> Eco-Futurism and Post Capital Energies
Two hundred years after market capitalism met fossil fuels during the industrial revolution, we are nearing a tipping point. Ever accelerating capital driven production has created an ecological crisis, the scale and severity of which has become mainstream public knowledge.
If activity surrounding fossil fuel usage, continues in the same way it has been for decades, we will reach the point, in the next 20 years, at which there is enough carbon in the atmosphere to generate a 2 degrees rise in global temperature. This marks a point of no return.
>WE NOW HAVE 20 YEARS TO REACH CARBON NEUTRALITY
How did we get here?
The current situation is due, in part, to the cultural frameworks that have been built around the fundamental elements of society: food, water, shelter and Energy.
Through various mechanisms we have grown more and more detached from, not just the natural world (metabolic Rift), but also an understanding of material reality and production (alienation).
This detachment, or rift, can be seen clearly in the energy sector where natural resources, and the ability to harness them, are distanced from the users and have to pass through layers of capital interest before reaching the user.
The exploitative structures of capital interest, private corporate involvement and the sea of cultural effects that accelerating late capitalism has generated can be identified as the main drivers acting against sustainable systems.
Therefore it can be said that the ecological crisis is a direct symptom of accelerating cultural capitalism.
This separation caused by advanced capitalism doesn't just apply to the energy market, it can be seen throughout the whole spectrum of sociopolitical activity, where this rift helps to create issues like economic inequality and cultural alienation.
So its clear that these issues (ecological crisis, economic inequality and cultural alienation) are actually fundamentally linked and are all symptoms of an unsustainable system nearing the end of its life.
By addressing the environmental crisis, we can also address the system that caused it. This statement holds its form when trying to understand how to address the environmental crisis: To address the environmental crisis, we must also address the system that caused it.
It is the place of todays workers to build solutions that will function in a necessarily post-capital space .
To effectively address the ecological crisis the poisoned tree must be cut at the roots. Chopping off branches or even hacking at the trunk will only prolong necessary reform.
what are the 4 alienations and how they are found
The four alienations can be used as basis on which to systematically work against accelerating capitalism. Therefore the solution should be built from four key drivers:
The production of clean energy to address the wide spread alienation from ecological processes and conditions.
Working in the public space, engaging the community and promoting social cohesion to work against hyper-individualistic alienated communities.
Bringing the necessary tools, technology, and material into the hands of a social body to empower and engage the public, reducing the rift between production and produce.
To address the alienation of ‘workers from their produce’, systems of local distribution will be formed, direct feedback loop between the ‘product’ and the ‘producer’ will be maintained. ‘Value’ and ‘price’ will be directly tied to ‘use value’ so as not to create a spectacle removed from the reality of the product.
>The ecological rift
Where the divergence can be demonstrated is in the current modes of production and distribution.
Natural cycles and processes are left behind for constant acceleration and expansion into new marketplaces. The once productive driving force of capital has been allowed to mutate into a frenzied push towards hyper-saturated images of ‘innovation’.
The metabolic rift, identified by many critics of capitalism, can be used to describe the interdependent relationship between mankind and the natural world, specifically the disconnect (rift) that has formed between the two. By viewing social metabolism as a deeply rooted part of global environmental systems, it becomes clear how the breakdown of one can directly effect the other, and visa versa.
It then also becomes clear that action should be taken to close this rift in order to salvage a non-exploitative, stable relationship with natural resources, however, the closing of this rift should, in no way be a vehicle for primitivism. The effective co-functioning of socio-political and ecological systems will not be realised by abandoning technology, modernity and futurism. Even if were at all possible to return to a organically harmonious past, it would be reductive, bitter place given the advancements we know today. The past is not the solution. The future is not lost.
The way forwards seems to involve specific, sustainable technological acceleration. This will help facilitate a post-capital social metabolism, reducing the cultural dependance on exponential capital gain, ever expanding marketplaces and constant instability. Generating stable systems of production and consumption, of both natural and man-made resources. Which in turn acts to dissolve the ecological rift.
Therefore a true ‘co-functioning situation’ will see advanced technology side by side with advanced ecology, a new age of eco-futurism.
>The place of power and control
>Social engagement and awareness
We should use the huge disruptive force of the inevitable shift towards a more sustainable culture, to build new structures of production, distribution and consumption.
Product value and material value in the post-capital space
Escapism from hyper individualisation and the image-self
When power generation is no longer purely functional
As sustainable technologies evolve to meet social demand there will come a point where scarcity is no longer a driving factor. Access to affordable, renewable energy will no longer be niche, difficult or subversive. In this new era, the field of power generation could take on a new role: the act of electricity generation (production) is no longer a purely functional activity.
Here production assumes its’ new form as an expressive act.
The worlds of art, design and technology collide in the public sphere opening up new worlds of possibility in expression, connection and understanding.