“I don’t get depressed, I get angry,” says Johan Rockström, Breaking Boundaries, Netflix.
Me too, Johan. I am furious.
I am furious because I listened to you in hope, and imagined millions doing the same. Yet your vision of the human global reign continuing, but within your “safe operating space”, is morally defunct.
Why on Earth would I ever say such a thing? You have a vast platform; earned, I am sure of this. Your collaborative work on planetary boundaries and Earth systems is hugely valuable to modern society. But when that very modern society is THE fault-line in Earth’s discordance, you, therefore, can’t fix it. Things have to shift away from the modernism you are protecting. And I am not writing of a return to cave-life ~ but of a return to a wise way of understanding LIFE.
Please don’t use your platform to dismiss ethics as if science is the “torch” to show us the way. Science gives us “light”, but not all light, and how best to live through the light. And to live through the dark. Both ancient indigenous ways of thought and emerging forms of ecologism springing up in fountains all over the world have serious contributions to make. And they may not look and sound like you.
Yours is a job of listening as well as warning.
You dismiss the moral calling; exquisite beauty is irrelevant, you say. But real beauty IS the interconnectedness, the symnexia of LIFE, and that cannot be dismissed. We are, like it or not, moral beings – the calling goes deep into our symbiotic existence, within and without; even our neural pathways, like flowers and roots in symbiosis with bacteria and viruses, are shaped in that very same pattern.
We save nature not to save us, but because it is us.
Now may be the time for some unlearning. No symling may be left behind in sacrifice for saving the human race. No symling should be enslaved “in service” or servitude to humans, but instead in Fluministic devotion to the communal cause as they were born or divided to do.
As should we all.
Please stop dismissing the moral cause, when you continually use it yourself under the guise of “science” – morality shapes even the work you do. Ask yourself again why you do what you do. What emotivates you? What ethic do you abide by? An ethic is the enactment of your own moral code.
That the biosphere should exist, therefore, evolve to prop up human civilisation is the ultimate foolishness of our young immature experiment of a species. We cannot and should not pursue this ethic of enslavement and frustropian servitude of all life to one cause.
Trees planted? Trees are perfectly evolved to grow themselves, given place. But remember they are community species, only part of something much bigger and older than themselves, an order of magnitude older, higher, broader, deeper than humans – a symbioethic. Our planting is ancillary, the gardening at the edges. LIFE is full-on love for evolutionary processes, much of which we cannot participate as ecological consumers. We must be patient. Let the trillions of symlings be Fluminists, so that we too can be Fluminists.
Food? Yes, we know what we parasitise and consume is a huge driver of ecological distress rooted in all those inter-flowing planetary systems you so rightly highlight – we are nature, so the responsibility is ours to generate LIFE in the process of its becoming, not destroy life. Shelter, clothes, waste (do we and our waste become ecological food once more), travel, we have become a “boundary” to all life – you missed humans out in your nine systems taxa – the Anthropocene puts us right in there NUMBER TEN (and equity between humans does fucking matter – you should know that better than anyone. Inequity drives the desire for more exploitation).
Back to language.
“Safe operating space” is a Westernised expression of THE language deficit ongoing right now, a continuation of the moral deflection from union with all living beings. WE ARE NOT STANDING ON A FACTORY LINE.
Instead, please use your platform to thread the nature of nature through each and every one of us, and through the symbiotic species that power this fragile, beautiful, unique biosphere – LIFE, a metabolising global kindship of community. LIFE is CLIMATE (Margulis/Lovelock/many more, including me).
That’s where “security” for ALL species lays. In them we trust.
LOVE IS FOR ALL processes that sustain life, including symbiosis. The mystery is ever-present in that love – a deep faith in processes, known and unknown. I call it Fluminism.
Dear Professor, there is not AND NEVER WILL BE a good Anthropocene. There is a falsity, an arrogance of “universal knowledge” peppered into the flesh of everything as if scientists are the masters of their aim. For all your valuable insights, what remains essential, Johan, is the recognition that our species may stand in humble rank, and that we shall not (and should not) ever fully “know.” Then, and only then, may we have a chance at aiding LIFE into very uncertain futures caused by vast human iniquity. And then… to un-belong as NUMBER TEN planetary “boundary”.
This week, pre-IPCC policing of critical thought on Twitter has reached an outrageous level. I’m out, for now.
