Does the Earth Care?

Indifference, Providence, and Provisional Ecology

2022
Authors:

Mick Smith and Jason Young

MANIFOLD EDITION: READ FOR FREE ONLINE

Rethinking our relationship with Earth in a time of environmental emergency

Does the Earth Care? offers an Earthly alternative to either cold realism or alienated despair in the face of impending ecological disaster. It outlines a “provisional ecology,” drawing on a variety of literary and philosophical sources from Richard Jefferies and Robert Macfarlane to Martin Heidegger and Gaia theory.

The world is changing. Progress no longer has a future but any earlier sense of Earth as “providential” seems of merely historical interest. The apparent absence of Earthly solicitude is a symptom and consequence of these successive Western modes of engagement with the Earth, now exemplified in global capitalism. Within these constructs, Earth can only appear as constitutively indifferent to the fate of all its inhabitants. The “provisional ecology” outlined in Does the Earth Care?—drawing on a variety of literary and philosophical sources from Richard Jefferies and Robert Macfarlane to Martin Heidegger and Gaia theory—fundamentally challenges that assumption, while offering an Earthly alternative to either cold realism or alienated despair in the face of impending ecological disaster.

Mick Smith is professor of philosophy and environmental studies at Queen’s University in Canada and author of Against Ecological Sovereignty: Ethics, Biopolitics, and Saving the Natural World (Minnesota, 2011) and An Ethics of Place: Radical Ecology, Postmodernity, and Social Theory.

Jason Young is a PhD candidate in the School of Environmental Studies at Queen’s University working at the intersection of (eco)phenomenology and posthumanism.

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