How can we cooperate across borders to tackle climate change?

While climate change seems to be intangible, nowhere and everywhere at the same time, it is entangled with everything and everyone. Against this backdrop the Berliner Gazette’s 20th anniversary initiative MORE WORLD stimulates a critical dialogue. The goal is to better understand and grasp climate change through entanglements – and to ultimately explore possibilities to tackle climate change from within its cross-border entanglements, especially with migration and digitalization. How do we have to rethink cooperative practices, if capacities for collective action potentially arise from a planetary web of relays and interdependencies? What cooperative practices can catalyze the interplay between communal, state and global approaches to adapt to climate change? To explore this, we have launched a call for contributions. Read more about it below.

Join the “MORE WORLD” initiative!

Call for Contributions

The BG’s 20th anniversary initiative MORE WORLD asks: How can we cooperate across borders to tackle climate change? Our call for contributions invites you to explore this question together with us. We sense a great urgency now to make all sorts of case studies and small and large examples accessible to the general public. To this end, we have created a special section in our Internet newspaper berlinergazette.de: an open forum to which writers, researchers, activists, artists, journalists and all kinds of other producers of (subjugated) knowledge are invited to contribute reports, essays, interviews, etc. Text length: 10.000 characters. Submission deadline: April 29, 2019. Mail us at info(at)berlinergazette.de.

Here are a few impulses from artists, activists and researchers to warm you up. The intro further below will take you deeper into the issues that we invite you to explore.

Impulse: Abiol Lual Deng


Many responses to climate change go hand in hand with revitalizing the idea that "the West is the universal norm". How can we (in "the West") become attuned to other conversations on global warming and other forms of communal rationality that can guide us out of the climate change crisis? The South Sudanese-American international relations expert and humanitarian policy consultant Abiol Lual Deng is looking for answers. Watch her MORE WORLD video statement above. Read more about her views in this text here.

Impulse: Kat Austen



Facing climate change, we are challenged to question our practice of positioning measurement as the primary mode of knowing the environment: "There is still a struggle over the validity of knowledges derived outside of a specific, quantitative paradigm: embodied knowledge, traditional knowledge, tacit knowledge – these are all important in our human lived experience, and we neglect them at our peril", the artist and researcher Kat Austen says. Read more about her artistic research on ice, climate change and migration at the North Pole in the MORE WORLD interview here.

Impulse: Alex Karschnia


Right-wing populism shuts down access to the world: While complex problems such as climate change are suppressed, the diversity of the social, as it arises in the course of migration, for instance, is suppressed as well. Is that compatible? The Berlin-based performer, author and activist Alexander Karschnia argues that we need to begin anew – with a radical reorientation of politics towards communal practices that emerge from within the planetary web of entanglements that we call climate change. Watch his MORE WORLD video statement above.

Impulse: Avery F. Gordon



Celebrating its 20th year, the Berliner Gazette launched the MORE WORLD initiative on January 24th, 2019 with a talk by Avery F. Gordon, one of the most influential interdisciplinary scholars of the humanities and social sciences in recent years. The talk was about Gordon's latest project “The Hawthorn Archive”, an indispensable source for anyone interested in building cooperative tools for planetary challenges. Read more about Gordon's contribution to MORE WORLD in this interview here.

Intro

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In an introductory essay, Berliner Gazette founding editor Krystian Woznicki describes the ideas of the MORE WORLD initiative and presents the questions to which we wish to invite readers to contribute. Here we present an excerpt. So, stay here and read on.

1

Today, climate change is one of the most pressing planetary challenges. It appears to be something that surrounds, envelops and entangles us, but it is literally too large to be seen and understood in its entirety. While climate change seems to be intangible, nowhere and everywhere at the same time, it is linked to everything and everyone, not least to migration and digitalization. The millions of people who are fleeing their homes in the Global South are ever more often on the run due to climate change and related disasters. Research has also provided initial insight into how global warming may already influence armed conflict.

So, increasingly, mass movements of migrants and refugees are fleeing their devastated homes and destroyed life-worlds also because of wars breaking out due to climate change, such as in the Syrian conflict. There is more to come. And we must prepare ourselves for further entanglements. We also need to take notice of further interdependencies, which are becoming more complex and dynamic, for example, in the wake of digitalization.

2

Digitalization is an ongoing worldwide process, including the expansion of cloud infrastructure: the installation of fiber optic cables, the erection of data centers and server farms, etc. This infrastructure has a geopolitical dimension that is rarely discussed, which materializes itself at border controls, in immigration decisions or drone attacks, and is also linked to global warming. The political geography of cloud infrastructure transcends the sovereignty of nation-states and apparently also suspends the responsibility of nation-states for the influence of cloud infrastructure on global warming. Meanwhile, higher temperatures cause stress for cloud infrastructure, while an incessant increase in ‘cloud activities’ leads to higher temperatures through the rising heat of server farms, etc.

