Speculative listening

Image: Screenshot of ‘Arctic*

Kaya Barry is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Griffith Centre for Social Cultural Research (k.barry@griffith.edu.au), Michelle Duffy is Associate Professor in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle (michelle.duffy@newcastle.edu.au), Michele Lobo is Lecturer in Human Geography, Deakin University (michele.lobo@deakin.edu.au)

This blog post relates to the Global Discourse article Kaya Barry, Michelle Duffy & Michele Lobo: Speculative listening: Melting sea ice, and new methods of listening with the planet          

Saltwater incursions, mangrove loss, species decline, ocean acidification and declining sea ice are expressions of global environmental change that are incredibly hard for the average person to fathom. Such slow emergencies are closely monitored by a complexity of scientific measures, yet the general public can often find this hard to digest and understand. Even as authoritative reports and global agreements – such as the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment or the Paris Agreement – emphasise the need for shared responsibility for planetary futures, these ‘big’ questions of how to act can lead to paralysis and paradoxically strengthen narratives of climate denialism and scepticism. When seeking to understand things that exceed our human grasp in the diverse planetary worlds we inhabit, the philosopher Bruno Latour urges us to learn ‘how to get our bearings, how to orient ourselves’. Speculative listening with the planet opens up possibilities for thinking and acting otherwise.

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