The Monthly Global Change Review #07

| October 17, 2021 | Leave a Comment

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Media Type: Article - Recent

Publication Info: Medium

Date of Publication: October 15

Year of Publication: 2021

Publication City: Lyon, France

Publisher: Medium - Ecole Urbaine de Lyon

Author(s): Bérénice Gagne


Volume: 07

Pages: 1


Top photo: “Fracture” (detail) © Jannick Deslauriers

A monthly publication by Lyon Urban School (Université de Lyon), written by Berenice Gagne, dedicated to a better understanding of global change and the Anthropocene urban world: a selection of news in many fields of study, which aims to grasp the world we live in and the world to come.

October 2021

Focus on the materiality of dematerialization: far from the virtual or evanescent representations of advertisements, the weight of digital technology is far from negligible in terms of environmental impact, from the materials necessary for the manufacture of devices to data centers and the gigantic underwater infrastructures that crisscross the world’s oceans, as shown in this stunning visualization (digital, in fact!). Meanwhile, in the city, ecological urbanism is becoming a new imperative and is giving new life to a neglected neighborhood.

Berenice GagneBerenice Gagne
Urban School of Lyon – Watching over the Anthropocene Urban World & Global Change. Born in CO2 332ppm, my children 400 and 406

📢 Enjoy reading or listening to original Anthropocene podcasts: Net ZeroAlgorithms , Drink or Drive.

Check out the selection of Anthropocene Good Reads #2020: 60 books in many fields of knowledge to help understand what is happening and what is coming.

If you have any comments or suggestions to enhance this daily monitoring, feel free to share:

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“Fracture” © Jannick Deslauriers



Aging and ecological transition in the city: faced with the aging of their territory, urban actors are more often looking to respond to the “needs” of the elderly than to appreciate “their action on and for the city”. Future Design, born in Japan, invites participants of all ages “to put themselves in the shoes of generations living in 2060” in order to “make decisions about urban planning that do not necessarily correspond to their present interests”. This initiative strengthens local democracy but also contributes to the sharing of “living memory among potential witnesses of a hundred years of urban history” (Le Monde, 27/09/2021).

– In Saint-Etienne (France), the ecological transition is breathing new life into a deserted neighborhood: by buying up vacant first floors in the Crêt-de-Roc neighborhood, the Rues du développement durable association has provided an outlet for many local actors (Le Monde, 25/09/2021).

– Faced with the inability of States to draw the contours of a truly ecological future, can large cities act as the front line in the radical reorientation of our activities, necessary to halt the destruction of nature and life? The city of Marseille could be at the forefront of a great movement of “liberated cities” capable of initiating the transition to an ecological society (AOC, 16/09/2021).

Ecological urbanism: a new imperative? A comprehensive portfolio of articles, including “The emergence of ecological thinking in the city”, “Why and how to promote ecological spontaneity in the city”, “Towards a new place for living things in architectural and urban projects”, “Who gardens the city? For a political urban ecology” (métropolitiques, 06/09/2021).


Направление (Direction) © Dasha Rybina



– Stockholm Environment Institute report warns of threat to global food security from climate change and calls for multilateral coordination (Stockholm Environment Institute, 16/09/2021).

– “Food production generates more than a third of manmade greenhouse gas emissions — a new framework tells us how much comes from crops, countries and regions” (The Conversation, 13/09/2021).

– “Nitrogen: a key element for the development of organic agriculture”. “One of the constraints to the development of organic farming is the limited nitrogen resource in the soil, which is essential for plant growth”. A research team has “developed a model simulating, on a global scale, the supply and demand of nitrogen for crops in [agroecological] scenarios, excluding the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers” (INRAE, 17/05/2021).


– An exploration of the scars of the South American landscape by photographer Dante Busquets. “Reality is ultimately not a final destination, but a challenge; we can reinvent the future, by beginning to heal our ravaged landscapes” (MAHB, 09/09/2021).


– A focus on sensory pollution: human production of light or smell for example, which are not toxic but “interfere with the sensory and cognitive processes that allow organisms to communicate, exploit their environment, or avoid predators” (The Conversation, 16/09/2021).

– An analysis of the failure of large-scale reforestation operations in northern India: on average, the forest cover has not changed after tree plantations, even after decades. Two main reasons are identified: the very low survival rate of the planted trees — probably due to the chosen terrain — , and the fact that the plantation sites are often already very dense without enriching biodiversity — as the planted trees are often conifers. The study also analyzes the reception by the inhabitants of these reforestation operations (land conflicts, forced displacements, conflicts of use with pastoral practices etc.) (nature, 13/09/2021).


– « Weather and Climate Impacts in Developing Countries » : review and case studies on the impact of climate change on the economy of developing countries (Environment and Development Economics , Volume 26, October 2021).


