John BarryQueen‟s University Belfast       j.barry@qub.ac.uk
“This is the logic of free-marketcapitalism: the economy must        New Scientist, 16 October 2008grow continuously or fa...
Jerome K. Jerome, “It is always the best policy to tell thetruth.....unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.”
Grassroots/ Local responses to peak oil and climate changePositive, creative, „apolitical‟, practicalInspiring and hopeful
We‟ll be transitioning to a lower energy future whether we want to or not. Far better to ride that wave rather than gettin...
What would a post carbon world look  like?Back to the future? ….
Resilience – normatively neutral concept simply denoting the  capacity to respond to, anticipate perhaps, a shock (externa...
Seems less „un-defined‟ than sustainability – more robust, measureable and operationalisable?Offers alternative principles...
Evolution of green  critiques from 1970s  „Limits to Growth‟1. Ecological limits2. Well-being limits3. Equity /social just...
Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain ProjectCollapsonomicsIndividuals/thinkers/writersJames Howard Kunstler, Derrick Jensen, ...
1.We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us    are signs that our whole way of livin...
Is it brave, realistic and/ or defeatist and anti-human to contemplate and    prepare for civilisation collapse?Unreasoned...
“Few of us are eager to contemplate, let alone truly face, these looming   changes. Just the threat of losing chunks of th...
“We are clearly now, living in a time of transition.  Our stories are crumbling before our eyes., but we  don‟t have new o...
“the inability to conceive of its own devastation is the blind   spot of any culture. By and large a culture will not teac...
“Empires and eras end. Ways of life end. But people mostly go on.  And much of what is required to keep going on, to preve...
Living and thinking with the possibility of  collapseThe rise /re-emergence of „hard green‟ thinking and „concrete utopian...
1.    Don‟t read beauty magazines. They‟ll only make you feel ugly.2.    One of the most radical political acts you can do...
“Villages are the basic government and economic unit of human society...Villages are the minimal level of complexity requi...
The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains  to Transiti...
The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains  to Transiti...
The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains  to Transiti...
The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains  to Transiti...
The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains  to Transiti...
The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains  to Transiti...
The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains  to Transiti...
The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains  to Transiti...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains to Transition Towns'

742 views
680 views

Published on

The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains to Transition Towns', presented at the Ralahine 2012 Utopianism conference, May 2012, University of Limerick

Published in: Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
742
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
6
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The topography of green thinking and practice in relation to climate change and peak oil: from Dark Mountains to Transition Towns'

