Book Review

Ghosts and Monsters in the Anthropocene

By Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing,


Heather Anne Swanson, (Editor),

Elaine Gan, (Editor),

Nils Bubandt(Editor)

Living on a damaged planet challenges who we are and where we live. This timely anthology calls on twenty eminent humanists and scientists to revitalize curiosity, observation, and transdisciplinary conversation about life on earth.

As human-induced environmental change threatens multispecies livability, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet puts forward a bold proposal: entangled histories, situated narratives, and thick descriptions offer urgent “arts of living.” Included are essays by scholars in anthropology, ecology, science studies, art, literature, and bioinformatics who posit critical and creative tools for collaborative survival in a more-than-human Anthropocene. The essays are organized around two key figures that also serve as the publication’s two openings: Ghosts, or landscapes haunted by the violences of modernity; and Monsters, or interspecies and intraspecies sociality. Ghosts and Monsters are tentacular, windy, and arboreal arts that invite readers to encounter ants, lichen, rocks, electrons, flying foxes, salmon, chestnut trees, mud volcanoes, border zones, graves, radioactive waste—in short, the wonders and terrors of an unintended epoch.

A New Green Deal for America

By Bob Andrews

A recent special report from the International Panel on Climate Change ( IPCC), followed by a report from our federal government, has grabbed the attention of the mainstream media by spelling out unflinchingly the horrendous impacts of climate change which are already in store for the planet and the very short time we have before it becomes even more destructive and irreversible.

The facts are very frightening for those paying attention. It is especially scary when we look at this grim climate news within the context of a U.S. government in a state of unproductive chaos, with a President who claims that climate change is a Chinese hoax and is orchestrating the undoing of environmental protections.

What is still missing in the mainstream media coverage is any significant attention to proposed solutions to the climate crisis on a scale, or within a time frame, that would make the planet’s future a genuinely more hopeful one. Until very recently it could have been argued that there were no such proposed solutions. Now, however, a new proposal, called a “Green New Deal” has found its’ way into the United States House of Representatives. 

In the 1930s, the U.S. went through a “Great Depression.” The economy was in drastic free fall. Under President Franklin Roosevelt a series of programs, called the “New Deal,”  was put into action to put the country back on its feet. The government took a strong hand with the economy, putting large numbers of unemployed and impoverished people to work repairing old infrastructures and building new ones. The agricultural and industrial sectors were massively subsidized.

This is the kind of proposal now put forward as the “Green New Deal.” Newly seated  New York Representative to Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, drafted a proposal for it during her  successful campaign and has continued to push for it since being sworn in in January. The plan  is complex; and evolving. A central goal is to completely phase out fossil fuels and transition to alternative energy within ten years. The scale of this effort would create basically enough jobs for anyone who wanted one. It also calls for large scale initiatives to rebuild our natural environment and sequester carbon in the earth, as large numbers of unemployed people and youth would be put to work rebuilding our economy. 

As of now, 45 members of the House of Representatives  have signed on as sponsors of potential Green New Deal legislation. The proposal has been embraced by a growing army of  young climate activists called the Sunrise Movement, which will be advocating for it during the months ahead.

ConcordCAN urges you to research the Green New Deal online; get behind it; and tell our Representatives in Congress that you want them to move it forward. Let Nancy Pelosi know.  We know that this plan has emerged overnight; but the movement to make it  happen cannot begin too soon!. The world’s scientists have told us that we only have 10-12 years before it will be too late to do anything effective.  The Green New Deal may be just what we need to secure a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. Visit the ConcordCAN website Get Involved Page for more information and ways to get involved.

Bob Andrews is a Concord resident and a member of the ConcordCAN Steering Group.

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