They’re gone. There are no more of those rodents known as Bramble Cay melomys (or alternatively as mosaic-tailed rats). They are extinct. The Guardian notes that this event is “the first recorded extinction of a mammal anywhere in the world thought to be primarily due to human-caused climate change.” Last seen in 2009, and after extensive searches, these Bramble Cay melomys have been judged gone, once and forever. A moment to remember that to still talk of the “environment” is to perpetuate the problem, as Michel Serres argued long ago, for the word “assumes that we humans are at the center of a system of nature” and thus that we look out and see “the” environment suffering. Ecology, Ecology, Ecology is the way to go.
Wow- unless I’m missing the irony, or the book is significantly different from the excerpt published here, there is a new preposterous and reactionary book, “Eat this book” by Dominique Lestel, from Columbia University Press. From the preview, the logic is as skewed as a sword forced through a drunk Hephaestus’s forge, and the complete disregard for contemporary theory is astounding. Take this quote featured on CUP’s website: “Vegetarians systematically overlook the fact that eating meat has a fundamental significance and that it teaches us a lesson about humility in that it reminds us of the interdependence of all living beings.” Of all the lessons in humility, this is the weirdest! Hasn’t Tim Morton taught us to blur the boundaries between inside and outside, to realize we live in a mesh, and thus that to suggest that for a human to eat an animal reminds us of our interconnectedness is any different from a human eating, say, a handful of dirt, an old sock, or his neighbor, is ridiculous, for it simply reifies the human, re-asserts “Nature” rather than ecology. Indeed: I hope the author “eats his book” and feels a sense of interconnectedness. Then, there might be something to discuss.
Played a round of Clim' Way, an online game in which the player attempts to manage public, private, and citizen efforts to manage climate change. The game, while not the most exciting ever for various reasons, gives a good idea of just how difficult it is to think about long-term vs. short-term objectives, how different parts of the ecosystem fit together, which actions one should take first. Is it better to start research on sites for new wind turbines? Or to kick-off citizen-run efforts around carpooling or home compositing? Or should solar panels be created, even if in the short term that means actually producing pollutants? How does "ecotourism" fit in? What about fishing? Who should do what? What are the dangers that you're not seeing at the present time? Few people are in the position--anyone?--of being in a position of overviewing all the different elements, as here, especially over such a long (50 year) timespan. In "reality" there would be lots more squabbling, no ideal gameplay possible, because even if you have all the facts, even if you're in a position of political power, you're unlikely to be in the position of benevolent dictator of the whole world--that's perhaps the biggest difference between this game and "reality." Still, a useful lesson in complexity and ecological thought--as the images below show, my first try to manage things didn't go so well...
Project THE HUMANIST anthropocene
is a thought archive and workspace of Phillip John Usher (NYU) at the crossroads of early modern humanism and the problems and insights of the Anthropocene. Main Research Page.
ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment)
Environmental Humanities (journal)
Resilience (A Journal of the Environmental Humanities)
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