10 Feb. Environmental Justice & Renewable Energy


Calendar Update:

Class Meeting Agenda

The Following are the topics/goals we will cover into today’s class session:

Slow Violence & Creative Climate Communication Strategies

Remote Class Video 1

DQ: Breakout Session 1

Please respond to the following in your breakout sessions. Just write down as much information as you need to respond during discussion:
  • 1. What is your assessment of Nixon’s argument? Do you agree/disagree that experts, reproters, activists, and individuals need to find more engaging or symbolic ways to communicate slow violence?
  • 2. Can/does the sort of environmental storytelling that he advocates call those most responsible for environmental devastation to account/create lasting change?

Guide to Writing Academic Paragraphs

Remote Class Video 2

Use the following as a template for body paragraphs in your Paper:
  • 1. Topic sentence(s):1-2 services that remind readers of major claim/through line of specific section & introduce new info.  
  • 2. Transition: 2-3 couple sentences that develop your topic sentence and also set up (announce, contextualize) the citation you will include from the essay you are analyzing.
  • 3. Citation: 2-4 sentences (approx.) of source material. Typically the best material to cite from a text is a passage that requires your analysis, i.e. cited passages should, of course extend and support you claim, but also can/should be complex, technical, or offer several reasonable avenues of interpretation.
  • 4. Close Analysis: 2-4 sentences of “close reading”/analysis of the citation you include. What’s the main idea of the passage you cited & how do you know? That is, what phrases, rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos), metaphors, or structure in the passage suggests to you what you say the passage means? Are you reading the passage you cited against its intended goal?
  • 5. Conclusion:2-3 sentences that tie your analysis back into the larger goal of the paragraph. Now that you have responded to the question with your claim and developed you claim through an analysis of a evidence, you need to write 2-3 more sentences that put the pieces together for your reader.

Environmental Justice

Remote Class Video 3

DQ 2

Please take a minute and consider the following before we discuss:
  • 1.What is your assessment of the methodology employed here? That is, how persuasive do you find the “global systematic review of environmental justice cases” the authors conducted (p. 3)? How does their methodology or rhetorical approach compare with Nixon’s recommendations? 
  • 2. What’s your assessment of environmental justice frameworks? Do you agree/disagree that the intersection between environmental degradation and historic discrimination always need to be considered together?  

Group Preference Form

Week Four: Supporting Materials

Featured Image: Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill Lingering Oil Slick, 2010. 


Keep the following questions in mind as you read Rob Nixon’s “Scenes from the Seabed: The Future of Dissent,” 263-280. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

1.What does the epigraph mean? What’s the relationship between the epithet and the rest of the essay?

2. Why does Nixon invoke Atlantas in the first sentence, “The island of Atlantis, according to Plato, vanished into the ocean ‘in a single night and day of misfortune’” (263)? Is his opening effective, why or why not?

3. What does Nixon mean by “slow violence”? Why is the process of “slow violence” so difficult for writers to communicate?

4. Spend a minute looking at the photo of the underwater cabinet meeting, how does Nixon “read the scene” (264)? How does the president of the Maldives, Mohamad Nasheen, communicate the slow changes from climate change that his country faces? What does he want to accomplish through his “underwater cabinet meeting”? Is President Nasheen successful, why/why not?

5. What does the planting of a flag traditionally symbolize? How do the planted flags that Nixon discusses challenge older notions of the symbolic gesture (266-7)?

6. What some of intersections between human rights and environmental rights that Nixon highlights through his reading of the two “seabed scenes” in the first section of the chapter?

7. BP brands itself as “Beyond Petroleum” (268). What does BP intend for that slogan to mean? What does Nixon suggest it means?

8. What does Nixon mean by the phrase “technological sublime” (268)? What sorts of imaginative tools do people have to counter the “technological sublime”?

9. Why is it useful or important to frame the conversation about climate change as a contest over the symbols we use to represent what is happening to the world?

10.Nixon concludes the section of the reading for last week by claiming, that developed nations “sewsaw” between two risky options: domestic drilling and dependance on foreign oil. What “third option” does he suggest? Do you agree?

12. Who’s responsible for environmental devastation? How can those responsible be held accountable? Who has the moral authority to hold responsible parties accountable? Why is it so hard for transnational corporations to be called to account for their misdeeds?

13. What’s the danger of bracketing foreign disasters as “foreign”? How is the concept of “foreign” faulty as it pertains to environmental issues?

14. If we remembered spills like the 1979 Ixtoc oil explosion, would the Even Horizon spill have been avoided? According to Nixon what keeps us from holding these disasters in our memories? What can we do to remember?

15. Nixon’s book came out in 2011, which means he probably finished writing it in 2010. How does the Gross Negligence ruling and subsequent claims settlement fit into with Nixon’s assessment of power of legislation?

16. What’s lost in these disasters? What’s gained from not taking preventative measures until after the disaster have occurred? The terror of unlearned lessons…

17. What’s “Corexit” (272) and why is it so scary?

18. If, in the first half of his Epilogue, Nixon focuses on the difficulty of rendering “slow violence,” why does he turn to the impossibility of rendering “unseen violence” (273) or the terrible effects of ecological disaster that culpable parties attempt erase?

19. What accounts for the discrepancy in responses between the Event Horizon spill and the “546 million gallons of oil spilled in the Niger Delta” (274)?

20. Consider this question that Nixon asks toward the end of his book, “How will writers, photographers, video artists, podcasters, and blogger navigate the possibilities–and possible perils–opened up by a new media culture characterized both by intensive, instant connectivity and by impatient, distractive staccato rhythms?” (276).

Working Group Preference Form