Author Archives: DP

Beyond Politics

Media fixation on the increasingly toxic Washington soap opera detracts from another Friday of global strikes and protests undertaken by youth movements and their supporters in response to the Great Unravelling that is taking place at eco-structural and existential levels, well beyond politics.

We yield to the honorable and indefatigable Bill McKibben, who offers twenty three reasons why we must strike, strike and strike again:

 

Strike, because the people who did the least to cause this crisis suffer first and worst — the people losing their farms to deserts and watching their islands sink beneath the waves aren’t the ones who burned the coal and gas and oil;

Strike, because coral reefs are so gloriously beautiful and complex — and so vulnerable;

Strike, because sun and wind are now the cheapest way to generate power around the world — if we could match the political power of the fossil fuel industry, we could make fast progress;

Strike, because we’ve already lost more than half the animals on the planet since 1970 — the Earth is a lonelier place;

Strike, because our governments move with such painful slowness, treating climate change as, at worst, one problem on a long list;

Strike, because this could be a great opportunity — and maybe the last opportunity — to transform our society towards justice and towards joy. Green New Deals have been proposed around the world; they are a way forward;

Strike, because forests now seem like fires waiting to happen;

Strike, because young people have asked us to. In a well-ordered society, when kids make a reasonable request their elders should say yes — in this case with real pride and hope that the next generations are standing up for what matters;

Strike, because every generation faces some great crisis, and this is ours;

Strike, because half the children in Delhi have irreversible lung damage simply from breathing the air;

Strike, because Exxon and the rest knew all about global warming in the 1980s, and then lied so they could keep cashing in;

Strike, because what we do this decade will matter for hundreds of thousands of years;

Strike, because the temperature has hit as high as 129 F/54 C — in big cities in recent summers. The human body can survive that, but only for a few hours;

Strike, because do we want to be the first generation to leave the planet in worse shape?;

Strike, because batteries are ever cheaper — we can now store sunshine at night, and wind for a calm day;

Strike, because the UN estimates unchecked climate change could create a billion refugees by 2050;

Strike, because the big banks continue to lend hundreds of billions to the fossil fuel industry — people are literally trying to get rich off the destruction of the planet;

Strike, because what animal fouls its own nest?;

Strike, because Indigenous people around the world are trying to protect their rightful land from the coal and oil companies — and in the process protect all of us;

Strike, because every time they cut down a patch of rainforest to grow some more cows, the climate math gets harder;

Strike, because science is real, because physics exists, because chemistry matters;

Strike, so you can look your grandkid — or anyone else’s — in the eye;

Strike, because the world we were given is still so sweet.

 

 

 


Unite Behind the Science

On this day of massive participation in a global youth strike against the Great Unravelling, we are grateful to the Guardian for publishing a concise visual summary of the data confirming that our house is on fire, and that the time has come to Unite Behind the Science.

With cheers to all strikers, and their supporters:

 

EXHIBIT A

 

EXHIBIT B

 

EXHIBIT C

 

EXHIBIT D

 

EXHIBIT E

 

EXHIBIT F

 

EXHIBIT G

 

UNITE BEHIND THE SCIENCE!

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Where Grizzlies Dance

As the long-suppressed transition from a culture of extraction to a culture of connection gains momentum, there are increasingly frequent occasions to celebrate, such as the death knell for a decades-long effort by developers to brutally transform pristine and sacred wilderness into a glaciated playground for the world’s most conspicuous consumers. From the press release:

 

 

For those not familiar with the long struggle to keep Jumbo wild:

 

Fortunately, we can now change the verb tense in the first sentence above, from “is” to “was”.

 

DEFEATED MASTER PLAN FOR A JUMBO DESECRATION

 

As for the noble Griz:

 

CLICK FOR VIDEO FROM THE KTUNAXA NATION

 


Memories of Evil

We are indebted to a DP correspondent for nudging us towards a new book by Susan Neiman, provocatively titled Learning From The Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil. As we await the book’s arrival to our local independent bookstore, we relay the below excerpts from the publisher’s website. Images are from the lifelong researches of Christian Boltanski into, through and against the darkness.

 

MONUMENT 1984

TABLEAU NOIR 2007

 

ENTRE TEMPS 2004

 

SHADOWS FROM LESSONS OF DARKNESS 1987

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In an early DP post, we identified the transport of Chiricahua Apache to Florida as a prequel to the more fully articulated transport and concentration camp network that would emerge fifty five years later. So it goes.

