My Year of Meats- Discussion


Some Contemporary Works That Depict Environmental and/Environmental Social Apocalypse

Films: The Road, The Day After Tomorrow, The Happening, Wall-E, Children of Men, I Am Legend, The Book of Eli

TV: Terra Nova

Short Film: Slurb by Marina Zurkow –

Ads: Toshiba Impact Smart Hard Drive-

Art: Ricky Allman, Steve McGhee, Alexis Rockman’s “Golf Course,” “Hollywood at Night,” “The Garden of Earthly Delights,”
“Manifest Destiny,” “Gateway Arch,” and “Mount Rushmore”

Video Games: Final Fantasy VII, Fallout 3


What made Soylent Green culturally viable in America during this time period?

Shift in global concern -With the fear of nuclear holocaust “black boxed”, people began looking at other, more insidious, human changes to the environment (Prof. Buell’s Book)

Politics and Activism

-October 3 1965- Immigration Act of 1965

-April 22, 1970- First U.S.-wide Earth Day

-October 3, 1970- founding of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

-December 2, 1970- founding of the EPA

-December 31, 1970- Clean Air Act

-1970- founding of Natural Resources Defense Council and of Friends of the Everglades

-1972- Congress passes the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act, and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act

-June 1972- United Nations established the U.N. Environment Programme

Diffusion of environmental issues via literature– Murray Bookchin’s Our Synthetic Environment and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (both published in 1962); Barry Commoner’s The Closing Circle: Man, Nature, and Technology (1971)

-Bookchin’s text covered a wide range of environmental topics: contamination of the environment through pesticide and herbicide use, the damage done to soil and plants by chemical fertilizers, pollution, etc. However, it did not reach as wide an audience as Carson’s work.

-Carson also wished to warn society about the long-term effects of pesticide misuse-The way in which she published the work facilitated the spread of its ideas

-Commoner’s text presented his Four Laws of Ecology: “Everything is connected to everything else,” “Everything must go somewhere,” “Nature knows best” (“any major man-made change in a natural system is likely to be detrimental to that system”), and “There is no such thing as a free lunch” (“anything extracted from” the environment “by human effort must be replaced”)

Environmental disasters in the media- urban smog (NY- Summer 1966), the devastation of Lake Erie (1968), oily debris and a spark from a passing train igniting the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland (1969), and the Santa Barbara oil spill (1969)

Broad societal change- rise of the middle class and increased access to higher education

Social protest movements-(Civil-Rights, Anti-Vietnam, feminist) encouraged individuals and groups to question authority and provided personnel and tactics for environmentalist movements


IPAT Equation


Impact= Population X Affluence X Technology

– This equation, which emerged as a result of a discussion between scientists, Commoner, Ehrlich and Holdren, “describes the
multiplicative contribution of population (P), affluence (A) and technology (T) to environmental impact (I).” In other words environmental impact is influenced and can be loosely calculated by the totality of these three factors. However, an increase in any single factor does not necessarily mean that there will be a negative environmental impact; the other factors can work as counter-weights.

-“Environmental impact (I) may be expressed in terms of resource depletion or waste accumulation”

-Population (P) is self evident

-“Affluence (A) refers to the level of consumption by that population”- N.B. this is not just food related

-“Technology (T) refers to the processes used to obtain resources and transform them into useful goods and wastes,” or the level of intensity involved in the production of affluence- It involves creating, transporting and disposing of the
goods, services and amenities used

For more information of this you can see:


Ramblings on the Two Relationships Depicted in Much Ado About Nothing

In Branagh’s adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, of the two couples depicted, Benedict and Beatrice’s relationship seems to be the genuine focal point while Hero and
Claudio’s romance simply appears to be a necessary device for developing and remedying the plot pertaining to Don Pedro and Don John. By comparing and contrasting the couples and their roles in the film, this will become more apparent.

Before the tale begins, though viewers are not aware of the details immediately, it is clear that both of the couples were in contact with one another previously.  Nevertheless,
the degree of intimacy in these relationships is quite different. Benedict and Beatrice have been romantically involved in the past. Though there are numerous instances which would enable one to divine this, the most definitive proof can be found in the masque scene when Beatrice is conversing with Don Pedro. While speaking of Benedict’s heart, she states, “He lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once he won it of me with a false dice, therefore my grace you may well say I have lost it.” Therefore, the feud that confronts the audience, at the beginning of the film, can be understood to be the product of some rift which engendered pain and is now dealt with in banter and witticisms.

In contrast, Claudio and Hero’s relationship lacks a prior romantic basis, and the foundations that are laid in the initial scenes seem logical rather than passionate. Claudio conveys to Don Pedro that he liked Hero before he left for war, and now that he has returned, his mind is fixated on securing a love that he can settle down with. Hero, from what one can judge of her demeanor, appears to share his innocent and nascent feelings. Yet, it is disconcerting that she would yield so readily and almost happily to Leonato’s wish that she marry Don Pedro if he seeks her hand. It is equally jarring that Claudio would yield to such when Borachio brings this possibility to his attention. Though one can reason that Claudio’s duty is to the Prince and Hero’s is to her father, the fact that they would be so easily swayed by obligations indicates that nature is not given free rein in their hearts.

In addition, the couples’ views of marriage are understandably different. Due to the fact that Benedict and Beatrice have been harmed by each other in the past, they are embittered and proud. They seem to espouse that love indicates weakness because it is not aligned with reason. Animal similes and metaphors are frequently employed to convey the irrationality of love between men and women.

In contrast, Hero and Claudio are too inexperienced to have the depth and complication of feeling that Benedict and Beatrice harbor. They greet their potential and forth-coming union with joy because they believe that love entails simply worthiness on the part of the man and virtue on the part of the woman. It is a very calculated sort of exchange, which is why they are so apt to fall to pieces when parts of the equation are seemingly missing.

While Hero and Claudio are torn asunder by hearsay and mistrust, Beatrice and Benedict are easily brought together as soon as they no longer have to fear their affections. Their reasoning is that if love exists in the other’s heart, then there is no cause for restraint and no slight to rationality. It is sensible to requite love so long as one’s pride is not diminished in the submission. It is a testament to their love that it grows stronger even in the midst of conflict.

The conclusion of the film also gives more weight to Benedict and Beatrice’s marriage over the seeming protagonists’. Claudio is only allowed to marry the resurrected Hero when he can blindly accept her as another woman. His honor is at stake, not his heart. In contrast, Benedict and Beatrice must overcome their pride and fear before they can publically acknowledge their love and marry. For them, much more seems to hang in the balance in a personal sense. They are trying once again at something that had failed before, and in yielding to such, they are opening themselves not only to disappointment but mockery.

It seems evident that just as Hero and Claudio’s love is flat so too are their characters. Whereas, Benedict and Beatrice are dynamic characters who exhibit development as does their relationship. Nevertheless, Benedict and Beatrice’s love does not tie into the Don Pedro-Don John plot in any significant way while Hero and Claudio’s is integral.  Without them, the villains would have no avenue for action. They are the means by which Don John attempts to undermine and dishonor his brother, Don Pedro. They are also the reason why Don John and his conspirators are arrested and imprisoned. In other words, both couples are essential but for very distinct reasons: Hero and Claudio are plot devices; Benedict and Beatrice are the means by which one can explore the intricacies of romance, passion, reason, and the difficulty of reconciling human love with


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