Friday, April 22, 2016

Overcoming determinism

In retrospect, social democracy’s greatest achievement was not that it managed to strike an appropriate balance between equality and economic growth but that it realized that greater equality, made possible through broad social investments, was in fact the key to sustained economic growth. Similarly, ecomodernism is not so much about finding some ideal balance between environmental protection and material well-being, that golden ratio often referred to as “sustainable development”, but rather about highlighting that only through rapidly accelerating global growth, essentially a renewed modernity, will it be possible to harness the technologies necessary to safely navigate the Anthropocene and restore the natural world.


With William soundly asleep on the other side of the window, I type these words into my word processor. This is my third day of official Swedish parental leave and I know that my time is measured. Reading Bronislaw Szerszynski’s latest trashing of ecomodernism in Environmental Humanities has left me unusually sad and frustrated. I try to tell myself that this is no different from in the past, that it was no easier for Eduard Bernstein or anyone else who has ever tried to challenge Marxist dogma and determinism. I wonder what, if anything, it would take to make people like Szerszynski come around and realize that violence and exploitation are not “structural” or that “winners” do not necessitate “losers”?

Saturday, April 02, 2016


This winter has been one of extremes as we have struggled to find a sleeping pattern that fits both William and Eddie. Living in a small apartment, the kids tend to wake each other up, leaving me with little other choice than taking William out for long walks so that Eddie can still go to the preschool in the morning.

Despite many attempts to delay his evenings, William keeps falling asleep around 5.30 pm and waking up, seemingly refreshed, ten hours later at 03.30 am. As a consequence, that is when I too have to get up and take the stroller out along our little creek. To stay warm during cold winter nights, I tend to pick up a large coffee at Statoil which has resulted in that I now know the staff working there quite well. In light of my previous obsession with collecting air miles and award travel, it is only expected that I have also moved on to collecting free coffee coupons at Statoil (even as I have to admit that it is somewhat less aspirational than flying around the world in premium cabins)…