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The death march into crisis

This is a typically astute piece from Richard Seymour on the intersection between social failure and environmental change generating the current crisis in Texas. He offers a disturbing analysis of the (attempted) creation of “mobilised political constituency that is ready, even morally energised, for quite a lot of death”

The liquid powering liquid modernity

From John Urry’s Societies beyond Oil pg 9: Leading social analyst Zygmunt Bauman famously described the twentieth-century development of all this movement as a ‘liquid modernity’. But what he did not examine was how there was in fact a literal liquid –oil –that made this modernity, oiling the wheels of […]

Professionalisation as capture 

From Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything pg 203: These are the tough tools with which the environmental movement won its greatest string of victories. But with that success came some rather significant changes. For a great many groups, the work of environmentalism stopped being about organizing protests and teach-ins and […]

Can capitalism survive climate change?

From The Uninhabitable Earth pg 162-163: The question is a prism, spitting out different answers to different ranges of the political spectrum, and where you fall on that range probably reflects what you mean by “capitalism.” Global warming could cultivate emergent forms of eco-socialism on one end of the spectrum, […]

The epistemology of apocalypse 

From Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything pg 105: The word “apocalypse” derives from the Greek apokalypsis, which means “something uncovered” or revealed. Besides the need for a dramatically better health care system, there was much else uncovered and revealed when the floodwaters retreated in New York that October. The disaster […]

Climate change as doorstep politics

A few months ago James Meadway, advisor to John McDonnell, predicted on Novara media that climate change would soon become a doorstep issue in the UK. If unpredictable weather events become a regular part of life for people, the recognition of their underlying cause is immensely significant. However this passage […]

Climate change and digitalisation

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last couple of weeks about climate change and digitalisation. For instance the climatic significance of digital technology is increasingly recognised, as well as the resource constraints this implies for some of the wilder claims made about the coming frontiers of digitalisation. This also represents an ideological […]

Should climate change be a master narrative?

Should climate change be a master narrative? It certainly has competition from neo-conservative narratives of the Chinese century, techno-dystopian narratives of the ‘rise of the robots’ or populist narratives of the great revival. But I find David Wallace-Wells very plausible here in The Unhabitable Earth on pg 53: In this […]

Why doesn’t technocrat have an antonym?

My notes on Hudson, M. (2018). Ending technocracy with a neologism? Avivocracy as a conceptual tool. Technology in Society, 55, 136-139. What does it mean to call someone technocratic? In this intriguing paper, Marc Hudson observes that the term is “thrown about as a term of abuse, but without a clear […]

Politico-environmental crisis

In Naomi Klein’s new book No Is Not Enough, there’s a lucid overview of the intersection between political and environmental crisis. The role of drought in fermenting the conditions for the Syrian civil war was something which Marc Hudson first explained to me last year. From pg 182-183: The irony is particularly […]

The Climate Agenda of Elites

From Four Futures: Life After Capitalism, loc 234-246: the key question surrounding climate change is not whether climate change is occurring, but rather who will survive the change. Even in the worst-case scenarios, scientists are not arguing that the Earth will become totally uninhabitable. What will happen—and is happening—is that […]

over-reach by unelected technocrats

This is the debate which the Financial Times says has been prompted by Mark Carney’s intervention on climate change earlier in the week. His point seemed rather incisive to me, observing that “Since the 1980s the number of registered weather-related loss events has tripled” and that furthermore “Inflation-adjusted insurance losses from these […]