Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Marshall McLuhan's Critique of the Environmental Movement

A frequent critique of the environmental movement is that the message is often lost amidst an overly-preachy tone. People are told that they must recycle, they must consume fewer resources, and that they must have fewer children. This demanding approach has alienated a certain segment of the population because, let's face it, people don't like being bossed around.

Marshall McLuhan, the celebrated media guru, foresaw the perils of this approach. As former Pollution Probe employee Ann Love told me, one day in the 1970s she and a number of her co-workers bumped into McLuhan in the University of Toronto parking lot they shared. After some small talk, McLuhan left the young environmentalists with one of his patented turns-of-phrases:

"Well boys, I think you are doing a good thing. But remember -- don't should on me."

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