Between metaphors and measurement

Laura Jane Martin has a nice piece over at Scientific Americandiscussing how the metaphor of the “ecological footprint” compares to others, say, of the “ecological handprint.” I always enjoy thinking about the sorts of issues that arise when we measure things. The ecological footprint is, of course, the metaphor for conveying a particular way of accounting in ecological terms the throughput required for certain lifestyles and, at that, one recently critiqued as I mentioned previously here.

David Grinspoon reminded us (over twitter) yesterday that he spoke to similar issues in his Sagan lecture at about 36:00.

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