26 Pieces for COP26: Earth

For the duration of the conference, in place of our Paper Cuts newsletter (though just as timely), we’ll be sharing writing about waterairfire and earth from the LRB archive. Meehan Crist’s piece here will be kept in front of the paywall, as will a piece from each of the other collections.

How to be Green

Mary Douglas, 13 September 1990

Much Green writing implies that in addition to a change of heart, the remedy would require strong political and economic controls. Herein lies the dilemma, for the idea of moving to a command economy is repugnant to a tradition committed to liberty, equality, free enterprise and consumer choice.

 If global warming is as much of a threat as we have good reason to think it is, the subject can’t be covered in the same way as church fêtes and county swimming championships. I suspect we’re reluctant to think about it because we’re worried that if we start we will have no choice but to think about nothing else.

Climate ethics is not morality applied but morality discovered, a new chapter in the moral education of mankind. It may tell us things we do not wish to know (about democracy, perhaps), but the future development of humanity may depend on what, if anything, it can teach us.

The Capitalocene: The Anthropocene

Benjamin Kunkel, 2 March 2017

The terminological dispute – Anthropocene or Capitalocene? – may not be so important. What does matter is which sense of our present straits prevails.

Is it OK to have a child?

Meehan Crist, 5 March 2020

The polar icecaps are melting. Is it OK to have a child? Australia is on fire. Is it OK to have a child? My house is flooded, my crops have failed, my community is fleeing. Is it OK to have a child? It is, in a sense, an impossible question.

The Arrestables: Extinction Rebellion

Jeremy Harding, 16 April 2020

Extinction Rebellion has come under fire for suggesting, as Roger Hallam has, that prison isn’t such a bad experience. Eda Seyhan, a lawyer and civil liberties campaigner, delivered a blistering attack shortly after the April rebellion, proposing that XR should be less sanguine about detention. Prison ‘is not a yoga retreat’, she wrote, and certainly not for racial minorities.

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