Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

Love Hurts: Ecopedagogy between Avatars and Elegies

Academic journal article Teacher Education Quarterly

Love Hurts: Ecopedagogy between Avatars and Elegies

Article excerpt

In a true fairy tale everything must be marvelous ... everything must be animated. Each in its different way. The whole of nature must be mixed in a strange way with the whole of the spirit world. Time of general anarchy--lawlessness--freedom--the natural state of nature--the time before the world (state). This time before the world brings with it as it were the scattered features of the time after the world--as the state of nature is a strange picture of the eternal kingdom. The world of the fairy tale is the absolutely opposite world to the world of truth (history)--and just for this reason it is so absolutely similar to it--as chaos is to accomplished creation. (On the idyll).

In the future world everything is as it is in the former--and yet everything is quite different. The future world is reasonable chaos--chaos which penetrated itself--is inside and outside itself--chaos squared or infinity.

The true fairy tale must be at once a prophetic representation--an ideal representation--an absolutely necessary representation. The maker of true fairy tales is a prophet of the future.

... In time history must become a fairy tale--it will become again what it was in the beginning.

--Novalis (1997)

I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amorfati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.

--Nietzsche (1976)

It is hard to know where to turn in an age increasingly constituted by sociological no exit and ecological endgame. To today's globalization of highly integrated quasi-fascist administrative complexes, those of us interested in working for an ecopedagogy for sustainability must attempt to imagine orders of planetary community. Yet, such community has not fully arrived in the concrete, and so we must look critically to alternative ideas and practices as possibly anticipatory of a qualitatively different form of society. The critical dimension is crucial to this work--for, since current ideas and practices are anticipatory at best of a more sustainable world, it means that they take place within limit situations that must themselves be named, reflected upon, and acted against in order to articulate and re-affirm contemporary liberatory tendencies.

Clearly, a major imaginary at work in sustainability politics is that of "rootedness," which is often connected to vernacular, local, or place-based movements for revitalization of the public sphere and/or commons. On the other hand, since we have moved beyond a moment in which local struggle can be thought as developing free from transnational capitalist (as well as other powerful global) forces, we must engage with multiple visions of alter-globalization as a kind of rosetta stone for the kind of planetary community which we seek. The dialectical tension between these two corollary valences is often captured by "local/global" cosmovisions, the most radical of which may correspond to what Wolfgang Sachs (1992) coined as "cosmopolitan localism" (112), Homi Bhabha (2001) termed "vernacular cosmopolitanism," or Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (2003) simply identified as "planetarity." In my book, Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy, and Planetary Crisis (2010), I provided critical analysis of the emancipatory sustainability work of the Shundahai Network in the occupied territory of the Western Shoshone people (what is now called "the Nevada Test Site") as a potential example of what such planetarity looks like in practice. While perhaps not the only way to interpret the Network's praxis, I further argued that Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's concept of the "multitude" (2004) provides a fertile imaginative ground from which to understand the way groups such as Shundahai manifest as planetarity in place. …

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