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Down To Earth is India's No.1 environment and science fortnightly magazine that gives you the A-Z of the environment. It is authentic, authoritative and. Title: Down to earth: politics in the new climatic regime I Bruno Latour. Other titles : O?u atterrir? English. Description: English edition. I Cambridge, UK ; Medford. As you all know Current Affairs along with Monthly Magazines are very important for UPSC Exam. Below is the link to download Down to Earth.

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Pearson Language: Published in: But those are exactly the reasons why I can be so confident about the representation 45 46 of non-humans. Sunita Narain a leading Indian environmentalist and director general of the Centre for Science and Environment is editor of this fortnightly magazine. Down To Earth ….

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Heat wave: Phenomenon, predictions and precautions April 15, General Elections General Elections: All you need to know to be an environmentally informed voter April 15, Court digest: Major environment hearings in March April 10, Latour discusses the need rR 27 for breaking with the modernist framework that set the stage for the environmental crisis in 28 the first place, and which has also hindered the capacity of social movements to affect the 29 situation.

Latour argues that only a new body politic inclusive of non-humans and a new ev 30 geosocial politics attuned to Gaia will open up the possibility for sustaining life on our 31 severely damaged planet. Bruno Latour, environmentalism, Gaia, diplomacy, climate change 35 36 37 On 38 39 40 41 ly 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 1 59 60 URL: Early on in 10 11 12 his career, when his research focused on scientific laboratories, Latour developed actor- 13 14 network theory ANT , an approach that privileged relations among agents over an atomized 15 16 focus on the subject, and contributed a foundational perspective to science and technology Fo 17 18 studies.

His work has evolved since then, with a sustained critique of modernity that has 19 rP 20 gained traction especially relevant to social movements in his current focus on the 21 22 environmental crisis.

His critique of the division between subjective and objective renderings 23 ee 24 25 of reality, his insistence on incorporating non-human agents to our understanding of the 26 rR 27 relationships that make up our world and its dynamics, his rejection of the reifying or 28 29 reductionist observations that evolve from subjection to dominant theories, incite a ev 30 31 reconsideration of social movements, both as entities and in the ways in which we examine 32 iew 33 them as social scientists. Politics in the new Climate Regime , which call for 41 ly 42 recognition of the grounded, territorialized reality of our existence on Earth.

In this 43 44 perspective, neither the abstraction of globalizing approaches nor the overly localizing focus 45 46 of burgeoning nationalist isolationisms and ethnocentrisms will support an effective response 47 48 to the environmental crisis in which we live.

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At the heart of our conversation is the possibility 49 50 51 for developing a new politics that responds to the pressing climate crisis outside the 52 53 modernist framework that underlies the institutions, mechanisms, and processes that produce 54 55 environmental degradation in the first place. Latour argues that any effort to sustain life in the 56 57 58 2 59 60 URL: His approach rejects the compartmentalization of disciplines and 6 7 the use of tools that obscure rather than facilitate the understanding and collaboration among 8 9 human and non-human agents necessary tio survival.

As Latour argues, non-human agents 10 11 12 must be included in an expanded notion of the demos that encompasses the complex 13 14 networks of relations that sustain life on Earth, as perceived through actor-network theory 15 16 and assemblage approaches. After 26 rR 27 disassembling the notion of the social and interrogating the concept of movement, Latour 28 29 proposes a politics that moves individuals into active engagement and dialogue, not driven by ev 30 31 ideology but by interactive action and participation itself.

According to his perspective, 32 iew 33 achieving a politics inclusive of non-human agents, which will allow us to transcend the 34 35 modernist framework and ground us in life sustaining existence, requires first recognizing 36 37 that we are in a Hobbesian state of war. Ours is an increasingly dire situation of scarcity and On 38 39 40 struggle over resources that threatens future generations. No existing political institution will 41 ly 42 survive the environmental crisis.

