In the wake of the righteous movement protesting police violence and the murder of Black people in the United States, environmentalist Leah Thomas (@greengirlleah) posted an image to Instagram of text repeating 16 times, “Environmentalists for Black Lives Matter.” In the post, she introduced a concept she calls “intersectional environmentalism,” defining it there as: Read More
Just before the official lockdown was announced in Scotland, I moved all of my office plants home. There was no space for them in my room, but I rearranged my furniture to accommodate my office plants since they had been my closest companions during the crisis. There are numerous platforms, including Vogue and Independent, which have written about the positive effect houseplants have had on people during the lockdown, including their positive contribution to our mental health. Yet there are fewer platforms that have written about the effect the lockdown has had on houseplants left in apartments and offices, and even the ones that do, stress the importance of people’s wellbeing rather than the wellbeing of plants. For example, The Guardian quotes Hugo Meunier, a founder of the company in Paris that is rescuing plants, as saying: Read More
By Rita Brara
A mask does not exist in isolation; it presupposes other real or potential masks by its side, masks that might have been chosen in its stead and substituted for it.
-Claude Levi-Strauss, The Way of the Masks
An overwhelming sense of uncertainty fogs the Covid-19 pandemic and cityscapes in India as elsewhere in a planetary reminder of our common environment. Our uncertainties are multi-faceted—personal, practical, and social—but resonate in the insistence that we consider science-based inputs and the accompanying masked and unmasked claims regularly (if not 24/7). As people, cognizing claims that are evolving, we come to inhabit and re-inhabit our masking contexts and practices while embodying the realization that there is no masking our inequities. Read More
The Covid-19 pandemic has posed a grave challenge, with countries around the world struggling to control its spread. The easiest and most viable solution to reducing the rate of infection has been to impose a total lockdown. India is no exception. Here, too, the government announced a complete lockdown understanding the indispensability of taking such a step. The country was already struggling to recover from an economic slowdown, with the lockdown dealing a further blow, but central and state governments were left with hardly any other options. The rules of lockdown have been wholeheartedly followed by the urban middle class. Social distancing has become the buzzword for facing up to the novel virus contagion. The educated middle class has been upbeat in supporting state regulations. They have been proudly sharing photographs of working from home on social media. Yet significant amounts of industrial workers and daily wage earners in densely populated cities have reacted differently. They depended on their daily earnings, which have come to a complete halt as a result of the lockdown. The affluent and middle classes have stopped allowing them entry into their houses and apartments because of the notion they live in unhygienic conditions. And, indeed, they live in difficult conditions in shanties with the bare minimum of facilities. Read More
By Paula Ungar
I spend the quarantine days in my old, quiet apartment. From the window, I can see the shape of the Andean mountains that embrace the Eastern part of Bogotá. Groups of little houses are embroidered into that mountainside, like honeycombs, forming one of the numerous self-built quarters in this city inhabited by seven-million. Read More
A virus has put the world on hold. Many individual human actions suddenly appear extremely small and insignificant in comparison with the unyielding might and relentless spread with which the SARS-CoV-2 virus is presently conquering Earth. We are witnessing how the virus does not distinguish between human hosts and how all societies struggle with the challenges of containing and managing the coronavirus. Read More
Zoonosis. This is one of the strange words that the onset of the coronavirus has forced us to learn. Zoonosis is a transitive infection, a virus that passes from animals to human beings. Or rather: it passes to our species from other animal species, recalling that human and nonhuman animals share an entire biological kingdom and that our bodies’ cells speak languages that are not all that dissimilar. That which affects “them” can affect us, a fact which testifies to an all-too-often forgotten kinship of destinies and origins. Read More
Once the coronavirus pandemic is over, we will wake up to a new society. Before everything gets better, however, everything will get worse—for a long time yet. We are faced with frightening images and stories of suffering in refugee camps, ill-equipped hospitals in poor countries, and the suffering of so many people across Europe.
Ever since the coronavirus migrated from China’s “wet market” from animals to humans, we have gained daily insights into how the social body works. Does the pandemic offer us new opportunities, or will it lead to “a deafening silence—one that stops all rational thought”? Read More