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’ll 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.
Uneven Earth updates
We’ve launched our series on sci-fi, near-futures, utopias, and dystopias, Not afraid of the ruins. The first three stories are now online! Expect a new piece every Friday.
Borne on a damaged planet | Link | Two books that do the hard work of thinking through the Anthropocene
Library | Link | A climate change poem
The naked eyes | Link | “Keith’s livelihood was sandwiched between an ocean of algorithms and a ceiling of decision-making programs.”
Why the left needs Elinor Ostrom | Link | An interview with Derek Wall, author of Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals, on the need to think beyond market and state.
Our printing press’ first paperback, In defense of degrowth, is hot off the press! You can order it at indefenseofdegrowth.com.
You might have missed…
Turkey, commanding the second-largest NATO army, has attacked the predominantly Kurdish region in Syria building a feminist & democratic governance system. The region under attack, Afrin, has gone the furthest in institutionalizing women’s liberation. You can follow any updates or find local protests via #DefendAfrin.
The “Environmental Warriors” series from the LA Times chronicles stories from around the world, showing why and how increasingly more environmental activists are faced with repression and violence.
“This is not a symbolic action.” An investigative piece from The Intercept.
“The movement is led by educated Dalit youth, who know they have been cheated of land that is rightfully theirs.”
While many threats to the Amazon remain, indigenous and environmental groups celebrated this victory which can be partly attributed to their resistance.
This is important. The International Organisation’s dealings often don’t get much scrutiny, but their reports can make or break a country. An informative Twitter thread here.
A victory for the movement against airports?
The Zone à défendre (ZAD) achieved a victory this month: France announced that it would no longer build the airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes. But for ZADistas, it is a half-victory: “While we are trying to prevent the construction of an airport, more than 400 others are being planned or built around the world.”
Where we’re at: analysis
Happy new year! Essays on loneliness, happiness, and an accelerating world
We’re more lonely now than ever: an article on the science of loneliness. To ramble: an ode to the stroll and loitering. An investigation into the new culture of mindfulness in the corporate world. A New Yorker article on the happiness industry. And a Jacobin piece on ‘neoliberal perfectionism’ and how it stands in the way of solidarity and a collective agency.
Smart cities, green urbanism, livable cities. The catchy terms keep proliferating, but does it come with better policies? Maria Kaika, foremost theorist on cities, opens up a bag of worms in this interview.
An essay by urban geographer Pushpa Arabindoo on the increasing ubiquity of slums—and conversation about them—around the world.
A striking essay on Canada’s broken relationship with Indigenous people.
Charles Eisenstein widens the frame on the GMO discussion. “If you believe that society’s main institutions are basically sound, then it is indeed irrational to oppose GMOs.”
Last month we shared an interview with Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore about their new book: A history of the world in seven cheap things. This is a critical review by Ian Angus at Climate and Capitalism.
How The Population Bomb triggered a wave of repression around the world.
“often current events are analyzed in a vacuum that almost never includes the context or history necessary to understand what is new, what is old and how we got to where we are.”
Two years of radical municipalism in Barcelona
A documentary about what happened in Barcelona and why it matters, including resources for discussing the video with your local group. An inspiring interview on the new politics in Spain, and how people have used the internet in creative ways. Eight lessons from the last two years of radical municipalism. A report on the first Fearless Cities conference last year held in Barcelona, and another report on the Catalan Integral Cooperative, which is experimenting with a new economic system in the shell of the old.
“Today’s tenant organizers confront a highly fragmented and individualized rental sector. The challenge, then, is not just to mobilize tenants but to create a shared sense of being a tenant.”
Editorial from the seventh issue of ROAR magazine, which examines the social and political nature of climate change. The issue also features an explainer on the relevance of Murray Bookchin’s work for today’s climate crisis.
“If we can resist the age-old impulse to define binary oppositions between ways of knowing—scientific versus humanistic, expert versus popular—we will be in a better position to join forces across those divides towards understanding and action”, argues Deborah Cohen.
“Haiti, not the US or France, was where the assertion of human rights reached its defining climax in the Age of Revolution.” In light of President Trump’s recent ‘shithole’ comments, this article from 2016 on Haiti’s revolutionary history is worth revisiting.
Aaron kicks off a new series of articles on the ENTITLE blog which questions the foundations of ‘eco-modernist socialism’ and ‘communist futurism’ as proposed in Jacobin’s climate change issue Earth, Wind, and Fire.
There’s been upsurge in activism since the Trump election, but how do we keep people engaged? A nice how-to from Waging Nonviolence.
With increasing natural disasters and the retreat of the state, more and more people are getting involved with grassroots disaster response movements. Movement Generation has put out a document with a guiding framework for how to do people-based recovery. PDF here.
A thorough syllabus on the island’s history and its not-so-natural catastrophes.
Sci-fi and the near future
“It is with a certain feeling of urgency that I seek the nature, subject, words of the other story, the untold one, the life story.” Ursula K. Le Guin has died, and there are so many more worlds to explore. We’ll build them with her in our hearts. This is one of our favorite pieces by her, “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction.”
“Entire landscapes, replete with designer insects and subscription seed stock, will have the potential to be recognised as protected intellectual property. The proprietary ecosystem will emerge, financially and biologically controlled by a particular hotel chain, property developer or private homeowner.”
Welcome to the future: climate change will mean a new math for real estate investment.
Move over cyberpunk. Say hello the new kid on the sci-fi block, solarpunk.
We like our stories filled with weird creatures. A collection of shorts by Jeff VanderMeer.
Ok, this isn’t sci-fi, but it certainly feels like it. A graphic illustration of a post-apocalyptic festival.
An interview with China Miéville about the limits of utopia.
“with looming climate change and the decline of cheap oil, I couldn’t shake the question of what would power all these gadgets, and none of the futurists seemed to bring it up.”
“To truly write from another experience in an authentic way, you need more than empathy. You need to write with love.” By Alice Elliott.
A primer on some of the best nature writing you probably haven’t read yet.
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