  1. 1. John BarryQueen‟s University Belfast j.barry@qub.ac.uk
  2. 2. “This is the logic of free-marketcapitalism: the economy must New Scientist, 16 October 2008grow continuously or face anunpalatable collapse. With theenvironmental situationreaching crisis point, however,it is time to stop pretendingthat mindlessly chasingeconomic growth is compatiblewith sustainability. Figuringout an alternative to thisdoomed model is now apriority.” „Why politicians dare not limiteconomic growth’ TimJackson, pp. 42-3.
  3. 3. Jerome K. Jerome, “It is always the best policy to tell thetruth.....unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.”
  4. 4. Grassroots/ Local responses to peak oil and climate changePositive, creative, „apolitical‟, practicalInspiring and hopeful
  5. 5. We‟ll be transitioning to a lower energy future whether we want to or not. Far better to ride that wave rather than getting engulfed by it.
  6. 6. What would a post carbon world look like?Back to the future? ….
  7. 7. Resilience – normatively neutral concept simply denoting the capacity to respond to, anticipate perhaps, a shock (external or internal) and recover, cope with and „bounce back‟Capitalism is/has been (will continue to be?) resilientA system can be resilient but not sustainable (in the sense indicted earlier)Need to link resilience to sustainability‟s normative ends?Resilience as a means (a „design principle‟ in Permaculture terms) to sustainability ends?
  8. 8. Seems less „un-defined‟ than sustainability – more robust, measureable and operationalisable?Offers alternative principles to „maximisation‟ and simple „efficiency‟ – „in built redundancy‟ , „head room‟, „slack‟ , „useful unemployment‟Corresponds/underpins/links to socio-economic principles of „sufficiency‟ and „enough‟ .Distinguishes „employment‟ and the formal/GDP economy from „work‟ and a wider conception of the economy, including the social/informal economy.
  9. 9. Evolution of green critiques from 1970s „Limits to Growth‟1. Ecological limits2. Well-being limits3. Equity /social justice4. Economic growth as an ideology
  10. 10. Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain ProjectCollapsonomicsIndividuals/thinkers/writersJames Howard Kunstler, Derrick Jensen, Richard Heinberg, DavidKorowicz,Older „eco-authoritarians‟ : William Ophuls, Robert Heilbroner, Garrett HardinFilms, litertature and documentariesCormac McCarthy‟s The RoadLife after People (documentary)Collapse (documentary)What a way to go: life at the end of empireThe End of Suburbia and Escape from SuburbiaOur dominant carbon-based, climate changing economic systemIs heading for inevitable collapse – it is a matter of whenand how not if.
  11. 11. 1.We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history.2. We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times canbe reduced to a set of „problems‟ in need of technological or political „solutions‟.3.We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have beentelling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin ourcivilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the mythof our separation from „nature‟. These myths are more dangerous for the factthatwe have forgotten they are myths.4.We will reassert the role of story-telling as more than mere entertainment.It is through stories that we weave reality.5.Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet.6.We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time.7.We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Ourwords will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.8.The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop.Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to theunknown world ahead of us.
  12. 12. Is it brave, realistic and/ or defeatist and anti-human to contemplate and prepare for civilisation collapse?Unreasoned (and ideologically or otherwise motivated) scaremongering ?Contemplating the fragility of civilisation and our current ways of lifeA post-human vision – to be welcomed to challenge the „arrogance of humanism‟ and (potentially) „re-enchant our disenchanted world‟ or at least recover its intrinsic and not just instrumental value?Post-collapse thinking – what forms of knowledge, tools, concepts, ways of working do we need?Thinking in a time of triage and turbulence: can democracy, justice, equality survive a collapse?Revisiting and learning from history: what lessons and „coping mechanisms‟ can we learn from studying the collapse of previous societies, cultures and civilisations ?
  13. 13. “Few of us are eager to contemplate, let alone truly face, these looming changes. Just the threat of losing chunks of the comfortable way of life we‟re accustomed to (or aspiring to) is a frightening-enough prospect. But there‟s no avoiding the current facts and trends of the human and planetary situation. And as the edges of our familiar reality begin to ravel, more and more people are reacting psychologically” (Edwards and Buzzell, 2008).“the journey towards sustainable living [is] a therapeutic journey” (Rust, 2008: 19).Both positive (Transition) and realistic/negative (Dark Mountain) forms of green thinking and practice share this attention to psychological (and cultural) dimensions of the „great transition‟Also strong conceptual links to resilience thinkingFrom „breakdown‟ can come „breakthrough‟??
  14. 14. “We are clearly now, living in a time of transition. Our stories are crumbling before our eyes., but we don‟t have new ones which we are yet prepared to believe in....We can see humanity‟s utter degradation of the rest of nature, but we don‟t know how to stop doing it – or rather, we know exactly how to stop doing it but we are not prepared to even contemplate making the changes necessary, because they would break our stories open and leave them exposed to the wind” (Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth, 2011, „Control and other illusions‟, Dark Mountain, Issue 2, p. 2)
  15. 15. “the inability to conceive of its own devastation is the blind spot of any culture. By and large a culture will not teach its young: “These are the ways in which you can succeed, and these are the ways in which you will fail; these are the dangers you might face, and here are opportunities; these acts are shameful, and these are worthy of honour – and, oh yes, one more thing, this entire structure of evaluating the world might cease to make sense”. (Jonathan Lear, 2006, Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation , p. 83; emphasis added)“Radical hope anticipates a good for which those who have the hope as yet lack the appropriate concepts with which to understand it” (Lear, 2006: 103).
  16. 16. “Empires and eras end. Ways of life end. But people mostly go on. And much of what is required to keep going on, to prevent the worse outcomes is simply to come to terms with the notion that a radical change in your way of life is not the same thing as the end of the world. We have always been wealthy and comfortable and lucky here in the west and the loss of some or all of those things seems like a disaster of unimaginable proportions. But it doesn’t have to be – that’s a way of thinking we can choose to discard, recognizing that those who live less comfortable lives often value them equally. The truth is that we need to find a way to find pleasure and hope and joy in a much simpler, less consumptive lifestyle. That means sacrificing some things we care about. It also means getting back some things that truly matter”. (Sharon Astyk, 2008, Depletion & Abundance: Life on the New Home Front, p.49; emphasis added).The end of the world as we know it, is not the end of the world....
  17. 17. Living and thinking with the possibility of collapseThe rise /re-emergence of „hard green‟ thinking and „concrete utopianism‟„Radical Hope‟, uncertainty and improvisationDissident thinking and the enduring necessity of utopianism
  18. 18. 1. Don‟t read beauty magazines. They‟ll only make you feel ugly.2. One of the most radical political acts you can do in today‟s consumer society is to refuse to consume.3. You are more powerful than they can possibly imagine4. Slow, down, relax – there is wisdom in Winnie the Pooh‟s words, “Sometimes I sits and thinks. And sometimes I just sits.”5. Commit serial acts of senseless beauty as often as you can.6. Don‟t wait for permission. Do it and if needs be apologise afterwards, but don‟t wait on permission.7. Remember, „hypocrisy is the tribute the vice pays to virtue‟.8. Political activism is the rent you pay for living on the planet.9. Be honest. Unlike dishonesty it means you have less to remember.10. Experts and expertise, no matter how well-meaning, should be „on tap, not on top‟.11. Something should be desired because it is good, not good merely because it is desired.12. When you point your finger at someone else, there are three more pointing back at you.13. The map is not the territory.14. Don‟t sit on the fence, you‟ll only get splinters on your arse.15. When running for elected office, dress to the right…and vote to the left.16. We know we‟re making progress towards sustainability when our schools and hospitals are well-resourced and it is the Army that needs bake-sales to raise money for weapons17. Never trust politicians…especially Irish ones!
  19. 19. “Villages are the basic government and economic unit of human society...Villages are the minimal level of complexity required for an enduring culture and all the diverse political complexities of human society arose from villages. When we fall, we fall into villages, and when we rise, we rise from villages. But successful village life places powerful behavioral demands on people and visits harsh punishments on transgressors” (Somma, 2009: 33; emphasis added)Brute survival versus democracy, justice, gender equality etc."The cry for bread will always be uttered with one voice. In so far as we all need bread, we are indeed all the same, and may as well unite into one body. .. The political trouble which misery holds in store is that manyness can in fact assume the guise of oneness“, Hannah Arendt (1963), On Revolution, (Penguin), p.94.In the struggle for survival „our daily bread‟, pluralism, the precondition for democracy, is impossible, so non-democratic and often violent, coercive means are used

×