In 49 50 51 this context, neither politics nor society, but rather a new geosocial dynamic will be 52 53 comprised from new ways of living and struggling on a damaged planet.

In Facing Gaia Latour, you speak of our political, epistemological, and ethical 6 7 unpreparedness to face the challenge of the New Climate Regime. Your work insightfully 8 9 reveals the assumptions, subterfuges, and actors that contribute to this lack of preparation — to 10 11 12 the immobility, or panic, that prevents us from building a new and timely relation to the 13 14 world. This approach is Fo 17 18 especially interesting because it challenges some of the strategies and premises of mainstream 19 rP 20 environmentalism, a widely studied social movement.

You are critical of its modernism, that 21 22 is, of its tendency to sublimate nature and consecrate science even as it reinforces a division 23 ee 24 25 between science and politics that, as you say, leads us to a state of inaction. What would it 26 rR 27 take, in your opinion, to rethink environmentalism through engagement with Gaia and the 28 29 territorialization that you advocate? Since the time of Politics of Nature Latour, I have always admired 34 35 environmentalists for the ways in which they have multiplied the issues to be tackled, but I 36 37 have also criticized the general representation they provide of their many useful fights.

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The On 38 39 40 difference between the environmental movement and the history of social movements is so 41 ly 42 striking. From the midth century to the midth century, socialists as well as communists 43 44 have tried to rethink the entirety of Western philosophy to frame fights against inequalities 45 46 and injustice. It is true that they had Hegel to help them frame the whole circus!

The work of 47 48 political ecology was never developed to that extent. They have swallowed hook, line, and 49 50 51 sinker the perverse notion of nature — especially its exteriority to politics — the notion of the 52 53 global, and the whole ideal of objective science, in a way that has ensured that social 54 55 movements and ecological movements remain separate.

Nature has indeed remained distinct 56 57 58 4 59 60 URL: I agree that it was easier to frame social movements rather than the ecological 6 7 movement, especially for people in the West, but still, the work of rethinking nature and 8 9 science should have been carried out.

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It was not. The notion of the state of nature as something that society must transcend through a 15 16 social contract is, as you contend, one of the ways in which we have tried, and failed, to Fo 17 18 escape the earth. What you propose is the opposite of that move: In that context, could you address why nature is 23 ee 24 25 entrenched in Western philosophy?

There are many reasons for such an entrenchment, one is of course the way science ev 30 31 has framed itself as being outside of politics entirely. Being a social, moral, and virtuous citizen in a contractual state requires breaking away 36 37 from the state of nature. In 41 ly 42 addition, the Hobbesian state is defined by a contract but not by any attachment or delineation 43 44 to a specific soil, land or place. It could move anywhere without being modified in the least.

That too does not help. But the 10 11 12 land of old is in no way the Earth of ecologists and activists. It is the old utopian site of the 13 14 nation-state and ethnic communities —in Poland, Hungary, France, Italy, as well as in the 15 16 England of Brexit or the Trumpian US. Speaking of social movements, here we have too Fo 17 18 many!

People are energetic and active indeed, but to returns as fast as possible to the lands of 19 rP 20 their imagined past! So the only solution is to re-describe, rethink, re-localize, and 21 22 reterritorialize the notion of land.

What constitutes a territory to which people are attached 23 ee 24 25 and which they are ready to defend? And not an external nature, but the territory under their 26 rR 27 feet. The left has not been well prepared for this. Attachment to land, turf, territory, and soil 28 29 has always been perceived as reactionary by the modernizing Left; hence its total ev 30 31 unpreparedness to counteract the new flight to Lands of Old —or indeed, the new discovery 32 iew 33 of an earthly abode.

We wonder whether it would be possible to harness the energy underlying this On 38 39 40 regressive sort of mobilization we are witnessing to this grounded idea of "the land" which 41 ly 42 you describe as neither local nor global, and which enables territorialization Latour, a.

