I’ve been posting links to Earth Day news in the shadow blog (which you can follow in the column to your right on the Immanence main page). The most interesting news, to my mind, was the initiative for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and the calls to establish an international climate court, both coming out of the People’s World Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Hosted by Bolivian president Evo Morales, whose proposal last year that April 22 be formally adopted as International Mother Earth Day was unanimously accepted by the UN General Assembly, the conference seems to be where a lot of the energy from the global climate justice movement has gone since the Copenhagen debacle.
News about the conference is being widely covered in the left-green and indigenist mediaspheres, including at Democracy Now!, Climate Justice Now!, Climate and Capitalism, Another Green World, Grist, It’s Getting Hot In Here, Indian Country Today, and the World War Four report, and with Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, and others chiming in on it. Even at this people’s summit, and within Bolivian indigenous communities themselves, however, one finds rifts, such as this one over mining in Bolivia. And while all the “Mother Earth” language, pervasive at the conference, might raise questions in other contexts (for instance among feminists, for whom it perpetuates a dichotomy that equates femininity with passivity), in this context it seems a way of acknowledging the centrality of indigenous discourses, which I think is important both to climate change and to land rights activism. Meanwhile, however, Big Coal continues to boom.
The big controversy around here was Derrick Jensen’s invited keynote address on Wednesday night, which elicited at least a few calls for retroactive renunciation of his views. Jensen didn’t say anything he hasn’t said before, and at times his talk seemed to descend into a kind of anti-civilizationist stand-up comedy, but many of our students loved it.
On the philosophical front, my favorite Earth Day blog post (probably not intended as an Earth Day post, but certainly suitable to be one) was Peter Gratton’s interview with Jane Bennett, posted yesterday as part of a series of interviews with “speculative realist” philosophers (and, in this case, “vibrant materialists”). Bennett’s Vibrant Matter: a Political Ecology of Things is becoming a welcome theoretical interlocutor between the speculative realists and all the other theorists I regularly post about here, so it’s great to see it being read. Reviews are reportedly forthcoming (including, eventually, my own), but the book would be a good one for an inter-blog reading group.