Earlier this month, Oscar Perress was able to talk to Samuel Miller McDonald, a journalist, writer and student currently based in the UK for his studies at Oxford. Though talking for over an hour, their discussion around Covid-19 can be understood as a discussion on systems.
In the initial weeks of mass shutdowns, false claims of environmental regeneration circulated the media and internet alike. Apparently in Italy, marine life returned to the Venetian canals that have long been polluted by nitrous dioxide, but where the water is now clearer than it has been in sixty years. The lower air pollution, according to one study in China, caused by Covid-19, also may save up to 77,000 lives. To this, there was a reactionary groundswell parroting The Matrix’s Agent Smith, in identifying us, humans, as the virus that has created Papatūānuku’s ills. One tweet from @ThomasSchuIz offering Agent Smith’s line verbatim has over 297,000 likes at time of writing. Many in political circles, including Oscar himself initially, pointed at posts promoting Covid-19 as a solution for environmental recovery, be it true or not, as examples of 'eco-fascism'.
Miller McDonald unpacks this discourse a little more and expands discussing the dangers of arbitrarily and incorrectly labelling political phenomena as such, referencing a recent editorial Miller McDonald wrote for Current Affairs Magazine.
They also discussed conceptualising a response to the climate crisis from Covid-19 and the effect that national emergencies have on our everyday structures. You can find the rest of this series written by Oscar Perress, online by bCast or on air through out the next 2 weeks. You can also access the article mentioned in this piece on Current Affairs, titled ‘It’s not Ecofascism – it’s Liberalism’. Miller McDonald’s other work is accessible on www.samueljmm.com.