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Archive for the ‘Manifestos & auguries’ Category

A social media conversation prompted me to dig up something I had written in my notebook years ago after reading Serhii Plokhy’s masterful book on “premodern identities” in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Which in turn prompted me to realize that coronavirus provides an answer to the question I had just finished writing an article about […]

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The “reopening” of the world’s economies, locally and nationally, piece by piece, after the sudden and massive stoppage of the entire economic system, is raising important questions about whether the system can be put back into motion selectively and into a more viable direction than it had been moving beforehand. Some observers have suggested, optimistically, […]

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I dreamt that Leonard Cohen appeared by my bedside. He smiled and reassured me that things will be alright: “They will all have been beautiful in the end.” I wanted to ask him something, but wasn’t sure what. Then he was gone. The radio (it was Radio Moskva, from back when I spent a fall […]

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I have many friends who are despairing that, with Bernie Sanders’s exit from the presidential race, the United States has lost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to elect a leader who is honest, reliable, and completely untethered to the vested interests that keep our whole system careening towards catastrophe (climate change, ecological collapse, mass extinction, out-of-control AI, […]

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There’s a lot of interesting thinking going on in response to the coronavirus pandemic and how it will “change everything.” Here’s the beginning of a curated sampling. It takes for granted that there will be suffering, a lot of it, unequally distributed and with a preponderance of it coming down on first responders and low-wage, […]

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This was originally posted over a week ago, but then taken down by request as it was being considered for publication elsewhere (but not published there). A shorter version of it appeared yesterday at VT Digger. The school I work for, the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, recently undertook a […]

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The outbreak of Coronavirus is a good opportunity to think about how we treat guests whose novel appearance amidst us may pose hardship, but whose continuing presence is undeniable.

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As I write, there are two known cases of COVID-19 in my state of Vermont, but there are no tests available to me or to the next person to tell us if either of us could be a carrier. Universities and colleges (including my own) have cancelled classes and moved to online teaching. The air […]

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Here’s a hypothesis: If the human community exists in some more or less unified form in 880 years (in the year 3000 by our calendar), that feat will have been accomplished, at least in part, in and through the emergence of an ecological religion. What does this mean, and how could we test it? Religion, […]

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Like many, I’ve been finding it difficult not to feel an upwelling of anxiety as the scope and scale of the climate emergency has become more and more obvious, as Trump-style political (non-)responses — precisely the kinds of responses that will only make things much worse — have scaled themselves up around the world, and […]

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Feverish World (2016-2068): Arts and Sciences of Collective Survival was premised on the acknowledgment that the coming decades will be feverish in more ways than one — climatologically, politically, economically, militarily — and that the arts will be essential in helping us come to terms with that feverishness. In my comments opening the symposium, I laid […]

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I am a pro-life, values-based conservative. I wish and act to conserve the conditions that have allowed human life to flourish on this planet for the past 12,000 years, conditions whose continuance today is threatened. I wish and act to conserve the values — of cooperation, respect, and physical and emotional sustenance — that have […]

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