In an open letter published in the Guardian today, 246 international scholars write that
efforts to cut emissions and naturally drawdown carbon are essential, researchers in many areas consider societal collapse a credible scenario this century. Different views exist on the location, extent, timing, permanence and cause of disruptions, but the way modern societies exploit people and nature is a common concern.
Practice literalism. End the tradition of turning everything into a symbol for human life.
Occupy science. Befriend facts and factoids. Enrich theatre with the bristly nomenclatures of the natural sciences.
Yes to vastness, and yes also to the infinitesimal. Toggle between the Big Picture and Reality-at-Hand, however tiny. Also between Deep History and the Here and Now. Do the Scalar Slide.
Practice Glocality: intense focus on our localities, but with global eyes in the back our heads, scanning for interrelatedness and beaming signals out to other localities–consciously, urgently.
Loosen your epistemologies. Don’t believe everything you think.
Flatten your ontologies. Everyone and everything invited in.
Unflatten your geographies. What happens here doesn’t stay here. The Far Away folds right onto the Right Here. Make plays with pleated places.
Take all animals seriously, not just human ones. Also plants, including weeds, nettles, hemlock. . . Also minerals, rocks, currents of all kinds, clouds, winds, and other atmospheric forces. Also bacteria. Especially bacteria.
Disaggregate the human. Who drives the carbon economy? Who profits? Who suffers?
Don’t worry about working up empathy. Sympathy’s all you need. Feeling for others is just as powerful—and less anthropocentric?—than feeling with others.
De-Sentimentalize “Nature.” Keep the awe, lose the “Awww!!!” Forge new affective pathways to the non-human, beyond sadness, guilt, and fear. Invite in humor, anger, joy, irony, sarcasm . . .
Stand alongside our fellow species like a breathing exercise, to open up space in our cells for epistemologies of the biosphere that our bodies currently don’t hold, or ones we need to re-ignite. Physicalize awe.
Congregate, coalesce, flock, swarm, meet and greet. But also: disperse, disseminate, distribute, scatter and spread.
Biology over psychology, geology over sociology, creaturely life over life style.
Invent plans as well as plots, tell times as well as stories, write worlds as well as plays.
Create theatres of species life; fill the stage with the Earth.
The late Tony Mazzocchi of the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers (now part of the Steelworkers) coined the term: “a just transition” away from fossil fuels wouldn’t pit workers against the planet. Those displaced should be able to count on decent new green jobs and retraining. “There’s a Superfund for dirt,” Mazzocchi used to say. “There ought to be one for workers.”
Just Transition for labor means: not losing money across industries as wide-ranging as health insurance workers to oil field workers, and requires offering new forms of training. It’s balancing the “whats on it for me?” and protecting jobs, with opportunities to provide the greatest good for the greatest # of people, (plants, animals, landscapes and waterways). Mazzochi stated that labor must be compensated for jobs lost for environmental reasons.
The BlueGreen Alliance receives funding from numerous sources, including federal government grants, contributions from environmentalist foundations, and financial support from member labor unions. The organization is led by executive director Kim Glas, a former Democratic Party congressional staffer and official in the Commerce Department during the Obama administration. The executive director of the Sierra Club and the international president of the United Steelworkers serve as co-chairs of the board of directors.