Asking for a conversation with YOU

I am the Climate, We are Climate Change

I have insistent thoughts that are blocked, don’t move forward. Coming out of the deep need to keep on re-conceptualizing what is happening in the human-mediated natural world we inhabit, this planet… However we’ve been thinking about the climate, communicating the urgency to act and to change—well, our message hasn’t prevailed, is probably losing political ground even as Scary Events and Record Breakings are scarily breaking records.

So: Climate as Other. Climate as not us. Maybe these concepts are the problem, as in:
Climate Change will happen to us. Climate Chaos will destroy Human Civilization. Humans are destroying the climate. Other Humans (not me, not us) are destroying the Climate. I/we subject or object, Climate Change subject or object, but never occupying the same ground.

How do things shift if I see myself as Climate Change. I am Climate Change. This is where I get stuck. If we see ourselves as not subjects of the historical moment, or victims of the historical moment, but … the moment itself?

Help me think this through, tell me what comes up for you reading my semi-raw musings…

Another problematic

Climate porn. I’ve seen this phrase, and just googled it. It refers to the use of graphically scary images used to raise awareness, perhaps shake a little wildly into consciousness, the Ghost of Christmas Future that is, actually, Now. Floods, Fires, Ice Retreat, Storms.

I thought porn was something that riveted people’s attention, not caused them to look away. Oh, maybe they are shy! and that’s why they divert their eyes. So what images allow people to look? Erotica? What would Climate Erotica look like? If not fear and suffering, what would hold people’s attention? And make them believe, and feel, and want to be a part of The Change?

I like to look at joy.

5 Responses to “Asking for a conversation with YOU”

  1. Caroline Crumpacker Says:

    One quick thought re porn…

    Is it sexual or just about normalizing certain privileged modes of desire? And isn’t the enticement mostly about THAT? Is there a connection between that asexual sexuality and the distancing effect of seeing pictures of, say, oil-soaked birds in the Gulf? There is the mainstream media black-outing of climate issues (like the Gulf!!) countered with alt. media/wiki-leaks etc. documentation. I think most of us prefer the latter by a long stretch, but the problem is so deeply systemic — one mode may not spur more action than another when all is said and done…

    I am not an anarchist per se, but I am beginning to think that anarchy is the only possible outcome of the kinds changes that need to happen inside our culture and in our minds and hearts…

    It is hard for us to think of how we can live if not THIS WAY. We are sad about the birds and the bleaching of the coral reefs but what do we do if we have to get our kid to school and there is no bus and we have to work and our job is not on a bus route (I say this not as an excuse at all but just as an explanation of why I think we have to undergo anarchic kinds of change — cuz the very fundaments of our life are up for grabs, and certainly all forms of authority are)…

    I think it may be more about extracting ourselves from society than merging ourselves with climate change. That is a two minute thought on your very very smart post.

  2. Dave Hampton Says:

    I love the piece :o) It brings me joy – thru the angst.
    We don’t know the ending yet. Th fat lady has not sung.
    Douglas Adams advised hanging on to a towel, “Don’t Panic”, and invited us to look back at ourselves from a time after Earth had been destroyed.

    I love the invitation “tell me what comes up for you reading my semi-raw musings…”

    I love the call to look at things afresh

    I love the acceptance of the possibility that *some* of how we have been looking at things before *may* be part of the problem. Is for me!

    I love your invitation to speak the words “I am climate change”
    (because as a fossil burning human i clearly am the problem, hence clearly i am also the solution)
    Does the language and success record (and joy?) of the 12 steps approach offer us anything – “I am in recovery” “I am part of the Great Recovery Era” – I am coming clean, breaking free, changing my need, one day at a time?
    The only carbon that matters is the carbon of now… and now…
    Yesterdays is spilt milk. Tomorrows we can avoid by action today.
    The only carbon that matters is my drip in the ocean today?

    The only clean up I need to focus on is my own, even that is difficult enough, and even for that I may need to call on a Higher Power or deeper well of strength within me? If you re-read ‘Our deepest fear’ by Marianne Williamson does that help. It usually does with me! We are powerful beyong measure… :o)

    The other one i’ve been having fun with recently is the subtle distinction between carbon reduction and (carb reduction + happiness improvement).
    I think we can only go – at the moment – as low as the happiness of our immediate loved ones – and our own happiness – dictates. IF we shed carbon and pack on kilos of misery (an some ‘old style’ ‘greens’ did) – they became ambassadors not for fossil freedom but for a misery trap.

    It’s hard to know – in our hearts – whether (eg) that flight to a distant relative will make us all – nett – happier – or less happy. All that matters is we judge it right – for us. As time passes and everyone sees us shedding carbon bit by bit – and putting on kilos of authentic inner joy – the process itself and the judgements shift… if i were the only person in my town who was flying long haul – then a flight would not make me happy any more! (Other readers – i don’t fly atall as it happens – but i know that I am lucky for that to be possible for me and that not everyone can do same)

  3. Dave Hampton Says:

    Can I add a wee PS! I wanted to talk porn too – so not to be a prude!

    Strikes me the word ‘extreme’ is helpful. Everything in Moderation … including moderation. Fanaticism and extremism is usually counterproductive – however justified natural and righteous it feels!

    If and when an individual human mind does – or can ever fully ‘get’ the magnitude of it all – and i won’t try to describe ‘it’ – but curtains for our species and all we love – it is hard to stay sane afterwards. So some measure of the ‘denial’ thing that we fight against is necessary to function. Didn’t most Apollo austronauts ‘lose their mind’ to some extent (from our societal perspective) maybe they awoke their minds and we all slept on and they couldn’t ‘re-enter’ into our ‘civilisation’

    Imagine if a young child had accidentally found his or her way into a hut in a then-secret Auschwitz while playing, and suddenly encountered the full horror, what would come next? If she/he returned to her home town screaming of what she/d seen we alll know she would be locked up in an asylum. If she found the presence of mind to accept it all, somehow, and found the amazing strength to think through what needed to happen, she might slowly but surely enrol allies to join her in her return to the scene?

  4. kokorako Says:

    I’m glad you are itching to write again. Finding it hard to respond to your essay this time though. Nicola

  5. Neil Goldberg Says:

    Hmm, Annie. I love your writing and your thinking. Love it. For me the idea of “I am Climate Change” somehow does not resonate. I think because the trope of “I am…” has been deployed elsewhere, in advertising in particular, in a way that, for me, drains it of its power. I think for that particular message to be effective, the recipient needs really to meditate on those words. But because the words ring so familiar — again, at least for me — they do not provoke that type of meditation and instead roll right off. But it’s not like I have a better idea.

    As for climate porn and the like: I think those extreme images have a paradoxical effect, at least for me. Seeing crazy weather or even oil-slicked birds represented somehow, for reasons I don’t really understand, triggers an unconscious feeling of almost calm — like because these things are being represented — because they *can* be represented — they somehow are being addressed. Or we can survive them. I think that’s a tricky thing about trying to represent something like that — it risks somehow taming it, domesticating it.

    Again, I’m sadly at a loss for alternatives. But I’m interested to hear other thoughts.

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