The Dakota Access Pipeline protests also come to mind. Both of 49 50 51 those movements are connected to territory in a way analogous to what you describe. What 52 53 do you think? The same goes for North America.

Western political Fo 17 18 philosophy was largely indifferent to land because it was occupying that of others! So it is no 19 rP 20 surprise that many of the examples that come to mind are American ones. We perceive the Gaia you describe as an interweaving of relations. Its interdependent 26 rR 27 layers include overlapping and nested social worlds composed of plants, animals, and non- 28 29 living agents. Recognizing Gaia as a multifaceted agent challenges the boundaries of what we ev 30 31 have understood to be the realm of political interaction and negotiation until now.

However, unlike parliaments familiar to us, this one does not demarcate interior 47 48 and exterior. Within it, everyone participates on an equal footing. What led you to erase these 49 50 51 boundaries that characterize political institutions while holding on to the notion of 52 53 representation? First, the key move is to bring non-humans into politics instead of leaving them 4 5 outside in the environment, or in nature.

I developed with my colleagues an alternative description of 8 9 scientific practice which brought non-human agents to the center in the making of scientific 10 11 12 objectivity.

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But not as the silent, silly, obdurate objects of most scientific descriptions, just 13 14 waiting to be known, but as full co-participants in the act of doing science. From this, the 15 16 step to the second move was small: Scientists and engineers are engaged in Fo 17 18 complex controversies around the behavior, legitimacy, action, and reactions of non-human 19 rP 20 agents.

The last step was to realize — and 28 29 this was done in Making Things Public Latour and Weibel — that politics, republican, ev 30 31 radical, progressive, reformist or whatever, has always been object-oriented and has always 32 iew 33 turned around the question of providing arenas, voices, and rules for the imbroglio of humans 34 35 and non-humans.

So I have never tried to extend politics to science or to ecology, but exactly 36 37 the opposite: I have shown how, by following those who make non-humans speak, we could On 38 39 40 rely upon what politics has always been. We, the 54 55 Westerners, are immersed in a process of learning or relearning all those other solutions we 56 57 58 8 59 60 URL: In this situation, all collectives are 10 11 12 lost in the new world and grasping at any scrap of forms, laws and institutions to figure out 13 14 how to survive.

Fo 17 18 19 rP 20 MMR: So, in this context, how do you perceive the relationship of representation between 21 22 non-humans and those who speak for them? Who is it that makes non-humans speak?

Is it 23 ee 24 25 scientists, politicians, artists, or all of them? Given that scientists rely on the financial support 26 rR 27 of government institutions and non-governmental foundations and organizations, they are, in 28 29 a sense, beholden to those sources. On the other hand, politicians are beholden to their ev 30 31 funders, to their constituencies, and to the power hierarchy within which they circulate.

But 34 35 none of these count as constituents. What types of exchanges characterize the relationship of 36 37 representation and support? But those are exactly the reasons why I can be so confident about the representation 45 46 of non-humans. As you rightly say it is exactly that uncertainty about the faithfulness, the 47 48 directness, the reliability of the representatives that you find in science, in politics, but just as 49 50 51 well in contact with the divinities.

Although your work builds on familiar political norms and institutions, the Fo 17 18 recognition of Gaia as an all-encompassing political agent, and the call for territorialization 19 rP 20 also seems to open the way for a new political theory, one that transcends inherited notions of 21 22 democracy such as the division of power, checks and balances, and traditional ways of 23 ee 24 25 distributing constituencies among representatives.

In this context, what types of political 26 rR 27 imaginaries do you envision might go beyond the classic institutions of Western modernity?

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The situation of ethno-politics and the middle ground is entirely redefined if we are 32 iew 33 facing Gaia. This is why I insist so much on the discovery that Gaia is not Nature, and has 34 35 nothing to do with the Globe of the modernist cartographic imaginary. Readers are very 36 37 surprised that I mix science, theology, art and anthropology to talk of Gaia.

