Pied Pipers.

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)
  • English is the dominant language – 34% (Statista)
  • We get the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

The Turn Against “The Great Turning.”

The Severn Bridge, over 50 years old. A monument to Capitalism, where no living being other than a few powerful humans consented to its existence. Photo by me.

 

Via @KevinClimate Simon Sharpe – Deciding how to decide: potential for change in policy ap… https://t.co/TwHm8GwYXS

If you can stomach it.

— Ginny, Awildian (@seasonalight) May 27, 2021

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I am grateful to Kevin Anderson for posting this online talk by Simon Sharpe, and unsurprised the organisers and participants wanted to extend viewings beyond Exeter University (cyber) walls. This is how these ideas are “sold” ~ there’s a structure to the method ~ and I’m afraid we are being sold a terrible injustice.

Here is Simon Sharpe’s UCL credentials. It’s perfectly obvious just how influential he is upon the Conservative Government as hosts of COP26, and in academic and international circles. He even tells us directly of his influence in China and India, places of fast-growing economies where decisions made now are massively important to planetary outcomes. This is a man with, no doubt, a successful background in physics and finance, and a perfect mindset to illustrate just how tragic this type of narrow expertise can be at high levels of influence across the globe. He may not even realise it, but he’s NOT an ecological thinker and he’s NOT an Earth systems thinker. Politically, his ideas are fuel for the excessive greed that is neoliberal capitalism, even in a “zero-emissions” world.

Without ecological and Earth systems thought, despite however many times there is mention of anthropogenic  “ecosystems”*,  normative ethical actions stemming from such ideas and language will always come to fail the biosphere (Homo sapiens and teresapiens), and do little, if anything, to end THE SIXTH EXTINCTION EVENT. **

Bring yourself to listen to what Sharpe is saying. This is the heart of the next phase of neoliberal economics, on “Clean Growth” (an oxymoron), and it is utterly taken for granted. No alternatives are discussed nor proposed. And yet there are alternatives (Daly, Bookchin, DeMartino, Raworth, even my own Cherishism resists by applying the gift economy and locaceding land back to ecological community).

Sharpe represents, I’m afraid, a critical and growing turn against what Joanna Macy called so hopefully the “Great Turning”, and I reference her again below.

As far as consumers are concerned, expect a hacking into the worth of every one of us as fairly mindless units of consumption. In fairness, this is what “economists” often do. We are each granted a simple binary role in a bigger machine ~ a yay or nay agency, to buy or not to buy ~ and we are labelled “decision-makers.” As such, we are not vessels of worth outside of economies, harbourers of multiple values, including acting on inherent or intrinsic worth. Instead, we are simply cogs in a machine set up by a political and legislative framework that offers NO CHOICE but international competition, growth, & wealth accumulation (for the few), and within the frames of climate rationalism and neoliberal capitalist economies only. This itself is a form of control, a manipulation.

NO reference is made to equity nor ecology, nor invaluable and hard-earned ancient ways of knowing, valuing or doing. De-growth is termed “disequilibrium,” just to shake us all up (we all are led to believe that a harmonious life is all about equilibrium, are we not?).  “Cost” analysis is the focus, not “profit” analysis because it is absolutely taken for granted in this economic system: that “profits” will attract new Green business to the so-called “clean energy” revolution in products offered for sale in expanding markets. Lucrative profit, and the unfair distribution of it, is far from what we know to be truly progressive, however; the cruelties of inequity and injustice, and the suffering these bring, far distanced from the conversation, as well as unchecked ecological and social resource exploitation, and wastes integral to capitalism (even with legislative caps).

I hear the word “systems analysis” over and over again as if it were a panacea for all problems to be solved, but absent from the whole equation is the fullest set of subsystems that constitutes Earth system, and it is this that sustains life. Capitalist economic systems are hugely bifurcating and injurious things, with a competitive ethic that is exclusive and where “value” is limited to money only (a fairly common yet totally unhinged mentality).

