Temp Expert, Wk 1/2: Readings on the Anthropocene
Biggest take away form the first set of readings was the economic tie-in to progressing with environmental policy changes. What seems to be holding many nations from signing agreements are fears that certain regulations and changes will affect their main industries and ways of generating capital.
One quote that I wrote down: “Where capital goes over the next fifteen-years is going to decide whether we’re actually able to address climate change and what kind of century we’re going to have.”
There’s talk of decoupling the relationship between economic growth and growing emissions, but it made me think of how conversations could be reframed in terms of how we think about capital and necessary capital – and who benefits from that capital. There’s a long history of environmentally unsound projects disproportionately affecting already vulnerable groups – trash incinerators, for example. And even if profits are generated from these ventures, they’re most likely not receiving any of it.
So, it’s interesting (and not so surprising) that Sweden is listed as an example of country that has been able to grow their wealth while cutting down on emissions.
I was also profoundly affected by the “How to Die in the Anthropocene” (NYTimes). This idea that studying philosophy is learning how to die, so how do we learn to die as a civilization? I’m curious about the idea that in accepting death we find a sense of freedom and ease with which to move about the rest of our day/lives. I just imagine that for others, thinking about death even in an intentional way would be anxiety provoking. Or provoke them to quit. What point is there in acknowledging death if it simply results in inaction?
Threw me back to when I first learned about existentialism in high school while reading Camus, The Plague. The idea that even though death was inevitable, it was important to go on about our day and create meaning out of our actions. Is Scranton taking a step further and suggesting that we should not simply just continue living day to day, but actually make some changes to our lives that would impact our environment less? Will accepting our fate make us want to work to improve our planet or will we act greedy and use what resources we have while we are still alive to reap the benefits?