Bird and Beastie
This is one drawing in a series on birds, beasties and animalia from an imaginary world. They were all drawn at odd moments like Faculty Meetings because drawing keeps my mind from wandering too far from the proceedings (really, this is true. . .I’ve done this sort of thing to keep me focused ever since my High School classes, all the way through grad school and on. . .).
Please consider joining the Institute for Nature and Culture on Earth Day 2013 for the following event:
“A Celebration of Chicago’s Biodiversity: How Many Species in Our Region?”
Monday, April 22, 2013; 6:30pm until 8:30pm in CDT
THE EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
An expert panel will provide an overview of our region’s biodiversity. The panelists have been asked to address the question: How Many Species in the Chicago Wilderness Region?
Panelists: D Wise, G Wilhelm, J Pollock, D Taron, C Martinez, M McCary, M Farfan, L Umek, and G Mueller
(A Satirical Report on Fictional Current Events)
By Jeff Tangel
Peace and democracy groups suffer while composting benefits
London based HSBC Bank, the world’s third largest publicly held bank, bought and paid for the right to do business with rogue nations, terrorist cells, and Mexican drug cartels, fair and square, on the World Trade Organization’s Social Responsibility Exchange (SREx). On the sell side was Goldman Sachs who claimed to be representing peace and democracy groups that would receive the proceeds as a social offset to HSBC’s dealings. The practice—quantifying and pricing ethical behavior—is the newest efficiency development, fully implementing the science of neoliberalism across all social spheres.
In what Goldman Sachs called “a glitch,” the money went into offset projects that composted the bodies of those killed in drug wars and general global mayhem for use as soil amendment on hybrid organic/GMO farms in poor urban neighborhoods. Perhaps not exactly what they promised, Goldman demurred, but a spokeswoman argued that in any case, “We’re closing a loop and helping folks build sustainable lives in troubled inner cities.”
When the well-known investigative reporter Matt Taibbi exposed the banks’ activities in Rolling Stone magazine movingly quoting the urban peasants, “Oh God, our compost is people!,” the Securities and Exchange Commission swiftly intervened and both HSBC and Goldman Sachs were forced to not admit or deny guilt and pay a fine amounting to a day’s pay for each of their top executives (CEO, CFO, and COO). SEC Director, Ben Dover called this a big win: “Ordinarily we’re lucky to get the CEO’s turkey sandwich out of his cold clammy hands . . .”
Free market advocates pointed out that at least HSBC and Goldman were creating jobs, buttressing their case by pointing out that democracy and peace don’t create jobs, businesses do. Funding anti-war and pro-democracy groups is “unfair and a waste of money anyway,” said Robbin Wantsalot, spokesperson for the Heartland Institute. “Competition and conflict are natural, and giving money to pro-democracy groups amounts to subsidizing their specific goals, giving them an outsized voice in the marketplace of ideas,” she added.
Chief Joseph Wiseacres, Financial News Analyst
Original Peoples Network (OPN);
Homage to Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, (1840-1904)
Check Out Jeff Tangel’s blog here:
On the occasion of Earth Day 2012, renowned nature writer, Richard Louv spoke at DePaul University. Toward the end of his talk he issued a friendly challenge to faculty and students to create more positive images of the future. Responding to Louv’s challenge, I began reviewing neuroscientific and psychological literature related to imaging the future. Though I was initially uncomfortable with some of the findings, I came to the unavoidable conclusion that most individuals are primarily interested in their immediate future and the well being of human beings in their immediate circle. I am currently in the process of writing an article recommending that environmental agents and agencies “meet people where they live,” instead of trying to remake the public in their own image. Here is an allegory for the twenty-first century pilgrim, setting out on an environmental mission cognizant of the siren-call of self interest.
1. The individual is a process suspended between the past and the future. Our life is like a voyage, but some executive aspect of the self is like the captain of the vessel. The vessel is travelling into the future, but its course is determined to a large extend by our past experiences. The individual, though complex and contradictory, is indivisible from their own perceived self interest.
2. The individual is also a process of adaptation, primarily responsive to immediate opportunities and threats. On the voyage we have to remain attentive to present circumstances and the immediate future. In order to arrive safely at our destination we have to align ourselves with the prevailing currents and winds. We also have to be cognizant and prepare for storms at sea (and maybe even pirate ships).
3. The importance of self importance and core values. Our values are like our cargo. They may be the reason for the voyage, the motivating factor (even the goal of transporting ourselves for example), but they can also be our baggage. Our values are always attached to our attachments. Whether they come from and are reinforced by our family, peers, or a broader sense of community, they remain our intimates. We carry our beliefs on our voyage, but they are also the wind in our sails and our ballast.
4. Moving from big plans to local projects. We need to move back and forth from the big picture to local conditions. Though we may be on a grand journey we need to continually locate ourselves in time and space. We need a sense of location in the moment. The most distant and lofty elements can help us. The stars, the cosmos, the environment at large, can give us a discreet sense of place.
5. The eternal return of nature. Earth is our point of departure and our destination. It is the source of our hopes and dreams. The dove bears an olive branch to cheer the weary traveler. Earth gives us meaning and a sense of security. All voyages are undertaken in search of home.
by Randy Honold
Last Thursday evening I had the great pleasure to meet one of my heroes, the photographer Terry Evans, at the opening of the Climate of Uncertainty exhibition at the DePaul University Art Museum. The online catalog has links to all of the artists plus essays by Louise Lincoln, Laura Fatemi, Liam Heneghan, and myself.
See Randy Honold’s new photography website, Dylar Addict here.
by Rick Elmore
Recently, while attending the annual meeting of The Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy in Rochester New York, I went to a panel on Kelly Oliver’s most recent book, Animal Lessons: How Animals Teach Us To Be Human (2009). It was an afternoon panel, and I had eaten a very light lunch. Hence, I was a little hungry as I sat down. However, I had read Oliver’s book when it first came out and was excited about the panel. One of the central themes of Oliver’s text is reexamining the relationship and role animals have played in the development of our concept of the human. She argues, quite convincingly, that “[p]hilosophers unthinkingly use animals to develop their theories of the human subject and human nature” and, consequently, “[o]ur concepts of the human, of kinship, of language, and even of human rights are borne on the backs of animals, whose importance to philosophy goes unacknowledged” (
). Much of Animal Lessons is a tracing of this unthought and unacknowledged importance of animals to philosophy through an impressive number of thinkers including Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Freud, Lacan, Derrida, Agamben, and Kristeva to name just a few. Central to her argument is the claim that many of these thinkers insists on the distinction between humanity and animality and yet cannot explicate such a distinction without recourse to examples and uses of animals that challenge and complicate it. I am, of course, sympathetic to this line of argumentation, which, although not new or revolutionary, is decidedly right. It is difficult to argue that there is not a profound and constitutive speciesism running through the Western philosophical tradition.
Now the panel was set up with three speakers (David Wood, Kalpana Rahita Seshadri, and Brett Buchanan) followed by a response by Oliver. I especially enjoyed Buchanan’s paper which brought up the issue of extinction and, in collusion with Wood’s talk (defense) on Heidegger, got me thinking about what it would mean to think of Heidegger’s notion of “being towards death” as “being towards extinction.” However, the thing that lingered with me the most about the panel was the way in which the figure and example of the “pet” circulated as a touchstone for talking about our relationship to non-human animals.