The question of LAND.
What do climate emergencies, Covid-19 & racism have in common? The crises we are living through are interconnected, the prevalent political/economic models and dominant western mentalities have been shaping the planet and the relations between humans and nature for hundreds of years. They are at the root of the worlds crises and have fuelled a model of planetary urbanisation of relentless transformation based on the extraction, depletion and plunder of LAND and the humans and non-humans that inhabit them.
From slavery plantations that fuelled the industrial revolution at the root of racism, to deforestation by industrial agribusiness that exacerbates zoonosis, the virus transfer from animals to humans due to habitat loss, the question of LAND and its exploitation is core to the origins of current crises and the spatial/material transformations of the planet. This lecture series will bring some of the voices within and outside the design profession that can help us shed light on these crises, their interconnection, injustices and how the question of land is woven through all them.
This lecture proposes that the Global North’s response to COVID-19 and the climate crisis reveals a new form of capitalism in the making: capitalist catastrophism. The lecture explains this concept, why the “green capitalism” of Labour’s Green New Deal and the Conservative’s Green Industrial Revolution are not enough to avert ecological breakdown, and why the issue of who owns the land, how they own it, and for what ends ought to be at the centre of strugglesfor ecological and social justice in the UK and beyond.
Kai Heron is a casualized academic based in Manchester, UK. He is an editor at ROAR Magazine and lectures at The University of Manchester. He maintains research interests in political theory, political ecology, psychoanalysis and political economy.