Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life
A Tar Sands Tale
Confounded by global warming and in search of an affirmative politics that links ecology with social change, Matt Hern and Am Johal set off on a series of road trips to the tar sands of northern Alberta--perhaps the world's largest industrial site, dedicated to the dirty work of extracting oil from Alberta's vast reserves. Traveling from culturally liberal, self-consciously "green" Vancouver, and aware that our well-meaning performances of recycling and climate-justice marching are accompanied by constant driving, flying, heating, and fossil-fuel consumption, Hern and Johal want to talk to people whose lives and fortunes depend on or are imperiled by extraction. They are seeking new definitions of ecology built on a renovated politics of land. Traveling with them is their friend Joe Sacco--infamous journalist and cartoonist, teller of complex stories from Gaza to Paris--who contributes illustrations and insights and a chapter-length comic about the contradictions of life in an oil town. The epic scale of the ecological horror is captured through an series of stunning color photos by award-winning aerial photographer Louis Helbig.
Seamlessly combining travelogue, sophisticated political analysis, and ecological theory, speaking both to local residents and to leading scholars, the authors propose a new understanding of ecology that links the domination of the other-than-human world to the domination of humans by humans. They argue that any definition of ecology has to start with decolonization and that confronting global warming requires a politics that speaks to a different way of being in the world--a reconstituted understanding of the sweetness of life.
Published with the help of funding from Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan fund
MIT Press, 9780262037648, 232pp.
Publication Date: March 30, 2018