Tuesday, December 01, 2015

'A democratic Anthropocene'

...There’s an ethnography of Alaska’s Athabascan peoples, by Richard Nelson, called Make Prayers to the Raven. Its gist is that these “animist” folks don’t revere an abstract Nature, nor do they see it as just a set of resources and logistical problems. They have relations to it, rather like the relations you might have with your partner’s family, or the neighbors, or your co-workers: a bit opaque, touchy, a mix of affection, obligation, and prudence. And these relations are specific—not with Nature, but with the salmon, or a river, or a tree. They are on many scales, again, much like our relations with individuals, institutions, countries, cultures, in our human-on-human lives. 
We can’t decide to be Athabascan, of course, but this strikes me as a promising direction for a realistic, open-minded ethical practice. It takes very seriously that we live with the rest of the world, and it can be a big pain in the ass, or even hurt or kill us, but it is also the only possible site and source of all the joys we can have... 
...In some respects, Anthropocene thinking is ecological thinking turned up to eleven, with a keen awareness not just of the practical relations among human and natural systems, but also of the values at stake in those. 
What I call a democratic Anthropocene is a way of naming the politics that could possibly be up to this situation. It’s about building movements and institutions that move toward an equal voice in shaping the planet. And it’s about building up the capacity to begin engaging in real collective self-constraint...
Jedidiah Purdy interviewed by Ross Andersen.

This goes a lot further and deeper than my ramble, Growing up in the Anthropocene

No comments: