onsdag 7. april 2010

Agency of nature

"To build an ecological consciousness, we do... need to question systems of thought that confine agency to a human or human-like consciousness and refuse to acknowledge the creativity
of earth others".

These are the words of a favorite philosopher of nature of mine, Val Plumwood, in an article from Ethics & the Environment in 2006. In her last years before her sudden death in 2008, she was very interested in the agency of nature, perhaps fuelled by the experiences and thoughts that came after an attack by a crocodile while canoeing in Kakadu National Park in Australia in 1985. It has been described as a near-death experience. I am amazed by the attack which she described in the article "Prey to a Crocodile", published in the Aisling magazine in 2002 (and other places). The sudden experience that she was nothing more than food for an other animal let her realize that humans are edible, but also more than edible. In early June 2006 Val Plumwood was one of the key note speakers at a symposium in Trondheim, where she made a stronger claim for viewing the more-than-human world as co-creator and to nourish that which nourishes us, because as she concluded, "the earth, place, grows you". Do we need a climate crisis to understand that what nourishes us, may stop nourishing us one day and rather eat us? I tell you, I talked to Val Plumwood for many hours in Trondheim in 2006 and I saw her eyes. She had crocodile eyes. And she viewed crocodiles as a test for us.