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Collapsing Civilization: Notes Towards Day 20 (Thurs. Nov. 10)

Anne Dalke's picture

We'll meet in the classroom today.

I. I am sorry that we assigned this book right now.
several of you commented:

Calliope: It was disheartening to read after watching the election last night. 

Bdragon: how ironic the title is as to what is going on the United States right now.

Amanda.simone: The Collapse of Western Civilization. Ugh, how fitting.

so let's open class today by giving ourselves some time
(if you want it; maybe you've done so much processing
already that you don't want to....?)
talking about the election: reactions, fears, hopes....?

Terry Tempest Williams:
It is morning. I am mourning.
And the river is before me.

I am a writer without words who is struggling to find them.

I am holding the balm of beauty, this river, this desert, so vulnerable, all of us.

I am trying to shape my despair into some form of action, but for now, I am standing on the cold edge of grief.

We are staring at a belligerent rejection of change by our fellow Americans who believe they have voted for change.

The seismic shock of a new political landscape is settling.

For now, I do not feel like unity is what is called for.

Resistance is our courage.

Love will become us.

The land holds us still.

Let us pause and listen and gather our strength with grace and move forward like water in all its manifestation: flat water, white water, rapids and eddies, and flood this country with an integrity of purpose and patience and persistence capable of cracking stone.

I am a writer without words who continues to believe in the vitality of the struggle.

Let us hold each other close
and be kind.

Let us gather together and break bread.

Let us trust that what is required of us next will become clear in time.

What has been hidden is now exposed.

This river, this mourning, this moment --- May we be brave enough to feel it deeply.

II. coursekeeping
* plan for going forward re: where we meet?
after today, 5 more classes
(plus last two w/ Jody's class,
presenting your projects)

* 10th paper due by MIDNIGHT on Fri

for Tuesday:
finish The Collapse of Civilization, 53-89:
"Lexicon of Archaic Terms" and "Interview with the Authors."

By 5 p.m. Mon: tenth short posting, reporting on a news article
about (any) governmental intervention in response to climate change. 
Give us the lede (= main idea) in no more than three sentences.

II. beginning discussion of the book with your postings about your
initial reactions to Oreskes and Conway's sci-fi tale.
We're going to work on these in the form of a silent discussion-->
get up, comment on any/all....

this book reminded me that its not exclusively our world leader's responsibilities to address climate change. The "cause [of environmental damage] is people" at all levels…who are "passive deniers," who are not changing their behaviors and lifestyles because industry more of a priority.

mpan1: Upon reading Collapse of Western Civilization I am more fearful for our nation….these events are inevitable because it is so hard for people and businesses to change their ways. Raaaachel Wang: we can't stop ourselves because the short-term profits are so tempting and irresistable.
KatarinaKF: Humanity is on a roller coaster that cannot be stopped.

Evaaaaaaa: The book also criticized how experts "specialize" on their subjects, saying they are missing the big picture. I completely agree with such a view. Science is always interconnected, one can never look at biology without chemistry or physics or math or sociology. It is always important to form to ability to look at the entire picture, which is why people should take liberal arts education. 

kcweiler20: While this essay was supposed to make me feel scared, it made me feel hopeful; our story has not been finished yet. We have time, we have each other, and we will take advantage of it to continue our story the way we want to.

Lebewesen: The fact that Trump is now president means that it will be almost impossible to put our nation on the right track for preventing even more horrific climate change events. I think what we really need to remember at this point is that we are stronger together. We need change. This has become even more clear with the results from this election. Inspiring change is hard, and I'm not sure exactly how to do it, but I aim to find out.

III. end with gallery: take notes on questions, answers, ideas you
can bring back to the group, things you'd like us to talk about more.

IV. Large group discussion:
What forms of writing will help us think/act in order to make  necessary changes??
Eco-semiotics, eco-linguistics, cli-fi -->
trying to move beyond a short-term, human-centric focus?
What sorts of stories can get us to think
beyond our immediate needs and wants?
(What about emotions as an impetus to change...
and/yet as something,
per Teju Cole, that needs constant interrogation...?)