an environmental ethic(s) which puts into critical relief the discursive, trajective, and affective dimensions of vision.
INTERFACING THE ENVIRONMENT: NETWORKED SCREENS AND THE ETHICS OF VISUAL CONSUMPTION
Kirsty Best

The screen continues to be the primary generator of visual imagery in contemporary culture, including of the natural world. This paper examines the screen as visual interface in the construction and consumption of physical environments. Screens are increasingly incorporated in our daily habits and imbricated into our lives, especially as mediating technologies are embedded into the surfaces of our physical surroundings, shaping and molding our interactions with and perceptions of those environments. As screens become increasingly portable and digitized, they further modify our relationships with environments, projecting multiple images and imagery which fracture and layer visual consumption. And as screens become ubiquitous in urban environments, they network into maps of information control and consumption. We need to fully understand these processes of screen-mediated representation and interaction in order to be able to comment on the ethics of contemporary practices of visually consuming physical environments. In particular, the paper will argue that processes of consumption and their interaction with visual interfacing technologies are not simple or straight-forward, but nevertheless pose ethical questions about the relationship between visual and material circuits of consumption.
THE AESTHETIC TURN IN GREEN MARKETING: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSUMER ETHICS OF NATURAL PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
Anne Marie Todd

Green consumerism is on the rise in America, but its environmental effects are contested. Does green marketing contribute to the greening of American consciousness, or does it encourage corporate greenwashing? This tenuous ethical position means that eco-marketers must carefully frame their environmental products in a way that appeals to consumers with environmental ethics and buyers who consider natural products as well as conventional items. Thus, eco-marketing constructs a complicated ethical identity for the green consumer. Environmentally aware individuals are already guided by their personal ethics. In trying to attract new consumers, environmentally minded businesses attach an aesthetic quality to environmental goods. In an era where environmentalism is increasingly hip, what are the implications for an environmental ethics infused with a sense of aesthetics?
This article analyzes the promotional materials of three companies that advertise their environmental consciousness: Burt's Bee's Inc., Tom's of Maine, Inc., and The Body Shop Inc. Responding to an increasing online shopping market, these companies make their promotional and marketing materials available online, and these web-based materials replicate their printed catalogs and indoor advertisements. As part of selling products to consumers based on a set of ideological values, these companies employ two specific discursive strategies to sell their products: they create enhanced notions of beauty by emphasizing the performance of their natural products, and thus infuse green consumerism with a unique environmental aesthetic. They also convey ideas of health through community values, which in turn enhances notions of personal health to include ecological well-being. This article explicates the ethical implications of a personal natural care discourse for eco-marketing strategies, and the significance of a green consumer aesthetic for environmental consciousness in general.
ZOOTYCOONTM : CAPITALISM, NATURE, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Andy Opel and Jason Smith

This paper is a cultural studies analysis of the Microsoft computer video game, Zoo TycoonT. Through a critical reading using the "circuit of culture," questions of the gamer's subject position, the role of wildlife and implicit and explicit messages about contemporary attitudes toward the environment are explored. Drawing on Susan Davis' book, Spectacular Nature: Corporate Culture and the Sea World Experience (1997), this paper unpacks the virtual theme parks created in Zoo TycoonT for their (dis)continuities with Davis's findings. The virtual animals are found to serve as both labor and products in this game that teaches capitalist business strategy and managerial skills. This popular culture text is an example of a product that harnesses the environmental impulse and redirects that impulse back into commodity capitalism.

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