Tatik’s letters to Prof. Loitik – Part 5: Nico lies, eco lies and the eco outsider!
Published 27th October 2009 - 4 comments - 1376 views -
Copenhagen, October 2009
I am so so sad. You will never believe it...I waited for Nicolau in front of Tivoli Park for over an hour and he did not show up. He stood me up, professor! I decided to take a walk by the river and as I walked past Christiania, guess what? I saw Nicolau, professor, kissing another girl, a very pretty blond girl. He was drinking beer and smoking cigarettes with her, can you believe it? I was totally distraught...
So, I decided to go into a bar and drink away my sadness, just like I see the natives here do. At the bar, I finally met a scientist! Yes. Although, I must say, he was a different kind of scientist, a so called social scientist. He is not rich, he told me straight away, he is a civil servant working for the Social Welfare Department with illegal immigrants and domestic violence. He was also getting drunk at the bar, so we got talking and it turned out to be most interesting, because he helped me see the interests behind the rise of the eco society. Oh, it’s terrible, I feel so confused right now.
He told me, professor, that the eco society has come to defend the interests of scientists (the regular ones, whom I am yet to meet…) and eco businessmen, consequently, of governments and NGO’s. According to him, it all started because world capitalism was undergoing a crisis. Economic growth was stagnating here in the civilized world, because people with money already had everything they needed and were not consuming much anymore. They might have tried to fight for social justice at an international level, fomenting economic development and world citizenship rights, so that everyone would have what only that priviledged group used to have, but instead they decided to invent new aspirations for the wealthy: new products and technologies. The rhetoric of the climate change scientists was appealing, the business men and their marketing executives picked up on it and it worked! Sustainability has renewed the globalized market and created new ones.
It’s true that Jon (that’s the name of this social scientist) was drunk, but he said things that made sense to me. He said, “Look how many new bicycles are in the streets! And solar powered helmets and PVC recycled attachments and organic rucksacks, this and that. Look at all these new cars, smaller cars, run on natural gas, on solar power, on sunflower oil, on fair trade grape oil, whatever. Everyone had to buy things all over again. It is all that this society knows how to do – buy, buy and buy. If you don’t buy, you die here. When they had everything and shopping tedium took over, they had to find new things to buy and this ecological branding served this purpose.” Scary talk, no?
He continued, “And if that was not enough, they decided they also had to sell all this stuff to the rest of the world. This society is not happy until the whole world is exactly like it is! It’s main characteristic is its expansionism, it’s not enough that they be a particular way, EVERYONE has to be the same! They wanted other countries to go eco, so that they would also buy the new technologies, hire their scientists to lecture for them…it’s disgusting!”
It was really weird to hear someone talking about the eco society from such a harsh perspective, when up until yesterday it all seemed so rosy. I learned how important it is for researchers to always talk to different kinds of people during fieldwork. I guess I’d spent too much time with the people from the COP 15 preparations. As the waiter poured another beer for us, I started to realize that everyone I’d met so far works in the fight against climate change: the people at the preparatory conferences, managers, assistants and their secretaries, caterers, video makers, drivers, hotel people, everyone was gaining money from climate change. Nicolau himself reports on climate change, it’s his job! I guess one of the things about climate change is that it really generates a lot of jobs.
I asked Jon, “If what you say is true, is there no opposition to climate change?” He smiled bitterly. “Opposition, opposition…I am the opposition, look at me: an old and tired man. People are scared of me, Tatik, nobody talks to me, I lost all of my friends…” He continued, “It is a beaten war, my friend, they are getting all the Nobel Prizes and we have become hated like holocaust deniers. All I wanted was social justice, my friend, and here I am now. I am an eco outsider…alongside coal producers, airplane pilots and meat eaters.” At that point, professor, a tear rolled down his face - it was really sad to see...
As you can imagine, things all got confused in my head. I already had all this pain inside me from Nicolau’s betrayal and now hearing this totally new perspective on climate change and the eco society. It made me feel like I'd been under a spell. Like Eco is a mermaid’s chant and it was about to seduce me, professor. I might have lost my voice, my purpose, my research focus! Do you think eco lies, like Nico lies? Do you think that this is not an utopia!?
Please help, professor. I think I am suffering the fieldwork blues!
To find out more about Tatik and read all of Tatik's letters to Prof. Loitik, clique here.
Art by Michala Brincker - www.art4fun.dk "Copenhaguen - The Mermaid City - Welcome"
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