msb ~019 Tell it slant

Tell it slant

Florida, by Lauren Groff

In this Edge Effects interview, Lauren Groff offers perspective for any ‘climate fiction’ writer feeling environmental despair even while celebrating nature. “My only talent is as a writer. That’s the only thing I can do. So now I feel as though I am being immoral if I am not addressing it somehow in my work. Of course, I write literary fiction, so it can’t be polemical. If it’s polemical, I’ve failed. I need to do something more scalpel-like, something a little bit sideways.” Continue reading “msb ~019 Tell it slant”

msb ~013 On anticipatory history

On anticipatory history

Anticipatory history – edited by Caitlin DeSilvey, Simon Naylor & Colin Sackett

A year ago on ClimateCultures, I discussed a book I’d first encountered in 2011 and have been using ever since. Anticipatory history arose from an interdisciplinary network, exploring possibilities in ‘looking back’ at environmental change to help us ‘look forward’ to what futures we might shape. I was doing my MA Climate Change at the time and, in the network’s latter stages, I was able to contribute some work on ‘storying adaptation’ to their final symposium. Continue reading “msb ~013 On anticipatory history”

msb ~012 Problematic problems: predicaments

Problematic problems: predicaments

The Best of the Archdruid Report, John Michael Greer

I categorised yesterday’s post under Predicaments without actually using the word. Discussing climate change, I’ve favoured ‘predicaments’ over ‘problems’ (even ‘Wicked Problems’) since I read John Michael Greer’s definition. In the Archdruid Report, Greer described the difference: “a problem calls for a solution; the only question is whether one can be found and made to work … A predicament, by contrast, has no solution. Faced with a predicament, people come up with responses. Those responses may succeed, they may fail, or they may fall somewhere in between, but none of them ‘solves’ the predicament, in the sense that none of them makes it go away.” Continue reading “msb ~012 Problematic problems: predicaments”

msb ~009 Fitting our oddness into the scheme of things

Fitting our oddness into the scheme of things

Nature Cure, by Richard Mabey; wood engravings by Jonathan Gibbs

A passage from one of my favourite ‘nature books’, Richard Mabey’s Nature Cure. Pondering the ‘opposition’ of nature and culture and the role of human language and imagination:

“It is odd that the gifts of image-making and language are so often seen as the attributes which irrevocably alienate us from nature, are the cause of our fall from grace. We will never know the state of self-consciousness of another species, but it’s a reasonable bet that most don’t use language in the way that we do, or think metaphorically, or meditate their vivid sense-experience through such a complex net of associations and references Continue reading “msb ~009 Fitting our oddness into the scheme of things”

msb ~006 Welcome to the snarge matrix

Welcome to the snarge matrix

Future Remains
Photos: Tim Flach / Cover Design: Isaac Tobin
University of Chicago Press 2018

I’m reading Future Remains: a cabinet of curiosities for the Anthropocene and one entry has collided with my imagination. Gary Kroll’s Snarge is a meditation on the impact – literally and metaphorically – between human and non-human in The Great Acceleration that is our age. 

Snarge, he explains is the term naturalists use for “the avian tissue that’s left over after a bird-strike … a horrible word that onomatopoeically conveys the peculiarly destructive violence of acceleration in the Anthropocene.”

Continue reading “msb ~006 Welcome to the snarge matrix”

msb ~004 Impact beyond the factory walls

Impact beyond the factory walls

Gripple Energy Lab – from Stories of Change

One of the many excellent passages in the book Energetic which didn’t quite make it into my ClimateCultures review today is this interview with Gordon Macrae at Gripple:

“One of the things we recognised, probably about seven or eight years ago, was that we have an environmental impact. It started from having the Carbon Trust come in and do an energy audit. They said, ‘Your carbon footprint is great, you’re only using 500 tonnes of carbon.’ And I thought about that and said, ‘That’s rubbish!’ because if you look at the amount of carbon that we’re using, up and down the supply chain, it’s significantly more than that.” Continue reading “msb ~004 Impact beyond the factory walls”

msb ~003 Getting energetic with utopias

Getting energetic with utopias

The book from Stories of Change: the past, present & future of energy

I’m drafting my ClimateCultures review of Energetic, the book from the Stories of Change project on the past, present and future of energy. I helped organise the 2016 launch conference, with TippingPoint, the Open University and others, and it’s great to see the wealth of thinking and creativity the project’s generated. Energetic includes an account from Dan Barnard of fanSHEN on engaging people with future thinking, and their principles are good ones to adopt and adapt: Continue reading “msb ~003 Getting energetic with utopias”