Earth Day: A Global Mass Culture as a Part of New Globalization

Backtracking and adding a little bit to my previous blog post when I was discussing the First Nations people’s relationship to the land; the new environmental movements and Earth Day itself are a form of residual culture as Raymond Williams would put it. The idea of a reciprocal relationship between human and land is returning with the locavore movements, the idea of organic, and just simply the awareness people are gaining for the effects their actions have on the land. These movements are bringing the importance of the environment as a central component of human survival back out into the discourse of modern society. Althusser also discusses genealogy of re-finding knowledge from subjugated knowledges. These ideas of the relationship of human to land as a mutual relationship have been subjugated through the better parts of the industrial era by the dominant culture and are being brought out of history into the dominant discourse in the genealogical manner as well.

                Stuart Hall describes the transition to new globalization and the different aspects of it as we discussed in class. One of the major aspects of it is the idea of a global mass culture. Earth Day fits into that mold well. It has been brought to the rest of the world by the West (the United States specifically) and has normalized, to a certain extent, the idea of environmentalism. Culture, though, can never be completely homogenized. Earth Day is also spread through visual means like advertisements and with famous persons like Jaden Smith’s association with their Canopy Project (*Link to commercial below). Outside of the mass cultural aspect of new globalization, there is the idea that capital works through the local. With Earth Day, the Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 2,000 organizations (some grassroots) that have the local interest in mind and can tailor the environmental efforts and events to the local communities’ capacity and environmental problems. This is what prevents homogenization of culture and in this case the meaning of environmentalism. The Western entity that is spreading Earth Day (the EDN) has to realize that their exact aim and initiatives in the United States may not work the same way in the other countries that Earth Day has spread to; and I think they do since they are working with local groups to bring Earth Day to them.


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