Blog

affording to grieve

We can’t afford to grieve in our contemporary culture. There is literally no space, time, or network to allow for us to process the wrongs done, to atone the righteous rage we feel at a degraded earth and the waste of our own lives. Without the capacity to grieve, how...

the machine takes out the tenderest part of feeling

Pat McCabe, Weyakpa Najin Win (Woman Stands Shining) of the Diné (Navajo) Nation describes the difference between lighting a fire by hand, versus with a standard plastic or metal lighter: “the machine takes out the tenderest part of feeling.” It’s not as if nothing is...

Why I don’t buy carbon offsets

From Eric Holthaus's newsblog interview with Ketan Joshi in The Phoenix: What I'd love to see is a major company, instead of buying offsets and greenwashing us, is to be up front and unambiguous and say: "We are not going to fully reduce our emissions right away, but...

corona and climate – still relevant

Environmental philosopher and public health scientist Yogi Hale Hendlin will discuss the relationship between climate and viruses during this webinar and argues for a drastic change in behavior instead of treating symptoms. Is our relationship to flora and fauna not...

The Pantheon

A collection of some of my favorite humans who have ever enlarged our imagination: (in no particular order, last date updated 5 March 2022) Alexander F. Skutch - ornithologist and naturalist Hannah Arendt - chronicler of the human condition Kalevi Kull - theoretical...

Beloved books of 2021

Of the academish books I enjoyed the most in 2021, these are among my favorites. Most of them have to do with systemic modes of looking at intractable or wicked problems, suggesting that wicked problems themselves are wicked only because of those factors or...

Skiing in the anthropocene

For my 41st birthday, my family went skiing at La Rosiere, in the French Alps. Today, I got to go skiing into Italy and back - no passport checks necessary! Truly a unique experience! I hadn't gone skiing for years, since I was visiting my friend Josh in the Austrian...

Fractal Instrumentalism

When we farm fish, do we think that, perhaps, we're being farmed as well? If not? Why not? When we bind life to fulfilling one function: delivering to us what we think we need; do we ponder whether our life also is bound to what someone else desires? When we...

The push and pull of ecocide

Planned Obsolescence is just the verso side of perpetuating fossil fuels. GM's buying up and then sitting on patents for electric cars in the 1960s is but an example of how the fossil fuel industrial complex has retarded energy evolution. The fossil fuel industry and...

Jan 6 2021 and Sept 11 2001

Predictably, more surveillance and bigger data is the answer to dealing with terrorism, this time domestic. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/white-house-jan-6-lessons/2022/01/04/10970c9c-6cd2-11ec-a5d2-7712163262f0_story.html In many ways, this is...

The Chemical Anthropocene as Devolution

My recently published paper in Environment & Society "Surveying the Chemical Anthropocene: Chemical Imaginaries and the Politics of Defining Toxicity," draws on Sheila Jasanoff's notion of "sociotechnical imaginaries" to describe how chemicals become cultural...

Beewashing

In an Earth Day issue of Time magazine (April 26/ May3 2021), we have an advertisement from the RJ Reynolds (or Reynolds American) tobacco company "Natural" American Spirits proclaiming "in more ways than one, bees are worthy of our love." Yes, we ought to love the...

Food and Medicine: A Biosemiotic Perspective published

My co-edited book with Jonathan Hope, Food and Medicine: A Biosemiotic Perspective, was just published with Springer Nature (2021). This volume explores how the most basic processes in our everyday lives - the material engagement with food and medicine - affect us and...

Organisms and Agency

Responding to an article in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/01/wuhan-coronavirus-lab-leak-covid-virus-origins-china the medical ethnobotanist and philosopher Stephen Buhner had the following astute observations (posted in Facebook):...

New Paper: Plant Philosophy and Interpretation

I'm happy that a paper I first drafted in 2015 made it to the light of day in Environmental Values this week: "Plant Philosophy and Interpretation: Making Sense of Contemporary Plant Intelligence Debates." This paper grew out of an Austrian Science Foundation grant I...

Egalitarianism explained in a simple YouTube video

As part of my procrastination today from writing my book, I stumbled upon this video by the YouTube science communicator Veritasium. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LopI4YeC4I&ab_channel=Veritasium What's so lovely about the video is how clearly it explains reams...

Review of The Good Hand excerpt

I just read the New York Times excerpt of Michael Patrick F. Smith's (names don't get more American, or Irish--his middle, middle name is Flanigan) book The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown. What struck me first was...

Reviews for Plants in Science Fiction

Last year an edited volume on speculative vegetation that I contributed a chapter to on Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume came out with the University of Wales press in the New Dimensions in Science Fiction series (with a beautiful cover, I might add). Since then, some...

Time to Clear the Air on EUR Smokefree Policies

From Erasmus Magazine’s misrepresentative title "Smoke-free campus: responsible decision or counter-productive?” for the very pro smokefree campus comments from students actually interviewed in the article to the irresponsible and juvenile “Free to Smoke Zone”...

Decolonization Matters

An short article I wrote zooming out on the Black Lives Matter movement - "Decolonization Matters" - has just appeared in the journal Kosmos: Journal for Global Transformation. There I write The “white fragility” fear that the oppressed will become the new oppressors...

Bee-washing

It's a thing. Like greenwashing, whitewashing, or astroturfing. Bee-washing is big business. It's how companies fool us into consuming more: by appeasing our sense of guilt beforehand. It's almost like they tried to reverse engineer our resistant points against buying...

Bread and Roses

I'm a jazz fan and player, and during the corona quarantine I started reaching beyond my normal playlist, and found the amazing work of Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah after stumbling across his stunning NPR Tiny Desk Concert. (If you don't know this pioneering...