We know the failings of Twitter, the personal snipes, the fakery and the pack-hunting trolls. And we keep trying anyway. What started out as a Silicon Valley version of “equal “voice has ended in a scrap and a place of verbal oppression.
Now “Jack” the billionaire is backing cryptocurrency, and thinks this will unite “the world”. What non-sense. His culture is the very thing that is destroying “the world.”
Twitter, propped up by capitalist advertising, was never going to be for “everyone”, only for those with access and the luxury of the time to commit. Just like bitcoin. * Money attracts money in the Capitalist system. You need property and cash to buy more property and cash.
Try as you might to gaslight that we all have agency, Jack, capital is power in modern linear ways of thinking. And no, it isn’t “natural”. It doesn’t fit the natural pattern. It’s nurtured by this mendacious, cultural blat – individualistic, traumatising capitalism.
Anthropocentrism, WhiteManthropocentrism in reaction to extreme weather events in the global north, is, once again, spinning out of control. So few bothered to listen to the voices from the global south for decades.
For my Non-WhiteManthropocentric Ethics blogs to reach others, it often takes a white man to RT before anyone will read it. And that’s if I am *lucky*. Black people know, and Trans people, and Disabled people, if I didn’t have the “privilege” of white skin on top, would I even get a look-in. Who truly speaks for teresapien lives without a direct conflict of interest? The Anthropocentric Right and personal desire of “use” is pervasive. Twitter’s “Environmentalism” category barely touches on the intrinsic worth of Earth’s myriad species. It’s all about one species. Wildfires, floods, droughts miraculously don’t appear to impact any other species. More categories (my god, what tosh – everything is connected), and it’s mostly about the wealthy sector of that one species. It’s about the eurocentricity of the Whiteness. It’s the stubborn refusal by the influential to accept any criticism.
It’s ABSOLUTELY necessary to have rules, to tell truths, to refrain from harm, to end racism, bullying, and any other kind of injurious “othering”. To point these out is VITAL. Society should be grateful for those who step up, especially those already suffering! My point is not about these basic, decent, fundamental responsibilities.
As Earth Crisis worsens more widely (where has that moral imagination for those already suffering for decades been hiding), what we are now seeing on Twitter, at least, is a shutdown of reasonable ethical debate, particularly WITHIN movements for progressive change, as the so-called environmental movement. Step out of line, and you can’t be “with us” – a Bush-Cheney-ism. Suggest anthropocentrism will fail, and you are labelled naive. Suggest causality is not a linear top-down force, and Michael Mann will block you. Suggest the ethics of early data release is warranted given the emergency and you are told you are “not a dedicated scientist” (rolling eyes emojis by North American sci-comm groupies), worse you are supporting denialists. Criticise this grotesque UK Government for their hypocritical hosting of COP26 and you are persona non grata. Suggest low traffic neighbourhoods have been rolled out without consulting those social groups already suffering, and you are told their pain is worth it and you are against climate change action. The list goes on.
There is no progress without critical thought. No good at all. Look closely at who is doing this policing, the politics of the shut down. It matters.
It’s happened before ( to me personally, and others) over the Save our Woods and Natural Capitalism campaigns. And one or two of the very same influencers behind the attempts to shut down criticism now. Sorry, no matter how hard you wish to cling to norms, nothing short of radical will do. And radical love is – by its very nature – not harmful like, say, Capitalism and “biodiversity offsetting,” Mr “Nature in service to humans “Natural England.
Twitter Blue tick outbreaks absolutely make it a tiered system. Algorithms mean most of the words I contend are needed, radical ideas of community and interconnectedness, and indeed wish to see people reading, are split away from my timeline. I have to dig for them, like bitcoin! And my own tweets seem lost in a sea of rationalist economics and science as the only (Twitter-worthy, at least) instruments of change. I don’t know whether it’s my ADHD talking, but the noise of it all is now unbearable.
We know full well via the Kate Clanchy debacle that editors and media gatekeepers are also imperfect and can proliferate harm but I do remain hopeful that Twitter may also facilitate an apology to the right people. Mass media trumps books, books trump essays, essays trump voices. Twitter tramples the fragile nuances of relationships. You can’t get a book out without a Twitter following, you can’t get a Twitter following without publishing. Pretty pictures won’t do it (actual or verbal – guilty as charged). But Middle-of-the-Road is reigning, policing, sniping. Human exclusivity and Western notions of individual Rights and desire are first and foremost in most campaigns. I’m muting and muting, and that’s not why I joined.
