With COP-21 over, what we take away from this deal that defines how "we" relate to "our" planet, how we think about the "stuff" we take from the planet, in a word our collective understanding of the planet and that which is "ex-terranean," perspectives continue to jostle for our attention.
In the Times, the economist Paul Krugman is, somewhat, hopeful: "Did the Paris climate accord save civilization? Maybe. That may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but it’s actually the best climate news we’ve had in a very long time." He is hopeful because of two majors changes: (1) China's role has change--the country is cutting coal consumption; and (2) while the Republican party continues to fall "ever deeper into a black hole of denial and anti-science conspiracy theorizing," we now realize that this might not matter as much, for Obama is taking executive action in certain areas. Krugman's hope derives most of its energy, however, from "new technology [which] has fundamentally changed the rules": "costs of solar and wind power have fallen dramatically, to the point where they are close to competitive with fossil fuels even without special incentives." Krugman's final words are hopeful: "I don’t think it’s naïve to suggest that what came out of Paris gives us real reason to hope in an area where hope has been all too scarce. Maybe we’re not doomed after all."
But can we really be that hopeful? Or at least that tritely hopeful... Camille Seaman's piece sobers us up from too much hope, quickly: "We’ve Already Reached the Tipping Point on Global Warming. I’ve Seen It." Her stunning photos of the snow-less terrains near the North Pole tell us what's already happened: "we" are not separate from "nature." (For more on Seaman, see here)
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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