In ‘Bad Environmentalism,’ CSUF Professor Advises Humor Over Shame Game


Nicole Seymour believes it’s important to have a sense of humor about the environment.

While mainstream environmentalists might be well-meaning, their dire warnings about climate change and other environmental crises can often have an undesired impact on their audience — inaction, says Seymour, an assistant English professor at Cal State Fullerton.

Aside from that, they can come across as finger-wagging killjoys.

“They think, ‘we’ve just got to convince people, we’ve got to convey the science to people,’” she says in an interview in her office on a recent morning. “But what happens next? You gather that information, absorb that information and maybe you just get really depressed, paralyzed.”

Seymour provides an alternative in her book “Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age” (University of Minnesota Press), which was named an Ecocritical Book Award finalist in April by the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.

She focuses on what she calls Bad Environmentalism — animation, documentaries, films, performance art and stand-up comedy that use techniques of playfulness, impropriety, irreverence, irony, frivolity and glee to reflect on the environment and mainstream environmental activism.

Continue reading in the Orange County Register.

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