P07
The Ecological Footprint of Literacy

Convenors:
Emilio G. Berrocal
Format:
Panels
Location:
Senate House - Bedford Room
Start time:
27 May, 2016 at 11:30
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

Is there a connection between climate change and the cognitive changes that the internalisation of writing has introduced? What is the ecological footprint of literacy? This panel invites proposals that reflect on the link between the cognitive and the environmental from a myriad of perspectives.

Long abstract:

What is the ecological footprint of literacy? As a 2014 IPCC report shows, over the last 40 years humans have released into the atmosphere about half the total amount of CO2 emitted since 1750, with rates of emissions increasing rapidly since the year 2000 - coinciding precisely with the latest information revolution! It is noticeable that what the climatologists call "the great acceleration" temporally coincides with what Derrida termed the "explosion of writing", and Ong the advent of "secondary orality". According to the French ADEME, 8 emails emit the same amount of CO2 as driving a car 1 km. And yet even more electricity is needed to stream or download a video than send a single email. The recent phenomenon of the "youtubisation of music and knowledge" may tell us that our impact on the environment is escalating fast. What does this mean? Does it mean that to reduce the human pressure on the environment it is also necessary to reduce the use of smart phones and the like? Or is it possible to fight climate change without abandoning such technologies of writing? Is it fair to say that if the so-called "oral cultures" were hegemonic all over the world, then we would not find ourselves in the midst of an ecological catastrophe? For which reasons? This panel invites proposals that reflect on the links between the cognitive and the environmental from a myriad of perspectives. In particular, the panel invites, but not exclusively, proposals that can address energetic issues as well as anthropological/philosophical questions.