Note : Une version en français de cet article est disponible sur : English
(Sound of fire)
This is another fireside storytelling episode, this time by a wood stove at our cottage. Thanks for joining me. Pull up a chair…
As I mentioned in episode 106, sometimes, when I get discouraged I like to build a fire, like this, to lift my spirits and to re-energize.
(Sound of fire)
Today’s story is an excerpt from Part 1, Warm Up : Into The Future from Vanessa Andreotti’s Hospicing Modernity book, written by the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective. I first heard this story, in audio form, while driving through a severe snowstorm on January 19th 2022.
(rumble of car)
The road was very slippery. I could hardly see. I probably should have stopped but I was mesmerized by the story and kept driving through the storm, not knowing how my trip or this story might end. I recall that the story inhabited my body and my spirit that day, where it remains. I believe that stories,, including speculative fiction, have that ability to sit with us and guide us through life.
So, this story places you on December 10 2048, one hundred years after the universal declaration of human rights. You are in a 3D virtual reality world conference where people are gathered to decide the direction of education after a period of catastrophic events.
I’ll read you a short excerpt now from the end:
In the period between 2038 and 2047, we finally accepted that we were part of the problem and needed to engage with our painful reality to avoid being wiped out. The Mars colony tragically failed in 2038, destroying our hopes for life on another planet. In 2039, a massive event made us all suddenly recognize the enormous cost of our mistakes. Finally we could see that we were addicted to arrogance, consumption, and unaccountable autonomy. We realized that we needed mass rehabilitation. We grasped the gravity of the fact that we were only three billion people left on the planet. We understood that we had caused the extinction of 70% of all species – and the extinction of all life in entire regions of the earth – and we were extremely close to causing our own. We recognized that planet Earth is alive and we are part of the metabolism, not the center of the world or a special species. We also worked out that humanity is capable of both horrendous and wonderful things. We started to face our own and others’ humanity in all its complexity and be taught by the human wrongs we had inflicted upon each other, upon other beings, and upon the planet.
Then we all had to learn quickly, collectively, and without schools or moral manifestos:
- To heal intellectually, emotionally, collectively, economically, ecologically, and politically;
- To abolish colonial and racial violence, inequality, hierarchies of worth and separations;
- To center the earth and decenter our egos, identities, human narratives, and separations;
- To age and die in generative ways;
- To care for, rather than compete with, everything and everyone;
- To plant, repurpose technology, compost, repair, and regenerate everything;
- To prioritize the common good for humans, non humans, and the planet;
- To use words and conversation carefully and wisely, with humility and maturity;
- To own up, sober up, clean up, grow up, show up, and exist differently.
- What speculative fiction stories inhabit you?
Thanks to the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective for use of the story in this context and to collective member Azul Carolina Duque for her advice.
I am grateful and accountable to the earth and the human labour that provided me with the privilege of producing this episode. (including all the toxic materials and extractive processes behind the computers, recorders, transportation and infrastructure that make this podcast possible).
My gesture of reciprocity for this episode is a donation to the South American Indigenous Network Emergency Fund.
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