Once a month, we put together a list of stories we’ve been reading: things you might’ve missed or crucial conversations going on around the web. We focus on environmental and social justice, cities, science fiction, current events, and political theory.
We try to include articles that have been published recently but will last, that are relatively light and inspiring, and are from corners of the web that don’t always get the light of day. This will also be a space to keep you up to date with news about what’s happening at Uneven Earth.
This month, we’re featuring a lot of analysis on climate politics: the climate strikes, climate apartheid, and the rise of fascism along with it. We are also featuring, as usual, many reports and articles documenting the ongoing Indigenous and land rights struggles around the world. We also highlight a debate that started with Jonathan Franzen’s article in the New Yorker, which mixes climate “realism” with a denial of the power of collective power, in favor of individual action.
We continued to collect analyses about the Amazon forest fires and Bolsonaro’s Brazil. A month after the crisis hit the news, articles coming out now are much more measured and well-researched, digging into the connections between global capital, our very own pension funds, and deforestation in the Amazon.
Finally, analysis and debate about degrowth is picking up again. On the left, there was surprising coverage of the movement in The New Republic and Current Affairs. World-famous scientist and analyst, Vaclav Smil, has just released an authoritative book on the science of degrowth. There was also an interesting debate where Leigh Phillips, author of Austerity Ecology, published an article denouncing degrowth. In four separate replies to his piece, scientists and authors took apart each of his arguments and countered them pretty effectively. We feature the debate here.
Uneven Earth updates
Last stand on Ménez Hom | Link | At the top of the Ménez Hom, between the earth and the sky, history had displayed the ability to repeat itself.
Life in flames | Link | On pain and hope in the aftermath of catastrophic fires in Bolivia’s Chiquitanía and Amazon regions
The vine underground | Link | “The unthinkable had happened. No one plans for the end of their own world.”
Destructive space-time | Link | How war bombs and resource extractivism compress past, present, and future
Top 5 articles to read
The Toxic Valley. How global industry turned a once green Turkish province into an environmental wasteland.
First as tragedy, then as fascism. Ecologist Garrett Hardin’s enduring gift to the nativist right.
News you might’ve missed
Where we’re at: analysis
Dark crystals: the brutal reality behind a booming wellness craze. Demand for ‘healing’ crystals is soaring – but many are mined in deadly conditions in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Land and water protectors and Indigenous struggles
Revolutionary socialism is the primary political ideology of the Red Nation. Position paper from the Third General Assembly of the Indigenous organization The Red Nation.
Twenty-five years before Greta, there was Severn and we ignored her. Time is running out to make transition to low-carbon future safe, just and inclusive.
The climate strikes are about so much more than green colonialism. Solutions to the environmental crisis won’t come in the shape of a battery – they come in the shape of justice, reparations and equity.
Climate de-nihilism versus climate rage
What if we stopped pretending? by Jonathan Franzen sparked an online debate about the merits of and issues with claims that it’s too late to take meaningful climate action. Franzen’s take: “The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it, we need to admit that we can’t prevent it.” This Twitter thread by climate activist Dr. Genevieve Guenther takes apart Franzen’s article and argues for an activist approach. And Mary Annaïse Heglar writes that Home is always worth it and that “doomer dudes” are “climate de-nihilists.”
Just think about it…
‘Development’ is colonialism in disguise. A review of the new book, Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary.
Cities and radical municipalism
Önsketänkande med grön tillväxt – vi måste agera. An op-ed by earth-system scientist Johan Rockström of Stockholm Resilience Center cites the article “Is green growth possible?” by Jason Hickel and Giorgos Kallis. Rockström retreats from his earlier advocacy of green growth and argues that we need to act politically for more far-reaching change—starting with setting a final date for all fossil fuels.
We need a fair way to end economic growth. The recent mainstream endorsements of degrowth ideas might be a good thing, but: “The left should be monopolizing a controlled and deliberate degrowth strategy because if it doesn’t do it, the rich and their authoritarian, ideological vanguard will. And it will be ugly.” And a similar argument from The New Republic: The delusion and danger of infinite economic growth.
The degrowth delusion. The critique of degrowth by Leigh Phillips as “unnecessary, unjust, and the end of progress”.
And the four responses:
Utopia, sci-fi, and the apocalypse
Ursula K. Le Guin’s revolutions. Le Guin’s work is distinctive not only because it is imaginative, or because it is political, but because she thought so deeply about the work of building a future worth living.
Minim Municipalist Observatory. A database with links to articles, reports and academic papers on municipalism, and updates on the municipalist movement.
Tracking your plastic: Exposing recycling myths. A CBC news documentary about the plastics recycling industry and its environmental impact in Malaysia.
This newsletter is put together by Anna Biren (@annacbrn), Rut Elliot Blomqvist (@RutElliotB), Joanna Pope (@DegrowthMemes), and Aaron Vansintjan (@a_vansi).
Want to receive this as a newsletter in your inbox? Subscribe here.