All posts by switalla

Seven Generations Ahead

Seven Generations Ahead

In Allen Thompson’s “A World They Don’t Deserve: Moral failure and deep adaptation”, he discusses two key assumptions. The first one being that the next few hundred years of both the natural and social world are deeply uncertain, and the second being that members of the present generation have a moral responsibility to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference”. However, the point that Thompson brings up that truly resonates with me is the fact that he calls any failure to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference “moral failure”.
This detail of his second assumption I find both true, and burdening. It doesn’t matter what world the current generation was given. As long as there is still time to change it, it is on them to do so. It is always the burden of the current generation to lay the groundwork for the next one, but it has never been more burdening to do so.
Failing to do this aspect can come in a number of ways. Of course, the main point and seemingly the most pressing one is that of climate change. While there is not a full consensus of when irreversible damage will occur from the effects of climate change, it is agreed that such things will happen soon.
Personally, I think that the biggest responsibility this puts on the worlds current generation is to change the world we live in. It is a fact that the way we live right now is not sustainable and it is our moral responsibility to change the systems we find ourselves in. However, there is also the matter of shaping how this and future generations think. Currently most of the world that produces carbon emissions and majority of the worlds garbage are run in systems that prioritize yourself first. The strange thing is that this form of thinking has only been so dominant in recent history. This means transforming this way of thinking would be world changing. We need to change our ways of thinking to become more sustainable and instead of looking out for our own gain of material wealth, we need to look out for the natural wealth of the generations to come.

Picture: https://sevengenerationsahead.org/

An ADOLESCENT anthropocene

5 General World History Books Everyone Must Read ...

In her book, “A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None”, Kathryn Yusoff discusses how modern civilization has failed to “properly identify its own histories” (Yusoff 13). She credits the victors of history with incorrectly writing their own history, often leaving out, dehumanizing, or ignoring the exploitation of other cultures. Specifically, how White history does this to primarily black and brown people. Yusoff mentions multiple places where history has come up short, and asks us: who are we to define a new age if we cant even get our own history accurate?

I think that Kathryn Yusoff defies the common idea of an Anthropocene in quite an interesting manner. Instead of denying its potential existence, she instead denies its potential infancy. By asking us to “consider what historicity would resist framing this epoch as a ‘new’ condition that forgets its histories of oppression and dispossession” (15). There is no doubt in my mind that our history and geology are immensely incomplete in the way Yusoff describes, leaving out essential details that dehumanizes, and incorrectly defines many past events.

However, in the grand scale of things, I don’t see much vitality in understanding how we reached the Anthropocene. Rather, the fact that we are in one matters. And to me I don’t see how the points of incorrect history and geology effects that. And so while I agree with almost all of the points in the text that I understand, I struggle to find how it relates to the current issue at hand. I very much understand that I likely misinterpreted this text or took some of its points out of context or at least I hope that is the case as it did raise quite interesting points. They were just not ones that necessarily change how we should approach our rapidly incoming doom that is the Anthropocene. I hope to come to a better understanding of the text in next class.

Picture: whytoread.com

Cherry Picking

In Lynn White Jr.’s science magazine article, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis”, he takes a critical stance on the effects of Christianity and Western Ideology’s effects on the environment. He discusses the duality of man and nature in the eyes of the christian church, a duality where man always reins superior. White credit’s this shift in ideology to Christianity’s dominance over paganism and eastern philosophy; which tend to view nature as a much more inclusive part of humanity.
However, I believe Lynn White Jr. overgeneralizes the church, thus causing him to be too critical. Sure, if paganism was the dominant religion in our world, our world would most likely have a much more environmentally conscious outlook. Nonetheless, many supporters of the church have spoken outcries against the same issues White discusses. As Saint John Paul II discusses, human beings frequently seem “to see no other meaning in their natural environment than what serves for immediate use and consumption.” He then continues with, “human life itself is a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement.” At this time John Paul II was the pope, head of the catholic church and a representative of Christianity. He sees the ideals of the west towards nature and seeks to change them, even implying that the general public’s idea of nature is wrong and not what the church wants it to be. This is why the pope then proceeds with “Our human ability to transform reality must proceed in line with gods original gift of all that is.”
Lynn White’s argument is based off of a cherry picked view of Christianity that is becoming increasingly outdated, as even the church is now starting to realize its environmental impacts and looks to change them. That in no way makes the historical aspect of what he is saying wrong, but simply not the full story.