Archive for declensionist

We Need a Structural One Health

Posted in Ecological resilience, Influenza, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2012 by rgwallace

No one ever says to you, “Lie to me.” The enemy says, You will do and believe certain things. It is your decision to falsify, in the face of his coercion. I am not sure this is what the enemy wants, or anyway the usual enemy. Only a Greater Enemy, so to speak, would want that, one with greater objectives, and a clearer idea of what the ultimate purpose of all motion is. –Philip K. Dick (1974)

Perhaps unbeknownst even to themselves, many an epidemiologist, veterinarian and wildlife biologist confounds episodic and structural crises.

The good doctors gun from outbreak to outbreak, isolating samples, sequencing genetic markers, administering prophylaxes, and, for epizooses, culling the sickest and burying the dead. To be sure, that kind of firefighting is critical. We can’t have deadly pathogens running amok now, can we?

But the oft-difficult mechanics of an intervention do not lend credence they address the cause of the outbreak. Disease isn’t synonymous with its etiological agent or the map of its victims, whether or not either is placed within a One Health context that acknowledges the functional ecologies humans, livestock and wildlife share.

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Inception Deception

Posted in Ecological resilience, Organic agriculture, Revolution, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2011 by rgwallace

In Inception Leonardo DiCaprio plays Christopher Nolan’s postmodern spy-for-hire, extracting real-world corporate secrets out of the phantasmagoria of fitfully sleeping executives, until one day he is himself maneuvered into a trap of his own making: he must implant an idea into one executive’s head for the benefit of another.

But off-camera the real DiCaprio, the actor, the man, the quintessential Hollywood liberal, driven from one sound stage to another even between films, appears caught in a dream within a dream. An active environmentalist and creative force behind a documentary on climate change, DiCaprio serves as a board member for World Wildlife Fund, whose aim ostensibly is to save the biosphere. In reality the conservation NGO is spearheading convoluted efforts to destroy it.

WWF has organized a heinous line-up of agribusiness under the presumption those who own the world’s food value chains are the only ones who can ecologically modernize them.

It turns out merely an effort to greenwash the pith helmet: Environmental crises and threats to biodiversity, of agribusiness’ own making, are laundered inside a declensionist colonial narrative. Agribusiness must take over African farmland or Indonesian rain forest to save it, the argument goes. It’s an environmentalism which serves only as due cause for expanding dispossession, pushing subsistence farmers and the indigenous off their lands. Only another iteration of the neoliberal program, which brought about the environmental crises in the first place.

If only DiCaprio would turn into an old man, filled with regret.  Some  sudden sentience somehow. Two years after Nolan’s set wrapped, DiCaprio’s totem spins on. Like many a bourgeois environmentalist he’s still stuck in capital’s inception.

The Declensionist Diet

Posted in Ecological resilience, Evolution, Influenza, Sustainable farming with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2011 by rgwallace

We continue with the ‘big picture’ of food crises I co-authored with Richard Kock and Robyn Alders. This is the second of three excerpts. The first can be found here.

We argued the causes of our ongoing and oncoming food crises are manifold, rooted in present-day policies as well as humanity’s history, as far back as even our species’ origins.

The past offers us some unlikely lessons. Agriculture, for one, wasn’t so much a bright idea as a damning necessity for populations forced upon overhunting to scavenge for food. Subsequent shifts in food regimes, including those under way today, were likewise defined by such path-dependent contingency.

At the same time, history appears to have produced an illusion of inevitable existence. Humanity was able to repeatedly overcome food and other resource limitations, even as archaeological strata are also littered with dead civilizations. These near-misses, however, can offer no sample sufficiently representative for guaranteeing humanity a future.

Indeed, we now face a complex of problems of another nature entirely.

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