Lessons From the “Airpocalypse”

In December 2016, smog in big Chinese cities became so thick that thousands fled into the countryside, trying to reach a place where one could still see blue sky—this “airpocalypse” affected half a billion people. For those who remained, moving around began to resemble life in a post-apocalyptic movie: people walking around with large gas masks in a smog where even nearby trees were invisible. The class dimension played a crucial role: Before the authorities[ …]

Ecology against Mother Nature: Slavoj Žižek on Molecular Red

On November 28, 2008, Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, issued a public letter titled “Climate Change: Save the Planet from Capitalism”. Here are its opening statements: Sisters and brothers: Today, our Mother Earth is ill. … Everything began with the industrial revolution in 1750, which gave birth to the capitalist system. In two and a half centuries, the so called “developed” countries have consumed a large part of the fossil fuels created over five[ …]

Give BP a break

The entire ordeal has swung wildly from the sublime to the ridiculous. At first, there was the nightmarish direct gaze at the underwater wound. For weeks, our eyes were fixed on the hole at the bottom of the gulf spewing out crude oil – like a toilet gone mad, unstoppably throwing shit back up onto the surface. This traumatic scene was followed by the ridiculous spectacle of the executives of the three companies involved in[ …]

Joe Public v the volcano

Many of those who have a fear of flying are haunted by a particular thought: that is, how many parts of such a complicated machine as a modern plane have to function smoothly in order for it to stay in the air? One small lever breaks somewhere, and the plane may spiral downwards . . . When you start to think how many things could go wrong, you cannot help but panic. The people of[ …]

Paranoid Reflections

Everyone fears the possibility that the US attack on Iraq will have a catastrophic outcome – an ecological disaster of gigantic proportions, high American casualties, a terrorist attack in the West. If the war is over quickly (perhaps even by the time this is published) and if Saddam’s regime disintegrates, there will be a general sigh of relief, even among many critics of US policy. It is tempting to consider the hypothesis that the US[ …]