Happy May Day and merry Beltane, to those in a mood to celebrate this weekend. I’m traveling and unable to blog much, but the past week’s events warrant at least a quick update on why such a mood might be difficult to sustain with any steadiness.
The biggest environmental bad news story was, of course, the Gulf oil spill, which threatens to turn Louisiana’s wetlands and much of the Gulf of Mexico into an industrial sacrifice zone and, according to some voices, to become one of the worst ecological disasters in history. (More pictures, as well as maps, here.) Jonathan Hiskes at Grist, which, as always, is doing an admirable job keeping up with events, calls this the The worst week ever, brought to you by the fossil-fuel industry. Hiskes notes the deaths of two coal miners in Kentucky, the talk of sinking the Chinese coal freighter that crashed recently into the Great Barrier Reef, and the approval of the Cape Wind energy project off Martha’s Vineyard — which, as the week’s leading good news story still “feels pretty bad” for all the sparring that went on around it. All the while, the fossil fuel industry continues to make huge profits.
The best news might have been the dissemination of the final conclusions from the Cochabamba conference’s working groups. Despite their marginality in the echelons of global power, these conclusions are at least making a clear case for a global eco-socialist alternative, a case that will be heard by some thanks to the Bolivian government’s pursuit of them in the United Nations. President Morales submitted the conference’s Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth for consideration to the UN this week.
Elsewhere: PBS’s two best programs, Bill Moyers’ Journal and Now (which Moyers started) signed off for the last time yesterday. Pierre Hadot signed off as well, for good. And Middlesex University announced it will close its top-rated Philosophy program (reports of this and of philosophers protesting the economically driven decision are all over the philosoblogosphere, but Infinite Thought is as good a place to catch up on it as any).
In somewhat less sobering news, Dot Earth alerts us to the Lens‘s Moment in Time project, a global moment for catching a collective glimpse of humanity in action, to take place at 11 am New york time tomorrow (Sunday). E. O. Wilson has been doing what he does best, which is writing about ants — which Larval Subjects’ recent note on made me think of how an ant megalopolis is a perfect example of how difficult to isolate “objects” from the relational world. (What’s an object here? A single ant? Nope. The entire city? Yes, but it’s co-evolved with its surroundings to such a degree one could hardly place boundaries around it…) Stuart Elden, meanwhile, joined the blogosphere. Welcome, Stu.
And extraterrestrials circling around Alpha Centauri finally got to watch the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake Super Bowl event. Many debates followed.