What are the causes of the environmental crisis? What does an environmentally sustainable society look like? Answering these two questions leads to an engagement with neoliberal epistemology, epidemiology, eighteenth-century philosophy, and socialist planning.
Neoliberal thinkers, such as Friedrich Hayek, ask the simple question of what can be known? If knowledge limits the realm of political action then by arguing that markets are unknowable politics is reduced to an agenda of constructing markets rather than intervening in them. To out-Hayek Hayek, one can counter that nature is far more complex than the market, and therefore much of nature--up to half the Earth--should be left self-willed, so that these unknowable systems can function properly. Socialism then should be environmentalist to protect ecological systems, while environmentalists should be socialists so that economic growth can be consciously restrained within planetary boundaries. Hence, the Left's faith in 'Prometheanism', where nature is completely controlled and 'humanised', must be abjured and a more modest utopia embraced instead.