I only bring infuriating news. I’ve actually been angry for two weeks. I do not know where to start. I will resort to numbering as if this love (and rage) letter was a list to go to a supermarket where you never find what you expect.
That all the shitty Canada’s landscapes get contaminated with toxic mining debris. May the United States burn across its four borders and may the wall prevent the flames from reaching Mexico. Let western Europe flood 30 meters underground, and the other part freeze and bury itself in days without sun. May Japan explode from its volcanic guts, and may the scorching sun in Australia leave no human alive. Let them be poisoned. May we have the cure, but we let them die. Let the rest of us be left alone.
(The graphic is from a recent study by Jason Hickel.)
Let’s do the first zoom to the Global North. The camera is already slightly shaking because we are furious. We’ve just learned that Europe is concerned: its transition to a low-carbon economy is threatened because raw materials are in the hands of “problematic partners.” I have to sit down, drink sugar water, and keep reading this piece. Their colonialist violence has devastated the environment and our societies and cultures; they have stolen with impunity and burned everything in their path to build their wealth, but, hey, they won’t be able to be green Europe anytime soon, neither electric cars nor anything, because they have “problematic partners.” Poor Europe, being so cool in a world of such trashy people.
A second zoom. Now we’re seeing Google. The Tech Transparency Project (TTP) showed a few days ago the incredible amount of carbon dioxide that Google and its top executives have emitted into the atmosphere due to their private jets’ fleet. Flights include short trips that could have been taken by car, vacations in the Caribbean and South Pacific, and business and lobbying activities worldwide. According to TPP, an economy class passenger would have to go around the world more than 32,000 times, or once a day for more than 88 years, to approximate the same carbon footprint as Google executives. But I think there must be a misunderstanding, in 2019 they declared: “Google has a longstanding commitment to climate action and environmental stewardship. Sustainability has been a core value since Google’s founding, and we strive to build sustainability into everything we do.”
Well, one more proof that the concept of climate change or climate crisis is the best ally for consumer capitalism to remain healthy, as activists have denounced for years with their “System change, not climate change.”
Little things, yes, beautiful to read, so that it is not all suffering:
– Ecological Politics for the Working Class: there is hope, there are gringos who overcome their anti-communism and manage to do more than ethical principles, hahaha
– Mariana Enríquez is asked to write about the pandemic, and she does not say anything because she has no idea (as every honest person). What an anti-patriarchal thought, I respect it very much: refrain from explaining, wait to understand.
– Super nice this: Remembering the many lives of our friend David Graeber.
A kiss, d, and a meme that is Brauliopiau’s favorite and also mine (when you visit Canada /when Canada visits you),
I wish I could do something to help you with that fury! I’m really affected by that aspect of living distant to each other, I also think about all these months you’ve been in lockdown and it feels even worst to not being able to do anything. In relation to those feelings of separation that are present at so many levels, I wanted to thank you for sharing the text of Mariana Enríquez. I was very identified with the description of that anxiety that makes you motionless, but also with the more ridiculous things that one tends to think in this context of pandemic, for instance I have also adopted that dramatic end of life tone and started to thank the universe for the traveling, the romances, the drugs, and all those moments in which I’ve felt pure joy. Hahah it’s all true but also totally drama queen stuff.
Honestly, I’ve been stable and happy, and I also have my list of things to tell you. One of those is related to this excellent critique I read in a book that Pondie recommended <3: Outlaw Territories: Environments of Insecurity/Architecture of Counterinsurgency by Felicity Scott. I don’t know if you’ve been at the Ford Foundation building in Manhattan? The thing is that the lobby of that building is very famous because they have this huge indoor garden and they claim that it is an architectural landmark. I’ve talked about it with employees of the foundation and they are pretty proud about the whole arrangement. I always kinda hated that space every time I visited, mainly because they had to maintain a certain level of humidity in the air so those exotic plants would survive in the cold New York City and of course my hair went crazy with the frizz. Well, the critique of this book is about all those spaces of artificial nature and the white pride of, in the words of the architects, “expressing a natural, but controlled atmosphere”, the author affirms that there is some trend of building spaces where wild nature is domesticated so rich cities can rejoice in exoticism. Deterritorialization and reterritorialization Scott links that desire with a colonialist drive that is far from being a well-intentioned endeavor, on the contrary, it is related to uneven economic and technological development, it is exploitative, violent, and coercive. Everything looks worst when we think about the global role of US philanthropy, on how they sell narratives of equity while the Third World has no place in their spaces of Ivy League values, only in the format of an artificial garden inside a huge fish tank. Check, this is a very powerful quote of the book: “the artificial “nature” inserted into the heart of Manhattan is no less false than the pretenses to community welfare that the architects resort to as justification.”
I liked reading a reflection in which architectural technologies are criticized, architecture is certainly a discipline that needs to be socially accountable and we, as philosophers of technology, should be able to have our say. In fact, I want to comment another case of an intersection between technology, urban landscapes and untamable nature. I guess you already saw that the US is literally burning? Well, social media, current promoters of stupidity and far-right ideology, have a significant role in that disaster. There is this rumor that accuses antifa as the responsible of the fires, they supposedly did that with the only objective of provoking chaos. Of course there are gringos who believe those rumors and they refuse to evacuate so they can defend their houses from the evil plan of these evil groups whose evil mission is to oppose fascism. I feel curiosity but also horror when I imagine the future stories of disinformation that will be created because of the upcoming climate catastrophes.
Amiga, also thanks for mentioning David Graeber, his death is a tremendous loss for humanity. In any case, and in relation with gatitoearth, I love to think that his last tweet was a shade on Extinction Rebellion and their intention to present themselves as a non-political movement. I will also use this opportunity to leave this short post I wrote on my blog about a brief email exchange I had with Graeber on 2017 regarding his last book Bullshit Jobs, we actually talked about the industry of philanthropy and its exploitative structures. As you see, my letter today is totally biting the hand that feeds. Oops.
Love you, thank you for everything you give,