Good governance and the territorial integrity of Mother Earth

This latest recommendation by indigenous peoples to the UN stands wholly on its own, but it also nicely subverts rhetoric around ‘territorial integrity.’

Saskia Sasken “Expulsions: brutality and complexity in the global economy”

A recent lecture at the LSE, click here to view.

Is there a geomorphological case for the Anthropocene?

Antarctica and collapsing west shelf

1.15202_NASAI used to be quite obsessed with how the different ice streams in west Antarctica turned from fast to slow flows. It was something that wasn’t entirely understood a decade or so ago. If you’ve not heard, the latest is that the west Antarctic ice sheet as a whole now looks like it is entering a positive feedback loop that will ultimately lead to its collapse. There are several stories on it here and here with the article in Science here. The collapse commits us to a bigger rise in sea level over the next several centuries than previously estimated.

Great new education tool: the basin challenge

Nate Matthews at KCL Geography walked me quickly through this great new water basin planning tool recently. It’s designed as a game and freely available to play online. Here is the link to the game and a short description from a pdf flier for the game. It uses a lot of scientific data to make impacts realistic and includes potential for politics, corruption, urbanization, and so on. This is a great resource.


basin image gameThe Basin Challenge allows players to simulate development of a river basin over the course of 50 years—but rather than waiting years to observe the impacts of development decisions made today, players can instantly see the cascade of impacts caused by development projects. The game is especially useful as a decision-support tool for decision-makers, as it can help them to try out various development scenarios, visualize and understand the impacts caused by specific development projects, and improve their decision-making abilities through learning-by-doing.

Kate Rigby: Narrative, ethics and bushfire in the Anthropocene

New book: the misguided search for the political

McNaysketch2.inddThis book looks quite interesting, here is the description from the publisher’s website.

There has been a lively debate amongst political theorists about whether certain liberal concepts of democracy are so idealized that they lack relevance to ‘real’ politics. Echoing these debates, Lois McNay examines in this book some theories of radical democracy and argues that they too tend to rely on troubling abstractions – or what she terms ‘socially weightless’ thinking. They often propose ideas of the political that are so far removed from the logic of everyday practice that, ultimately, their supposed emancipatory potential is thrown into question.

Radical democrats frequently maintain that what distinguishes their ideas of the political from others is the fundamental concern with unmasking and challenging unrecognized forms of inequality and domination that distort everyday life. But this supposed attentiveness to power is undermined by the invocation of rarefied models of political action that treat agency as an unproblematic given and overlook certain features of the embodied experience of oppression. The tendency of radical democrats to define democratic agency in terms of dynamics of perpetual flux, mobility and agonism passes over too swiftly the way in which objective structures of oppression are often taken into the body as subjective dispositions, leaving individuals with the feeling that they are unable to do little more than endure a state of affairs beyond their control.

Drawing on the work of Adorno, Bourdieu and Honneth, amongst others, McNay argues that in order to make good the critique of power, radical democratic theory should attend more closely to a phenomenology of negative social experience and what it can reveal about the social conditions necessary for effective political agency.

Jane Bennett: “Systems and Things: A Materialist and an Object-Oriented Philosopher Walk into a Bar . . . ,”

Noam Chomsky: Ethics, ecology and anarchism

Noam Chomsky on the Anthropocene

This eight minute speech is worth listening to, if the embedded video doesn’t work click here.