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Professor Proctor’s ‘ecopocalypse’ research featured in USA Today column

December 15, 2008

Jim Proctor, professor and chair of environmental studies, is featured in a USA Today column on environmentalist Americans’ fear of ecological collapse and the problems with end-times fixations. Religion and public life columnist Tom Krattenmaker questions the effectiveness of this dystopia concept and other fear-based strategies designed to motivate people to behave in a certain manner.

Proctor and a research team have been talking with Oregonians and surveying the general population about their experiences with nature and pursuit of perfecting the co-existence between humans and the environment.

“‘You find that people working for a utopian future have tremendous fear about things turning out differently,’” Proctor explains in the column. ‘Utopias are often framed against a dystopian nightmare,’ he adds, producing a kind of all-or-nothing fixation on perfection and its perfect opposite.”

Proctor’s project was also the focus of a recent article in The Oregonian, detailing the survey and citing some of its initial results.

USA Today  ‘The End’ as a weapon

The Oregonian Shaping dreams—and nightmares—about natural world