Twitter is too fast, too reactive. Busting chains of healing happen at the drop of an incendiary or thoughtless Tweet. I am not stupid, and I know that over 12 years I have allowed myself to be pulled into the mire (impulsivity is another sign of ADHD). The more I follow, the more trouble lays waiting. I want to slow things down, think more about my responses.
Twitter has been an important part of my personal stake in ecophilosophy. It has brought me connectedness and friendship (though absolutely no monetary gain) and I hope I’ve given as much back. But so pivotal are our times, that equal voice is paramount. Criticise me, yes, for stepping away from even trying. But these recent events have helped me conclude that Twitter is not that platform. Discussions in “environmentalism” and “conservation” are northern Europe-America-centric enough – Science, Tech, Economics and Rights and Land Title dominate the political realm. Values, relationships, rational discussion about the power of emotions? Little to nil. Even Education – the real root and possibility of inclusive change – falls down the gaps. If you can’t sell a pedagogy, who cares?
Algorithms, and more, are closing down the voices of the majority of the human species. Like bitcoin, you need tech to get more tech, influence to gain influence. And with Earth Crisis intensifying comes an intensifying of policing, especially by White men or media owned by white men. Blundering, opaque verbal-age on Language, Morality and Ethics happens at the same time, despite the ignorant rejection of Language, Morality and Ethics being relevant at all. Snarky comments are fairly common towards anyone who is scholarly in that area.
For whatever reason (it’s complex) Twitter is dominated by the nexus of domination, blue ticks (I know, some are only just defending their identity), conformity, and Whiteness. Aside from the insidiousness of bots and the anonymous death threats, it’s not the filth and lies that are necessarily the continuous surprise on Twitter – people can be pretty awful in the flesh. But it is the streams of influence, the followed and the following, the PIED PIPERS of business-as-usual in the face of nothing-is-usual that freak me out. And they are doing it IN PLAIN SIGHT. Such popularists are not given to working, in my experience, for the vulnerable and the voiceless, and that includes teresapien lives. Whatever they may “say.”
WhiteMAnthropocentrism is intensifying in synchronicity with climate volatility and ecological stripping – the atmospheric energy transference loaded into apathy and neglect for LIFE in our one shared biosphere like a gun going off. And it is a Westernish human trait right now, the legacy of gargantuan theft and slavery, now neo-colonial, globalised through international institutions.
Good voices do float, sometimes. Good voices also drown. There’s too much “broadcast” and not enough “receive”. Bigfooting is widespread, as is idea theft. I’m fed up with raising specific ethical and scientific points, cited or linked to evidence or articles, only to be ignored, sometimes with zero feedback, whilst blue tick White men or TED talkers raise them lazily and get thousands of RTs (a recent example, sea-bed mining for EV minerals). It’s fucking exhausting. I’ll be honest, I don’t believe I have the media savvy to get my message of Fluminism, Symbioethics, and Ethics of Care through on Twitter, and I’m not thinking that a discussion about love and ethics will be particularly missed. New literature genres? Experimental writing? Hits to my blogs referred from Twitter have plummeted. Who gives a shit about these things anymore when there’s so much panic and authoritarian policing of the Earth Crisis movement to be done, IPCC reports or not. I’ll carry on resisting capital, commodification and the patriarchy through the written word, just not on Twitter. At least, for now. Call it a semi-retirement.
My sincere gratitude to Twitter friends – for all you have brought. Please, if it’s possible, do stay in touch. I am here, and I am on Instagram (@seasonalight – just a photo diary at this point).
Twitter users 206 million. Global population 7.8 billion (Gov.uk)
Twitter population by Nations: Top 20 Nations only 1 African Nation (Egypt), despite the African Continent being one of the worst-hit by the climate bomb, ecological depauperation and global inequity. America and Japan dominate usership. (Statista)
The majority of the top-followed 50 are American entertainers. (Brandwatch)
38.5 % of users are aged between 25 and 34 years old. (Statista)
63.7% of Twitter users are male, while only 36.3% are female (Omnicore)
77% of Americans who earn $75,000 or more use Twitter. The pattern is more or less global. (Omnicore)
Twitter Revenue (adverts, majority by global corporations) 2020 – $3.72 billion. (Statista)