They forget 41 ly 42 that when nature, the modernist one, was invented in the 17th century, a similar work of 43 44 theology, art, science, politics and economy had to be carried out to obtain the modernist 45 46 cosmology of Galilean objects in the infinite universe.

There is nothing especially natural and 47 48 commonsensical in this. That is exactly the cosmology that environmentalists did not 49 50 51 deconstruct in time for the irruption of the New Climatic Regime I discussed earlier. We are back 4 5 to the middle ground where all sorts of destroyed nations are fumbling in the dark about what 6 7 constitutes a people, a ground, a cosmos, and a god. The situation is now similar to this Fo 17 18 common uncertainty, the one I try to imagine very clumsily in Facing Gaia: Which people, 19 rP 20 which gods, which territory, which cosmos is facing Gaia?

It is no longer a question 23 ee 24 25 of social movements, it is rather an encounter between ravaged people, each trying to find 26 rR 27 some sort of definition by meeting — peacefully or violently — with others. In On 38 39 40 other words, these coureurs and it would be fascinating to think about who would be the 41 ly 42 coureurs now were intermediaries that eventually melded into the world that they initially 43 44 encountered as external or other to their own.

So, are we really facing Gaia and becoming 45 46 conscious of this, or are we already immersed? And, if the latter, then is the work at hand less 47 48 about representing and more about figuring out how to communicate and survive, perhaps 49 50 51 also through a kind of creative misunderstanding?

It is this 19 rP 20 situation that I now draw upon to compare with our situation of Facing Gaia: What counts is the symmetry 28 29 between weakened players, and the intrusion of a third party: Facing Gaia takes up a Hobbesian perspective on our present state, which underlines 34 35 the urgency of the situation, and the possibility that we may be coming upon a sea change in 36 37 political organization.

A politics of conflict the only politics that deserves that name for 45 46 Schmitt is therefore a necessary step towards the establishment of a new consensus through 47 48 diplomacy.

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In short, we must admit having enemies before reaching peace. This raises two 49 50 51 questions for us: First, we are interested in the transitional space between the state of war and 52 53 a renewed peaceful democracy. What do you think happens in this interval that enables the 54 55 shift?

What actors are able to participate and may be invited to join as political agents? Depending on how you interpret it, this could 10 11 12 be an argument for an agonistic politics along the lines of Chantal Mouffe, or rather the 13 14 opposite: Can you elaborate on this? That would be a 19 rP 20 religious ideal, that of Isaiah The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, 23 ee 24 25 and a little child will lead them all.

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This being said, it is very difficult, as you point out, to have agonistic politics in ev 30 31 ecology. By swallowing the peaceful notion of nature, ecology has 32 iew 33 never been able to trigger politics, precisely because the turn to a notion of nature that is 34 35 external and known objectively by science, that is, epistemologically understood, was 36 37 supposed to provide a peaceful horizon of agreement. Thus a declaration of war is better 41 ly 42 than the constant hope that nature as external and objectively known will bring agreement 43 44 among all warring parties.

The dispute on the truth of climate mutation would make this 45 46 argument ridiculous anyway, even if I had not criticized it. Facts divide. Once again if I had not 6 7 used Schmitt, Donald Trump would have made the point for me by reneging on the Paris 8 9 agreement and isolating the US behind a wall. Now you are right that there is a moment that links the time of war with that of 15 16 diplomacy, but as far as I know we are not yet there, we are rather in a situation where Fo 17 18 undeclared war makes the articulation of real conflicts impossible.

This is especially true of 19 rP 20 the unfortunate climate scientists who are not authorized to say that they are at war with the 21 22 climate-negationists who trash them every day. So my solution, admittedly a dangerous one, 23 ee 24 25 is to say: The notion of Gaia is not incompatible with your description of the critical zone, 32 iew 33 which facilitates territorializing our existence. This grounding involves recognizing the 34 35 falsity of modernist abstractions including the idea of the global, or its counterpart, the local.