Betsy Hartmann writes fiction and non-fiction about critical national and global issues. She is the author of the novels Deadly Electionand The Truth about Fireand the feminist classic, Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control. She is co-author of A Quiet Violence: View from a Bangladesh Village and co-editor of the anthology, Making Threats: Biofears and Environmental Anxieties. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts where she teaches and directs the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College.
In this interview we talk about some of the issues she covers in her articles, War Talk and Climate Change, and Gender, Militarism, and Climate Change. In particular, the roles patriarchy plays in creating and encouraging climate change, and how patriarchy effects the responses to it, and how the term "ecological refugees" masks the fact that people are by and large refugees because of social forces such as race, class, industrialization, militarism, and so on.
Betsy also talked about how the argument used by liberal environmentalists that population more must be seriously addressed often leads to a racist attitude to women of colour in other countries, whereas consumption has much more to do with the root of the problem. In her article, Conserving Racism: The Greening of Hate at Home and Abroad, she talks more about this.
Also addressed is the the connections between militarism and refugees. More and more, climate change is entering into militaristic national security scenarios. Detention centers are being built and borders are becoming fortified and increasingly militarized, and more and more people talk fearfully about how climate change will lead to police state scenarios. But, Betsy reminds us, by deeming these futures as inevitable, we let those in power off the hook. There are many options open to us as humans that do not rely on police, prisons, and so on. We can't forget that and stop fighting for that, or else we will truly be in a bad position.
Download 36:40 Recorded on December 19, 2007
Note: I have had trouble uploading this interview, but I am trying to work it out with the station's tech people. Sorry, but it can't be downloaded right now.