What Climate Collapse Asks of Us – Part II

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Footnotes and references

[11] https://www.newscientist.com/article/2205741-is-it-true-climate-change-will-cause-the-end-of-civilisation-by-2050/

[12] https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140303-giant-virus-permafrost-siberia-pithovirus-pandoravirus-science/

[13] https://www.wri.org/blog/2018/10/half-degree-and-world-apart-difference-climate-impacts-between-15-c-and-2-c-warming

[14] “Existential climate-related security risk: a scenario approach” by David Pratt and Ian Dunlop (May 2019)

[15] https://www.livescience.com/65633-climate-change-dooms-humans-by-2050.html

[16] https://climate.nasa.gov/solutions/adaptation-mitigation/

[17] There is an interesting summary video on Youtube that illustrates how the very same efforts to stamp out carbon emissions with BECCS methods end up producing more of it in the effort: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLsH84dlV1Y

[18] This dances close to Riel’s point: that thought itself is a very local and contextually embodied set of relations. We will often imagine ourselves as holders of radical ideas, only to find they are quite run-of-the-mill, emerging from the same flat ontologies that created the problems one seeks to resolve. Solutions are often problems masking their desire for perpetuity.

[19] And there’s a lot of ‘solutions’ that are on the table that are beyond the scope of this essay to analyse. Check out this web page for an interesting compilation of climate change resolution efforts: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions

[20] In my opinion, the Yoruba word “ayé” is poorly translated into English as “life”. I have no linguistic expertise or studied experience in the etymology of the word, but it feels more readily translatable as “framework” or “assemblage”.

[21] Campbell, N., McHugh, G., & Ennis, P. (2019). Climate Change Is Not a Problem: Speculative Realism at the End of Organization. Organization Studies, 40(5), 725–744. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840618765553

[22] These particular frameworks are not intended to be read as time-bound, rigid, and universal blocks of meaning-making practices. They are fluid, pervasive, often dissipating with changing times, and re-emerging in other periods given the right conditions.

[23] Campbell, N., McHugh, G., & Ennis, P. (2019). Climate Change Is Not a Problem: Speculative Realism at the End of Organization. Organization Studies, 40(5), 725–744. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840618765553

[24] https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a22280/double-slit-experiment-even-weirder/

[25] Campbell, N., McHugh, G., & Ennis, P. (2019). Climate Change Is Not a Problem: Speculative Realism at the End of Organization. Organization Studies, 40(5), 725–744. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840618765553

[26] Barad, K. (2017). What Flashes Up: Theological-Political-Scientific Fragments. In KELLER C. & RUBENSTEIN M. (Eds.), Entangled Worlds: Religion, Science, and New Materialisms (pp. 21-88). NEW YORK: Fordham University. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xhr73h.4

[27] Called speculative realism, this tradition shares many concerns with new materialisms like Karen Barad’s agential realism. However, there are very real differences in how the world is allowed to matter. This essay can be understood in part as an attempt to diffractively read one’s insights through another. That is, not a synthesis. Not a critique. But an effort to see what new patterns emerge when we treat each perspective as ‘real’.

[28] Karen Barad and most other new materialists would prefer to think of ontology and epistemology together – that is, onto-epistemologies. Speculative realism has concerns about correlationism and the idea that all that’s real and all we can know is the ‘correlate’ of the inner and the outer, and never the ‘outer’ objective world for itself. Barad’s agential realism makes the ‘inner’ no less ontological than the ‘outer’, making knowing and epistemology a performative process that cannot be seen apart from the object.

[29] Here, we can read Meillassoux’s concept of ‘advents’ together with Barad’s work with quantum field theory, as well as Butler’s idea of the messianic, borrowed from Walter Benjamin’s “Theological-Political Fragment”.

[30] Campbell, N., McHugh, G., & Ennis, P. (2019, p.13). Climate Change Is Not a Problem: Speculative Realism at the End of Organization. Organization Studies, 40(5), 725–744. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840618765553

[31] In what sense is climate change an advent and therefore irreducible to the prior world of the Holocene, when the authors name human activity as the series of processes that undergird the phenomenon? Perhaps climate change is too narrow a label to describe this advent; further still, irreducibility is not necessarily a container for inexplicability. Much in the same way a catalysing crystal piece can be introduced to a super-saturated solution to shock that system, sharing some precedence with that system but not fully reducible to it or engulfed by it, climate change or what we frame as climate change is the intra-action between us and a traversal, an advent, an atemporal messianic rupture that freezes everything. Lastly, the loss and death recorded in the Anthropocene suggests a qualitatively different world than the one that permitted them to thrive. Even if humans ‘repaired’ the world, they cannot repair the transience of things, now more apprehended in a time of ‘universal’ collapse.

[32] p. 13.

[33] Barad, K. (2017). What Flashes Up: Theological-Political-Scientific Fragments. In KELLER C. & RUBENSTEIN M. (Eds.), Entangled Worlds: Religion, Science, and New Materialisms (pp. 21-88). NEW YORK: Fordham University. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xhr73h.4

[34] I thank Riel Miller for sharing these examples with me during another phone call.

[35] It is as if our failures themselves are not merely negative spaces, empty inadequacies, but resourceful and interesting events in their own right – prestigious and wealthy.

[36] Scientific reports about the discovery of a deep biosphere, a subterranean world of “zombie bacteria” and microbial species with greater carbon biomass than all of human life put together, definitely queer the idea that the ground is still, foundational, and non-controversial. https://www.livescience.com/64272-carbon-mass-in-earth-deep-biosphere.html

[37] ‘Oumuamua means ‘scout’ in Hawaiian – “sent from a distance” – and was suggested as a name for the comet C/2017 U1, which was “later reclassified as asteroid A/2017 U1 due to the absence of a coma”  and then designated ‘Interstellar Object 1I’, the first of its kind. The person who did the suggesting was a diminutive, silver-haired professor of Hawaiian languages, Larry Kimura.

[38] http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13398-selah

[39] In discussion with a friend, Jiordi Rosales, I reacquainted myself with a beautiful Greek word closely allied with the diapsalmata of Selah: kairos. ‘Kairos’ was the deity of opportunity in the old pantheon and the youngest child of Zeus. Ancient storytellers used the word ‘kairos’ to describe the ‘opportune’ moment, a breakthrough instant, when a traditional border was queered and unsettled, and a strange relationship ensued. Of course, the word Kairos emerged from the material practices of that civilization. For instance, when an archer’s arrow pierced its target, that was kairos. Or in speaking and statecraft, when the right words were said, that was kairos. Or in textile production, specifically weaving (which was a socially respected female-gendered labour activity), when an opening allowed for the crosshatching weft to intercept the warp in the emerging tapestry, philosophers saw this as kairos. The more I think about it, the more I am coming to appreciate how those ancient Greeks, particularly the weavers, noticed the divine in the transversality of the weft. The intersectionality of the ordinary. The nonlinearity of time. Kairos undercut chronos, quantitative time, dancing through it, without dismissing it. Queering it. Like eternity waltzing with temporality, neither of them transcendent nor separable.

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