What Ecologists Get Wrong

A Different Strategy for Climate Justice

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

§1. Do Preferences And A Consensus of Scientists Ever Help?

  1. Can an argument be made for climate justice that would go beyond the conflicts or consensus of experts expressing the science on one hand and the preferences of the politicians and public on the other?
  2. Indeed, can the case be made that even if the majority of people believe human activity is the cause of climate change today, there is still little we can do about it except protest against what our governments seem unable, or at least unwilling, to act upon?
  3. Is the blockage and inaction underlined in question #2, simply responded to by a political reform? Does it suffice to simply change a president, political party, or system to finally act upon climate change?

§2. The Nature of the Symptom Is Not The Symptom of Nature

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Why aren’t we doing so?

  1. If the cause of climate change is not simply found in Nature, the waters are getting warmer, ozone thinner, etc.,
  2. but in an Artifice: a governmental-military-industrial complex,
  3. and this complex is itself, with a second clearer look, only an effect — a symptom of a scientific-political order
  4. then we will have to do more than simply protect nature, demand change, pass legislation, and disrupt the military-industrial complex to make any headway in treating the real cause.
  5. We need to treat the current scientific-political order from the beginning and study its anti-physics (§3.Below)

§3. Anti-Physics versus Ecology

Still Life or Nature Morte— Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Anti-physics is an Artifice that supplements Nature.

§4. Save Haiti! Guilty Aid For A Natural Disaster

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  1. What is the problem with the efficacy of any movement when it acts from the place of guilt?
  2. More specifically, what is the problem when a government, relief agency, scientific research, or humanitarian group are motivated to act primarily, if not exclusively, from empathetic feelings based on guilt?
  3. Of course, nobody is willing to admit there is any guilt to begin with. Instead, our modern agencies and governments only want to speak of responsibility: of being held responsible professionally. Does this avoidance of the subject of guilt and its replacement by professional responsibility signal an ethical bypass?
  4. Will the nature of the symptom respond to a humanitarian action whose primary motivation is guilt? (that is only admitted as professional responsibility)

§5. The Guilt Of Climate Change

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  1. What can motivate the ecologist’s speech and action if we cannot rely upon a morality based on feelings of guilt? The celebrated ecologist Rachel Carson called for a ‘love of nature’ that would not become a ‘bunny hugger’ or a ‘cult for the balance of nature’ (See Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring; 1962). The question as to whether she manages to avoid the guilt of the naturalist will not be addressed here.
  2. How to distinguish an effective action with regard to climate change without falling back into a reflex of guilt in the face of urgency? Such actions always being too little, too late, and not enough.
  3. How to create an effective intervention addressing climate change that doesn’t simply repose on the degradation of Nature by human fabrication? Such actions always contain a naturalist ideology whose morality gets in the way of effective action.
  1. guilt Whereas, because the United States has historically been responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions” (p.3)
  2. crisisthe United States is currently experiencing several related crises” (p.3)
  3. degradation of Nature by “human activity”(p.2).

§6. A Different Strategy For Climate Change

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  1. First, why not just admit we are all guilty from the beginning, Artifice is part of Nature just as Nature is part of Artifice. The crisis and degradation of Nature has always already occurred. We are all guilty of this, from the beginning, even if we have done nothing. Now, let’s get clear on what this anti-physics is and determine its logic of the supplement.
  2. Can we use the emotional category of guilt to isolate a real of an anti-physics that goes beyond the mere sentiments of the researcher to reveal the actual misuse of science-politics?³ For example, what keeps a DNA researcher up at night when she recognizes her lab experiments may be nocive to society? Or what makes a whistleblower reveal the extent to which software programs are being used to spy on private individuals in society?
  3. Instead of trying to motivate science, businesses, and governments politically after the fact, after an ecological crisis or symptom of nature, why not address the nature of the symptom before the fact, as an anti-physics, when there is no crisis in view? In short, instead of attempting to manage the symptoms of nature, why not found a research into the nature of the symptom?
  4. Why does a scientific-political order always have to be addressed in the face of a crisis, with the guilt of being too late, with not enough money or time, and most often in charitable situations where people are asked to donate money to a ‘good’ cause? Why can’t a scientific-political order be treated and addressed in a research department with adequate time and funding from the start? — and not as a cause for charity?
  5. Instead of viewing Desire and Artifice as coming after Nature, as forms of falsification, inauthenticity, guilt, perversion, and pollution, why not admit Desire and Artifice come first, while what needs to be constructed is not an Idea of Nature but a coherent Desire of Nature? If successful, Desire would not simply fall back into the obscenities of perversion, guilt, and pollution, but furnish the motivation for a theory and practice of anti-physics that no longer falls back into guilt, crisis, and the ideology of degradation.



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Researcher in le temps perdu: sex, race, ethics, the clinic, logic, and mathematics. Founder and analyst at PLACE www.topoi.net