Desire and Necessity: William Morris and Nature

Authored by: Patrick O’Sullivan

The Routledge Companion to William Morris

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9780415347433
eBook ISBN: 9781315229416
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315229416-24

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Abstract

In a world where the words of a sixteen-year-old schoolgirl can generate a global protest movement, 1 as a result of which serious scientific reports of ‘climate breakdown’ 2 and mass extinction of species 3 can bring millions of her fellows (and their parents and grandparents) out on the street, it may seem willfully idiosyncratic still to believe that the words of a middle-aged, middle-class, Victorian man who died some one hundred and twenty-five years ago could possibly retain any relevance to the problems of today. However, in several countries, the left-wing response to just these problems has involved development of some kind of Green New Deal: 4 programmes which seek to reverse not only current runaway climate change, accelerating habitat destruction and overwhelming biological extinction, but also the increased poverty, inequality and insecurity caused by forty years of Neo-liberal economic policies associated with Thatcherism-Reaganomics, globalisation and post-2008 austerity.

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