I shared my previous post on the Peirce-L discussion forum and received about 16 responses in five days. The following is an edited version of the summary response I sent to the forum regarding the main comments presented there. I’ve eliminated names or substituted them with single initials where that seemed warranted.

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I’ve been struggling with how my triadic framework for interpreting art works relates to C. S. Peirce’s categories.

When I first developed my triadism (fleshed out in Ecologies of the Moving Image) into the non-Peircian terms of materiality, experience, and representation — which I did in the context of teaching a course on the environmental arts — I loosely considered the first of these to be analogous to Peircian firstness, the second to secondness, and the third to thirdness.

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Front Cover copy

Vegetarianism has been part of my identity for the last 25 years (thanks to arguments like this one and this one), but I’ve been increasingly recognizing the term’s limits.

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He left us with this to mull over.

(Thanks to Roy Scranton for the title idea.)

This article has been revised since it was first posted. It consists of a list of useful sources providing ongoing coverage of, and initial post-conference reactions to, the COP21 conference and mobilizations in response to it. Please suggest any other helpful sources and links in the “Comments.” (Previously suggested links have been added and the comments removed.) 

Originally published: Dec. 3. Last (& probably final) revision: Dec. 16

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The Paris climate talks were successful in that they resulted in an agreement that is both better than nothing and better than most of us expected. They were a failure in that even if they are followed to the letter — and there’s no provision for enforcing whether anyone follows them or not — they would still likely result in changes to the world climate that will bring tremendous hardship to millions, possibly billions, of humans and countless other organisms.

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Here’s how I would explain the concept of Climate Justice in four easy steps:

  1. The wealthiest 1% emit 2500 times more greenhouse gases than the poorest 1%.
  2. Those greenhouse gases are in the process of changing the Earth’s climate to render it uninhabitable for the kind of mix of human & nonhuman species that exists today.
  3. The poorest & most vulnerable will suffer the worst & the soonest from that change; many are feeling it already.
  4. This sucks & needs to be remedied.

A few years ago, the concept was largely unknown; a few years from now it will have become the reason for the next global revolution. Climb aboard now or run for your lives later.



Writing in The Independent, “Left accelerationists” Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek make the case that we need not bother protesting the Paris climate summit. There are better things to do than that.

They argue, first, that the negotiators won’t change anything under pressure, and probably won’t even notice that pressure coming from the streets. (Especially when street demonstrations are banned.) And second, they argue that the tactics, whether it is marches or gamified street actions, are ineffective — they may be fun photo-ops that make sense during earlier phases of a movement, but they are too little, too late, for climate change.

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Wes Enzinna’s New York Times Magazine article on “The Rojava Experiment” finally gives mainstream recognition to what has been happening among the Kurds of northern Syria. As he writes,

“In accordance with a philosophy laid out by a leftist revolutionary named Abdullah Ocalan, Rojavan women had been championed as leaders, defense of the environment enshrined in law and radical direct democracy enacted in the streets.”

Ocalan’s philosophy, in turn, is a revolutionary Kurdish version of eco-anarchist Murray Bookchin’s philosophy of “social ecology” and “libertarian municipalism.”

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How connected are the recent Paris attacks with the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 21 (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)?

At first glance, the targeting of Paris for ISIS’s act of war on civilian populations would seem to be motivated by other things: France’s role in the war in Syria, the high proportion of Muslims in France, challenges in integrating both immigrant and refugee populations, the symbolic resonance of the city itself, and so on.

A growing sentiment among climate change activists, led by Britain’s The Ecologist magazine, is the suspicion that the upcoming climate change conference may be more than just coincidentally related to last week’s events. ISIS, or Daesh (as critics are increasingly calling it), may have motivations that coincide with the protection of the oil industry that they, in fact, depend on. And the militaristic and security-obsessed response of France’s Hollande government would seem to play right into the objectives that ISIS may share with others in the fossil fuel industry.

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