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Our House Is On Fire

As fires continue to devastate the Amazon, another conflagration rages out of control in nearby Bolivia. This week, we relay an outstanding alarm bell essay by a former Bolivian ambassador to the UN named Pablo Solon, translated and published on the website of Ecologist: The Journal for the Post-Industrial Age.

As Solon points out, the Bolivian government appears to think that deforestation is ok if the resulting land is used for the production of “sustainable” biofuels. Such thinking will eventually have unthinkable consequences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meanwhile, a fire extinguishing boat has recently arrived on the shores of Turtle Island:

 

 

On arrival, the distinguished passenger shown above stated:

Even on a sailboat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I heard about the forests in the Amazon rainforest — the fires in the Amazon rainforest, yeah. And it is, of course, devastating, and it’s so horrible. It’s hard to imagine. So, I mean, we need to — I mean, this is a clear sign that we need to stop destroying nature, and we need — and our war against nature must end.

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Where Dreams Die

Now comes artist Alvaro Enciso, with his efforts to recognize and commemorate hundreds of deaths in the Sonoran Desert; human beings seeking sanctuary within the northern “Goliath”.  From a recent interview on Democracy Now:

 

 

 

 

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In an Artist Statement, Enciso writes:

 

 

 


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And finally, from his own story:

“Proper credentials” be damned — we are grateful for such art. 

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Vision and Justice

We are indebted to an especially well-informed correspondent for steering us towards the documentation for a “convening” this past April at the Radcliffe Institute For Advanced Study.

Conceived and brilliantly directed by Sarah Lewis, the event explored themes of race, identity, power and justice in relation to a wide variety of visual materials, including both that serve the mutating yet ever-present regime of racial  terror and those that form the heart of a powerful and emancipatory counter-narrative.

Given the ongoing eruption of xenophobic and racist messaging and actions, such questions (and such convenings) are more essential than ever. The below image links to an introductory video, worthy of your close attention.

 

 

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Below, excerpts from an interview with Sarah Lewis related to the opening of a museum exhibition that posed similar questions in the context of a gallery installation, this time with a focus on what constitutes American citizenship.

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WHAT WILL ANIMATE US TO ACT AS CITIZENS?

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The Thermonuclear Monarch

In the aftermath of this year’s Hiroshima Day, we offer a few excerpts from a wide-ranging interview with Elaine Scarry roaming the key themes of her book, Thermonuclear Monarchy, published (and largely ignored) five years ago.

Page images are from Shomei Tomatsu & Ken Domon’s Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document that first appeared in 1961.

 

 

 

 

 

Scarry’s ultimate prognosis?

“I don’t know if it’s going to happen this year, or whether it’s going to happen this century, but it’s almost inconceivable that nuclear war isn’t going to happen.”

 

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Unhinged

No, this week’s title does not refer back to last week’s snapshot of hubris and delusion; rather, we relay the most recent assessment of the Greenland ice sheet from a keen observer of climate collapse in the Arctic, Jason Box. Below, excerpts from today’s interview with Amy Goodman:

 

 

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Now please consider a simple graphic depiction of the number of passengers conveyed via air travel between the years 1970 and 2019, charting an increase from four hundred thousand to four billion. That’s a ten thousandfold increase, well within a single lifetime!

We no longer fly here at DP; anyone who thinks that we can address the climate emergency without dramatic and immediate changes in human behaviors is not honestly confronting the implications of the data.

 

 


Just Too Amazing

As we have noted previously, surely Jeff Bezos occupies a cosmic category all his own within the Annals of Hubris and Delusion. The below excerpts are from a February 2019 interview; images, from the website for this spectacularly toxic and dystopia vision of the future, with captions added by DP.

 

WOW, LOOK AT THAT COOL DESOLATION WE CREATED DOWN THERE!

 


 

THE ULTIMATE INVERTED UTOPIAN

 

 

We do not pretend to know the future here at DP. Yet the above nonsense reminds us of the famous lines from Tacitus in Agricola:  Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. 

In the Peterson translation: To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace.

And then there is the passage from Gunther Anders to which we return again and again, and that we recommend to Mr. Bezos for his evening meditation as he gazes ad astra: