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 the causes of climate change through entanglements of ecosystems with communal, state and global structures – and ultimately to explore possibilities to tackle climate change from within such interconnections: If not only the devastations of climate change arise from a planetary web of interdependencies, but potentially also capacities to collectively counter global warming, then how can we progress from passive entanglement to active entanglement? Meaning, how can we progress from the everything-and-everyone-is-connected-condition as one which tends to paralyze us to a state of interconnectedness that enables new forms of cross-border cooperation? And how can we cultivate cooperative practices for the interplay between communal, state and global approaches adapting to climate change? To explore this, the Berliner Gazette will organize the 20th edition of its annual conference: a three-day program with workshops, performances and public talks.

Public Talks

Whose World is Ending? | Grand Opening | Oct 10 | 7:00 p.m.



It’s the end of the world as we know it. But whose world is actually ending? The climate debate has a massive problem: Its discourses, scenarios and prognoses largely cater to the interests of the Global North. Three speakers will provide new perspectives: political geographer and radio maker Anja Kanngieser (Australia), whose work on imperiled Pacific islands urges us to cooperate on the frontlines of climate change, high school student and environmental activist Clara Mayer (Germany), who dares to confront the corporate and political elites with the uncomfortable truths of climate change, and the poet and philosopher Sudesh Mishra (Fiji), who mobilizes indigenous cosmologies as sources of inspiration vis-à-vis environmental havoc. Moderated by Abiol Lual Deng (South-Sudan/US), who is an international relations expert and humanitarian policy consultant.

This talk will take place at ZK/U on Thursday, Oct 10 at 7:00 p.m. Free entry.

In a special opening performance the art collective The University of the Phoenix (Canada) will be offering participants an opportunity to join “The Order of the Immortal Stranger”: a global secret society for interspecies cooperation.

Networking Against Climate Change? | Oct 11 | 7:00 p.m.



The myth that digital tools are green by default and will save the planet has been debunked. Yet what is the potential of using digital networks to fight the climate crisis? Three speakers will tackle this question: activist Virginie Gailing (France), who is hacking the climate discourse online and offline with the do-it-together movement Extinction Rebellion, sustainability expert Nikki Maksimovic (UK), whose work with the Berlin-based Internet search engine Ecosia helps to plants trees by donating 80% of its surplus income for reforestation initiatives, and journalist and technology expert Marta Peirano (Spain), whose book “El enemigo conoce el sistema” explores how to fight climate change with communal technologies. Moderated by Jaron Rowan (Spain), a reseacher and activist.

This talk will take place at ZK/U on Friday, Oct 11 at 7:00 p.m. Free entry.

In the warm-up performance “Plant Ensemble”, the artist Xin Xin (US/Taiwan) will be using biofeedback in plants to synthesize sound.

How to Give Power to Climate Exiles? | Oct 12 | 3:30 p.m.



By the year 2050 there may be about 200 million people on the move due to climate change, with no option of returning to their homes. What should the world community do to empower climate exiles – in humanitarian and political terms? Two speakers will look for answers: the scientist Sujatha Byravan (India), whose pioneering research explores the politics of climate refugees and activist and writer Harsha Walia (Canada), whose work in the field of migration intersects with climate justice struggles. Moderated by Jennifer Kamau (Kenya/Germany) who is an activist and researcher and facilitates a migrant network called International Women Space.

This talk will take place at ZK/U on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 3 p.m. Free entry.

As a warm-up to this public talk, the workshop groups will pitch the results of their three-day process: position papers, multimedia stories and experimental projects.

After this talk, please join the 20 Years Berliner Gazette Gala. The choreographer and dancer Pepe Dayaw (Philippines) will be staging a cooking performance, cooperatively creating a sari-sari plate: ‘sari-sari’ means many things in one in Tagalog. Artist and researcher Kat Austen (UK) will perform a multimedia symphony based on her residency at the North Pole.

Workshops

Setting



The BG annual conference will take place at the ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanistics on Oct. 10-12, 2019. To investigate the complexities of climate change, the BG will create a three-day program with workshops, performances and talks. 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 enables the general public to register via the call for registration (details in bar on the right).

Cooperative Processes



To tackle the key issues of the BG annual conference, five parallel workshop tracks will take five different approaches to cooperative practices dealing with climate change:
Eco-Data, Counter/Knowledge, Justice, Lifestyles and Resources (descriptions see below). 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 + Details



The call for registration targets (up-and-coming) hackers, journalists, activists and researchers. A limited number of participants will be able to register for one of the five workshops (Eco-Data, Counter/Knowledge, Justice, Lifestyles or Resources ) by contacting the following email: info(at)berlinergazette.de. The deadline is September 1st. Registration fee: 50 Euro. Please note: As the five workshops will be running in parallel, each participant 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.

Eco-Data

Issues: Eco data about climate change and climate crisis. Environmental monitoring vs. “surveillance”. Politics of data visualization. Lessons for climate change adaptation from Fukushima 2011. Cases of climaps.eu, IIDj.net and Safecast.org. Moderation: Tara Tiger Brown + Michael Prinzinger Guests: Vamsidhar Akuraju, Georgiana Bere, Sean Bonner (tbc), Carlo De Gaetano, Daphne Dragona, A. Erdem Şentürk, Anna Meïra Greunig, Dia Kayyali, Katrin Kämpf, Eirini Malliaraki, Sabine Niederer, Zoran Pantelic, Lira Ramadani, Andreas Schneider, Leonard Schrage, Kavya Sukumar, Çağrı Tașkın, Niloufar Vadiati, Yvonne Volkart.

Counter/Knowledge

Issues: Non-quantifiable, embodied knowledge and indigenous wisdom. Non-human knowledge (e.g. plants, environment). Seed vault and knowledge commons. Moderation: Sabrina Apitz + Cassie Thornton. Guests: Kat Austen, Nina Eschke, Alina Floroi, Jenny García Ruales, Iskra Geshoska, Gosia Jagiello, Avi Khalil, Holger Kral, Stefanie Linner, Sudesh Mishra, Shintaro Miyazaki, Noel David Nicolaus, Jaron Rowan, Kunitake Saso, Gabriele Schliwa, Brett Scott (tbc), Dzina Zhuk.

Justice

Issues: Climate justice struggles and social conflicts around climate change. The politics of those whose countries will be destabilized, rendered unlivable or destroyed due to climate change. Climate change-induced migration and human rights. Moderation: Masha Burina + Nina Pohler. Guests: Rosamund Brennan, Jose Miguel Calatayud, Fran Ilich, Anja Kanngieser, Brigitte Kratzwald, Nastassia Martin, Dusica Parezanovic, Marta Peirano, Kevin Rittberger, Sotiris Sideris, Maria Stenzel Timmermans, Elena Veljanovska, Mihajlo Vujasin, Harsha Walia.

Lifestyles

Issues: Modes of living and working together in an environmentally sustainable fashion vs. “our lifestyle is not negotiable” (Bush). Entanglements between alternative lifestyles, emerging cultural practices and climate change. Politics of swarming: people in different regions and social positions cooperate to reshape dominant lifestyles. Moderation: Claudia Núñez + Cristina Pombo. Guests: Andrei Bulearcă, Martin Conrads, Géraldine Delacroix, Peter Hermans, Riho Higashida, Inga Lindarenka, Darija Medic, Hans Meves, Sudhir Chella Rajan, Koji Takahashi, Zlata Veselinovic, Beata Wilczek.

Resources

Issues: Vital resources in times of climate change. Resource crisis due to extractive capitalism in regions most affected by climate change and resource crisis due to climate change. Interdependencies between extractive capitalism and accelerating climate processes as well as mass migration. Moderation: Edna Bonhomme + Abiol Lual Deng. Guests: Miriam Arentz, Antonia Burchard-Levine, Friedrike Habermann, Jens Isensee, Aude Launay, Monisha Martins, Juliane Rettschlag, Julie Snorek, Nicolay Spesivtsev, Ingo Tomi, Jaroslav Valuch, Xin Xin.

Intro

0

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).

Impulses

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.

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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