Today I’m going to read you an essay by Paulo da Costa, “Enclosures”, from Reckoning 6. I think of this piece as a new perspective in an ongoing conversation that started, for me, with Kate Schapira’s essay “On Political Change, Climate Change, and the Choice to Not Have Children” that appeared in Catapult in 2017, and my editorial piece in Reckoning 2, “On Having a Kid in the Climate Apocalypse” (which just ran in audio form on the excellent Lebanese political podcast The Fire These Times, and which we’re planning on re-running here sometime in the next couple weeks). It’s a conversation that leads from all the young people all over the world who are throwing themselves out in front of the extractive capitalist machine, begging for a future, and asks how we, the older generation, parents and potential parents and caregivers and people who love children everywhere, are to prepare them for this future we and our parents and ancestors have made for them. How do we adapt the values and skills and ways of understanding the natural world that nurtured us which were instilled in us by older generations in such a way as to honor what they taught us but not let our children be bound, doomed, by all the parts of that which cannot sustain. It’s a long, hard conversation, and I’m very grateful to Paulo for continuing it.
I also think this works brilliantly as a followup to the discussion Juliana Roth, E.G. Condé and Priya Chand had here the other week about animal rights and consciousness. I should warn you that this essay is full of some quite vivid cruelty to animals.
Also, I should prepare you for the fact that my foreign language background is in Spanish; paulo speaks Portugese and there is a great deal of Portugese in this story which I am going to muck up considerably. Thank you for bearing with me.