Monday, June 08, 2009

Allan Schnaiberg

Photo taken by: Alan Thomas

It is with much sadness, that I must announce that the 'village elder' of Bluesky-Greenwater - Allan Schnaiberg - has passed away in Chicago. Allan was my friend and a wonderful spirit. His energy and passion for the environment and people was fantastic. I am deeply upset at his passing and will keep his ideas and his spirit close to my heart forever. He was a special man that was always willing to share his wisdom and help me understand more about the social world.

Thank you Allan for being my friend and for all your help and inspiration.

I will really miss you!

Allan wrote (back in 1980) the best book I have read on the environment called:

The Environment: From Surplus to Scarcity

In particular, it has an excellent chapter on population (Chapter 2) called "Paradoxes of the Hydra Monster". It is well worth a read!!! Allan was one of the 'elders' of environmental sociology and suggested the societal-environmental dialectic, back in 1975. He is also well known for his 'treadmill of production' ideas and wrote many other papers and books (see here).

Also worth reading, is his paper called "Reflections on My 25 Years Before the Mast of the Environmental and Technology Section", as it contains a great personal summary of his academic life (including background on how the theory of the treadmill of production came about). Anyway, I will leave you with some of what he wrote to me recently:

Thanks for staying in touch at a human level -- far more important that just a "professional" level. I suppose the paradox is that "human warmth" may be the best antidote to "global warming"...

See you, mate,


UPDATE: Very touching to see the Allan Schnaiberg memorial website and to read all the comments about Allan.

Photo taken by: Alan Thomas


David Sonnenfeld said...

Thanks for your thoughtful reflections on Allan's life and enduring contributions. I'd like to include the photo on Allan's Wikipedia page. Can you assist by identifying its source and copyright status? Thanks.

David Sonnenfeld said...

Thanks, Peter. Image uploaded to Allan's Wikipedia page. You may be contacted to verify source &tc.

drkdsmith said...

Oh, my.... this caught me off-guard. I was looking for Allan's contact info to thank him for his academic mentoring when I was in graduate school. I wanted him to know that I completed my PhD and have been an environmental sociologist for 20 years now and continue to use his ideas in almost all of my classes. In recognizing his passing, I thus send my gratitude out to the universe, with you as my witness. Thank you for your kind words about a great man.