On the whole, “The Economy” is referenced as if it is God. We are given no further descriptive elements as to what kind of economy that could be, which values and structures such an economy can nurture, nor the character or organisation of the people that control it. It is taken for granted we are talking about the Capitalist economy, but we know the corporations and billionaires are up to their necks in it all, and this is just what is deemed legal. All crunch points are supported by eloquent quotations, of course, which helps as a communication accelerator by leaving the impression that we are in the company of great understanding. It’s just a pity the whole ethic communicated is so ecologically flawed, and quite frankly, bankrupt in the most basic of Earthly ways.

For this ethic to proliferate, Sharpe views investment in technology as the answer to adaptation and mitigation, not life-value change. Of course, he does! Capital markets rely on such products. Universities, skewed towards science and engineering, are now largely funded by big corporate and government R&D partnerships, with agreements to claw back via the cornering of markets. “Of course, Britain wants a piece of that [EV] action!” Do we? There’s no full ecological and social critique offered, no pros and cons aired. How many more roads and bridges need to be built to accommodate them, with ecologies fragmented and lost?

There’s a scattering of consequentialist ideas, sure, “prosperity” in a zero-emissions world, but still entirely detached from ecology and equity. These are very powerful intellectual manoeuvres founded on a  myth! If we do not nurture ecological biodiversity and abundance and face the conflict, trauma and suffering caused by human inequity, this most abnormal normative ethic will take us straight to hell, and we’ll continue to bring all kinds of living beings down too.

The debate on whether “environmentalism” should hone in on economic price or profit misses an enormous point. The object of sale in the market or markets, even if it is a service (see Daly on the myths of decoupling), from conception through time and space, is simply a conversion of nature into a product. This ignores all relationships and impacts with Earth systems until it is, in theory, no longer an object. Sharpe, in rationalising cost/benefits and risk, can’t relate to the full deficit (social and ecological injury), because I genuinely believe he doesn’t understand it.

Instead, the emphasis is on RISK as some vague “business lens” to quantify what I try to describe more inclusively as closing the Transilience Gap. The gap, to him, is simply fewer emissions. How misguided could a person be? He mentions nothing ~ NOTHING ~ on global or local Contraction and Convergence theory (Meyer), because it does not suit the vested interests of Post-Colonial Western powers. And, as ever with these kinds of conversations, there is NO mention of the deep shifts in values and ethics necessary to live within the bounds of natural flows. We must resist this extreme eco-capitalism or “eco-modernism” now, “modern” rooted firmly in the “invisible hands” of the 18th Century!

Neoliberal economists, I’m sorry to say, don’t expect we cogs to think. Thinking is a radical act. As a symbioethicist, LIFE’s symbiotic mutualities, processes, relatedness, interconnectedness and relationships are the wellspring of wellbeing and can only exist by welldoing. Fluminism, I contend, is a resistance to these norms that threaten to continue to destroy LIFE as we know it. An important part of that Fluministic life is an egalitarian ecoliteracy education. If only these “influencers” would surrender their power and influence to the loving and Earth-saving act of the pedagogy, and more, the cultural agency of change, instilling values that Macy and her peers called The Great Turning (see her concisely edited lecture below).

We must all be able to choose our own stories, and not be manipulated by the stories of powerful people and their allies who simply regard us as cogs, pushing products and profitable markets as panaceas. This is a steal, and it’s going on right in front of our eyes. Neither do we need to accept influence from those who neither grasp the elegance and complexity of Earth systems nor wish to deviate from selfish Capitalist norms. See what might flourish from the alternatives instead. They could just lead to the most exciting, natural, and fair transitions imaginable.

~~~

* I just want to remind you that neither bringing teresapien living beings into the capitalist economy under the heading Natural Capitalism will do anything but create further harm.

** Human ecology CAN NEVER BE SEPARATED FROM ALL LIFE.

 

~~~

Audio: