nothing here but the dirty dozen
issue 157 - 14th November, 2021
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With COP26, we’ve got a lot of climate change related news… Sorry?
Climate Change & The Environment
MKY: The dirty dozen: meet America’s top climate villains - Georgia Wright, Liat Olenick and Amy Westervelt at The Guardian
Working- and middle-class people must stop blaming themselves for the climate crisis. Instead, it’s time to band together to seek justice and hold these profiteers accountable. Only in calling out their power and culpability is it possible to reclaim the world that belongs to all of us, together.
CJW: Surface Tension - George Monbiot
Regardless of which complex system is being studied, there’s a way of telling whether it is approaching a tipping point. Its outputs begin to flicker. The closer to its critical threshold it comes, the wilder the fluctuations. What we’ve seen this year is a great global flickering, as Earth systems begin to break down. The heat domes over the western seaboard of North America; the massive fires there, in Siberia and around the Mediterranean; the lethal floods in Germany, Belgium, China, Sierra Leone – these are the signals that, in climatic morse code, spell “mayday”.
You might expect an intelligent species to respond to these signals swiftly and conclusively, by radically altering its relationship with the living world. But this is not how we function. Our great intelligence, our highly evolved consciousness that once took us so far, now works against us.
One of the best pieces I think I’ve seen from Monbiot - and that’s saying something when he is consistently writing great pieces.
MKY: Nice. I used to explain this as when a spinning top starts to wobble.
CJW: Indigenous Knowledge Has Been Warning Us About Climate Change for Centuries - Malcolm Harris at Pacific Standard (via Aaron Stewart-Ahn)
The philosopher Timothy Morton calls climate change a “hyperobject”: It’s so widely distributed and conceptually sticky that we can’t really perceive it except in partial local instances. “When you feel raindrops falling on your head, you are experiencing climate, in some sense. In particular you are experiencing the climate change known as global warming,” Morton wrote in 2010. “But you are never directly experiencing global warming as such.” Humans don’t have the right sensory faculties.
Maybe it was possible to think that way in 2010, but, less than a decade later, I think many of us have developed the ability to see global warming. We are no longer empiricists who route information through our senses to our brain for analysis; we’re conspiracy theorists, every raindrop or sunbeam encountered as hyperobject. Now the totality hits us first.
I grabbed the above quote because I thought it was interesting to consider that in just 11 years we’ve gotten to the point where maybe we can perceive the hyperobject of climate change perhaps due to its rapidity or the increased media coverage.
But this essay is actually about Indigenous knowledge on climate change, and the colonialist extractivist ideology that has driven our climate to this point, and on the causes and effects of an insect megadeath. (Caveat: this piece is a couple of years old now, and I remember there being some question as to whether the original research on insect extinctions was actually accurate or not. That said, all the points on the devaluation of indigenous knowledge are still sadly relevant.)
CJW: The climate won’t wait. We need a carbon tax now - Tim Harford at Financial Times
As strange as it may sound, this piece about the implementation and costs of a carbon tax actually gave me hope for the future. It’s a simple and practical step that governments could take which could have a big impact on logistical networks and their carbon output without needing to impact individuals greatly.
We had a carbon tax in Australia and it worked to reduce emissions, but our conservative government dismantled it for ideological reasons, and if Australia’s outing at COP26 is any indication, it seems doubtful they would reintroduce it, or indeed introduce any efforts to mitigate climate change that might impact their friends in big business.
MKY: what other-me sed: