The emotional choreography of hunting and gathering societies is revealed when those who argue for unlimited freedom and unlimited growth use ‘outsider’ emotions to defend their position. Their emotional landscape is based on hostility to the ‘other’, and aggression towards opposing views and people that espouse them. These people are fighting a ‘Green War’ because ‘greens’ represent that which is most anathema to them ... the restriction of individual freedom in the interests of any collective good. Even rationality and science, if used to support forms of limitation, including limits to greenhouses gases in the atmosphere, become enemies of the so-called free and open society.
By contrast, the climate scientists and environmentalists who see the need for restraint and self limitation are able to use the insider emotional choreography of the hunters and gatherers to establish and reinforce their own position. They can clearly see that humans have re-entered a world of scarcity and that there is a need to give expression to relictual communal emotions of care, responsibility and collective good that enable sustainability within the imposed limits. That they have to confront those who oppose them and who do so via the opposing emotions of hostility and aggression only makes for the drama of the emotions to be played out in the most difficult of circumstances.