3

In the midst of the environmental infrastructure crisis, political spaces are emerging in which civil and human rights are muddled and seem to be criss-crossed. The people most affected by this, are those who wish to assert their right to freedom of movement. Thus, migration is becoming a ‘risk game’ in which markets and states that want to benefit from the ‘mobile workforce’ shift the risk solely to those who are among the most vulnerable in this ‘game’: refugees, asylum seekers, paperless and stateless persons, etc.

4

How can we find ways to make heavier the apparent ‘lightness’ of cloud infrastructure that accelerates climate change and passes judgment on people’s lives? How can cloud infrastructure be appropriated by existing networks of solidarity? How can cloud infrastructure be undermined and replaced by alternative communal structures that, last but not least, can also support vulnerable people on the move? What kind of cooperative practices and tools are useful for the interplay between communal, state and global approaches to the planetary challenges at hand?

These are far-reaching questions. But somehow we need to get started. If we want to meet the complexities of globalization at the height of their current development, we must first recognize that climate change, migration and digitalization are interlinked geopolitical complexes that can only be managed appropriately if tackled by an interplay of communal, state and global organizational structures. But this is easier said than done. After all, escapism abounds.

5

In the course of widespread escapism (e.g. "climate change does not exist!" or "we need to tighten our border controls!"), access to the world is shrinking. That is, not only does access to the world as it is disappear, but also to the world as it could be.

World shrinkage has two interconnected dimensions. Firstly, complex problems such as climate change are suppressed. Secondly, the diversity of the social, as it also arises in the course of migration, is suppressed. Everything is supposed to become clear and easily manageable – can that go well? That’s highly doubtful. After all, the problematic complexities at hand are brought about by the diversity of the social and vice versa. This said, complex problems cannot be overcome without the potential of social diversity. Therefore, it is vital to create more access to the We, which always also means creating more access to the world – and vice versa.

This text is excerpted from Krystian Woznicki's introduction essay. You can read the entire text in German on Berliner Gazette. The complete English version is made available by our media partners: Mediapart in France, openDemocracy in England, transversal in Austria. Publications in Belarus, Japan, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and USA are forthcoming [links available soon]. Feel free to re-publish or translate the text (CC-BY-4.0).

Workshops

BG Annual Conference



The MORE WORLD project will culminate in the BG annual conference, which will take place at the Center for Arts and Urbanistics (ZK/U) on Oct. 10-12, 2019. Save the date! To investigate the complexities of climate change, the BG will create a three-day program, including lectures, workshops and performances. More than 500 people in total are expected to attend the events. The workshops – arguably the heart of the conference – will bring together activists, researchers and cultural workers from more than 20 countries. The BG will invite key actors to form the core of the workshops, and will issue a call for the general public to register. You'll learn about it on this site in the spring.

Cooperation



To tackle the key issues of the BG annual conference, five parallel workshop tracks will offer five different approaches to communal practices dealing with climate change. The workshop groups will communicate before the conference in order to flesh out the workshop design collaboratively. Led by experienced group leaders, participants will be invited to come up with possible answers to the questions raised by the MORE WORLD initiative. The results will be made available as online resources via berlinergazette.de: they may include position papers, multimedia storytelling projects and collections of ideas. Check the workshop results from the previous BG annual conference and find photos from the workshops here.

Registration



The call for registration will be issued in April. It will target (up-and-coming) hackers, journalists, activists and researchers. A limited number of participants will be able to register by contacting the following email: info(at)berlinergazette.de. Deadline to be announced soon. Please note: As the five workshops will be running in parallel, everyone will be invited to commit to a single track. On October 10 and 11, the workshops will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On October 12 the workshop groups will present their results to the general public. The conference hosts will provide catering throughout the entire conference, including a warm lunch.

Information

The Berliner Gazette (BG) is a nonprofit and nonpartisan team of journalists, researchers, artists and coders. We experiment with and analyze emerging cultural as well as political practices. Since 1999 we have been publishing berlinergazette.de under a Creative Commons License – with more than 1,000 contributors from all over the world – as well as organizing conferences and editing books.

About BG

Latest BG projects include 2018: Ambient Revolts – BG con | 2017: Signals – Exhibition | A Field Guide to the Snowden Files – Book | Friendly Fire – BG con | 2016: Tacit Futures – BG con | 2015: UN|COMMONS – BG con | 2012: BQV. Büro für Qualifikation und Vermögen – Documentary | 2006: McDeutsch – Book

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