Capitalism is killing the world’s wildlife populations, not ‘humanity’

Anna Pigott, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Environmental Humanities, Swansea University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Source: Simon Eeman / shutterstock

The latest Living Planet report from the WWF makes for grim reading: a 60% decline in wild animal populations since 1970, collapsing ecosystems, and a distinct possibility that the human species will not be far behind. The report repeatedly stresses that humanity’s consumption is to blame for this mass extinction, and journalists have been quick to amplify the message. The Guardian headline reads “Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations”, while the BBC runs with “Mass wildlife loss caused by human consumption”. No wonder: in the 148-page report, the word “humanity” appears 14 times, and “consumption” an impressive 54 times.

There is one word, however, that fails to make a single appearance: capitalism. It might seem, when 83% of the world’s freshwater ecosystems are collapsing (another horrifying statistic from the report), that this is no time to quibble over semantics. And yet, as the ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer has written, “finding the words is another step in learning to see”.

Continue reading Capitalism is killing the world’s wildlife populations, not ‘humanity’

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1st CFP: Considering art and creativity in an era of ecocide; Nordic Geographers Meeting 2019 (Trondheim, Norway, June 16-19, 2019)

BSU#EH

Nordic Geographers Meeting 2019 (Trondheim, Norway, June 16-19, 2019)

https://www.ntnu.edu/geography/ngm-2019

CFPs: Considering art and creativity in an era of ecocide

Conveners

Dr Anna Pigott; ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow; Department of Geography, Swansea University

Professor Owain Jones; Environmental Humanities Research Centre, Bath Spa University

In their radical assessments of art and creativity in the 20th Century, the artists/critics Joseph Beuys and Suzi Gablik argued that “everybody is an artist” and that creativity is not the preserve of lone geniuses, inventors, designers and the like, but rather is something that should be considered integral to everyday life (e.g. Gablik 1991). In this session we ask, is this sentiment outdated? Or is it an even more urgent imperative in this era of ecocide (Pindar and Sutton  2000)? It seems likely that art and creativity offer ways of potentially attuning to the kinds of “new realities” that are upon us (Davis & Turpin 2015, Hawkins…

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Out of the wreckage: George Monbiot tells a story to believe in

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George Monbiot discussed ideas from his book ‘Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis’ Source: https://www.versobooks.com/

Once upon a time, planet Earth’s inhabitants faced a multi-pronged crisis, so frightening and sad that many people could scarcely bring themselves to think about it, let alone act: climate breakdown was underway, and land use and agricultural systems had driven biodiversity to collapse. Inequality was soaring, and this gap between rich and poor both exacerbated the causes of environmental destruction, and hampered people’s ability to respond. Meanwhile, a strange and wicked beast called ‘neoliberalism’ sprinkled its toxic ideas over the land like an invisible dust, hypnotising an already down-trodden people into a belief that politics was pointless, and that society could only change through the economics of ‘the market’. Earth’s inhabitants were indeed in a tight spot (some tighter than others), and catastrophe loomed. Despair was rife; some had already given up. But then, in the final hour, something amazing happened…..

Continue reading Out of the wreckage: George Monbiot tells a story to believe in

Decolonising Environmentalism: two big words and a whole lot of love

As I sit down to write this, it has started to rain in Swansea after two weeks or more of unusually hot and dry weather. My neighbourhood adopts a different character; smells and sounds that have not been experienced for days. It is as though a pause button has been pressed, while the sky replenishes life: hydrologically, physically, emotionally. Even our cat comes in for a cuddle. I recall a line from Thank You For The Rain, a documentary film by Kisilu Musya and Julia Dahr, screened at Gentle/Radical’s Decolonising Environmentalism event on Saturday: “the sky is mother of all life”, observed Christina, a Kenyan farmer struggling to survive with her husband and children in an increasingly arid land.

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Christina and Kisilu with two of their children. Watch the official film trailer here. Photo courtesy of Thank You For The Rain.

Continue reading Decolonising Environmentalism: two big words and a whole lot of love

Women Dancing 2017

This was post was originally published in March 2017 by the (now unfortunately ceased) Swansea News Network.

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To the walker on the beach, who frowned in bewilderment as you navigated your way through an incoming tide of women dancing on Caswell beach at 6.30am last Sunday morning: our apologies, I know it was quite a sight, and you probably hadn’t had a cup of tea yet. I hadn’t either.

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(Not) thinking about climate change futures

This was originally posted on Imaginary Papers – a blog by the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University 

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So far today my mind has been: worrying about how I’m ever going to finish my Ph.D.; contemplating what I will cook for dinner tonight; planning for a presentation tomorrow; and occasionally dreaming (read: procrastinating) about building my own little house one day. The only time that my mind has been fully focused on the present moment was when my colleague offered me a chocolate brownie (and I ate it), and another moment when a poor bird flew into the glass window close to where I was sitting and dropped, twitching, to the ground. These brief interludes, one happy and one sad, distracted my mind’s temporal wanderings for a total of about 90 seconds out of the eight hours I have so far been awake today. Continue reading (Not) thinking about climate change futures