Seeding Plant/People Conspiracies to Root into the Planthroposcene:
Ten no-so-easy steps for growing livable worlds
An experiment with hypnogogic incantation, this talk seeks to break the spell of capitalisms’ green dreams in order to cast a new one. It asserts that there is no way to mitigate anthropogenic violence using Anthropocene logics. Green-washed designs are precisely the technological fixes that will keep us locked into the same rhythms of extraction and dispossession that got us into this mess. It is time to refuse designs for the Anthropocene, to refuse those capital- and labour- intensive infrastructures that exquisitely expose the ruse of sustainability as an aesthetic maneuver grounded in Edenic visions of nature. This is not the kind of green that will save us.
There is, however, another kind of green that will save us, but this green must first be disentangled from the violences of colonialism and extractive capital. Green beings like cyanobacteria, algae, terrestrial plants and trees can no longer be seen as natural capital, as the fuel that feeds the growth of green economies. Pulling matter out of thin air, plants must be understood as conjurers, as world-makers. More powerful than any industrial plant, communities of photosynthetic creatures rearrange the elements on a planetary scale. They know how to compose livable, breathable, and nourishing worlds. They are cosmic agents of earthly rearrangement, agents with whom we must learn how to conspire.
Our worlds will only be livable when we realize that we are of the plants, and that our futures are bound to theirs. Displacing the self-aggrandizing Anthropos with the strangely hybrid figure of the Planthropos, the Planthroposcene names an aspirational episteme, not a time-bound era, one that invites us to stage new scenes and new ways to see and seed plant/people conspiracies in the here and now, not some distant future. Rooting into the Planthroposcene demands that we learn how to conspire with the plants as if our lives depend on disrupting with dissensus the colonial and capitalist common sense that would leave us all to die in the Anthropocene.