Victorian Bush Fires and Climate Change

From the Ecological Humanities blog:

Victorian Bushfires

The Victorian bushfires have shown again how entangled are the destinies of all of us alive today. The fires are directly connected to climate change, as Freya Mathews elegantly explained in her letter to the Editor of The Age. An ecological humanities perspective acknowledges the entangled accountability of human beings in this, and other, anthropogenic ‘natural disasters’. We are brought into a space of grief: for the suffering and loss across so many kinds of living beings, and for our own involvement – sharing the suffering but also acknowledging our very real responsibilities.

Alongside this awareness and the need that it prompts for urgent and drastic action to address climate change, an ethics of accountability in multi-species communities impels us to hold open a space for mourning. A part of this mourning will surely work toward understanding direct and indirect causes, and working to prevent future suffering and death. Another part, however, encounters and acknowledges the fact that our culture of modernity and calculation does not articulate paths for mourning such extreme loss. We must, perhaps, remain in silence, pausing for a moment to ‘simply’ mourn.


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