– The construction of a decolonial imaginary to face global change: an article that calls for the end of Enlightenment rationality, whose human/nature dualism is responsible for the ecological crisis and still dominates the academic field. The recent notions of the Anthropocene and Gaia would reflect this same “Enlightenment rationality and the legacies of colonialism”. The authors show that “indigenous” philosophies, denigrated by Western thought, have developed knowledge systems based on a relational ontology that reflects the deep links between humans and nature and open new perspectives for understanding and dealing with the ecological crisis (Organization Theory, 01/10/2021).

The extinction of indigenous languages means the loss of unique knowledge about medicinal plants (Mongabay, 20/09/2021).


“Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert” (1996–98) © John Divola



The materiality of dematerialization: from the manufacture of electronic chips to the immense sheds for storing data (data centers), the ‘virtual’ world sucks up a colossal quantity of raw materials. This materiality is hidden by the giants of the net, explains Guillaume Pitron, author of L’enfer numérique. Voyage au bout d’un like [Digital hell. Journey to the end of a like] (Les Liens qui Libèrent, 2021) (Reporterre, 02/10/2021).

– “The digital transformation is a crisis of space”. A reflection on the de-spatialization that digital technology generates. “Spatiality immediately participates in the collective construction of meaning in a society. It implies the perception of values in the sensitive (such place is accessible, such other forbidden, such other requires the recollection or on the contrary the relaxation). The despatialization attacks this sensibility and its sense contained in its elements at the same time linguistic, political, economic, social which were so much engraved in the space that one did not perceive their spatiality any more” (Le Grand Continent, 29/09/2021).

– An analysis of the carbon offset strategy launched by Microsoft in January, with the ambition of offsetting all its emissions since its creation in 1975 by 2050. This operation highlights the difficulties of effective offsetting and the obstacles to overcome (nature, 29/09/2021).


The global supply chain crisis: energy, labor and transportation shortages (The Guardian, 02/10/2021).

– The economist Christian de Perthuis explains the need for an intellectual revolution to think about the transition to a low-carbon economy. “Nature is not reducible to this stock of resources from which to draw. It provides a set of regulatory functions for which we have no substitute” (Le Monde, 01/10/2021).

– The boom in carbon capture (and processing) companies (The Guardian, 24/09/2021).

– “What should the next world look like?”. A review of Federica CARUGATI, Margaret LEVI, A Moral Political Economy: Present, Past, and Future (Cambridge University Press, 2021): a call “to redesign our rules and institutions, starting by replacing the presupposition of the selfish rationality of homo oeconomicus with the solidary aspirations of homo reciprocans” (La vie des idées, 10/09/2021).


– “Energy Sobriety, the forgotten solution”: a portfolio on “this crucial step in the fight against climate change” “despised by politicians” (Reporterre, 02/10/2021).

– “Covas Do Barroso is a region in northern Portugal, the scene of one of the most important struggles of our time. British Savannah Resources is planning to open a 593-hectare open-pit lithium mine there, which would become the largest of its kind in Europe” (lundimatin, 20/09/2021).

The paradox of the semiconductor industry: the demand for silicon chips is exploding to implement the energy transition (electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines), but the carbon footprint of this industry is considerable (The Guardian, 18/09/2021).


“Fossil fuel madness” (linocut, 2021) © John Cloake



– “Does the Loire river need a parliament to defend its rights?” The writer Camille de Toledo participates in an assembly that explores “the contours of a hypothetical ‘parliament of the Loire river’ that would turn around ‘anthropo-centric points of view’ in order to better represent the legal interests of the river, its watershed, and all of its components (mineral, animal, plant…)”. It is “above all a work on the imaginary” (Usbek & Rica, 13/09/2021).


– “Low Emission Zones: miracle or mirage of the ecological transition”. “The introduction of Low Emission Zones in metropolises should make it possible to limit air pollution caused by automobile traffic. But what impact will this have on the poorest people? How can we think about more ecological mobility in the city of tomorrow?” (France culture, 25/09/2021).

– “Is urban mobility on track?” “The futurists have no shortage of ideas for imagining how travel in the city of tomorrow might be organized, but some issues are still in the blind spot” (La vie des idées, 14/09/2021).


– “Ecofeminism is not an essentialism”. The philosopher Catherine Larrère questions “the alleged evidence according to which the uprooting from nature would be a necessary prerequisite to any liberation” (AOC, 27/09/2021).

– “Often reduced to a diet or the passing fad of a disoriented era, the animal cause is increasingly publicized in the media but also instrumentalized, recuperated and depoliticized. In the anthology they coordinated, Cause Animale, Luttes Sociales [Animal Rights, Social Struggles] (Le passager clandestin, 2021), Roméo Bondon and Elias Boisjean explore its historical roots in order to better underline the nonsense of an animalist commitment that would do without a questioning of capitalism” (Terrestres, 20/09/2021).


GREEN, a new scientific journal (free online❤️) that crosses geopolitics, networks, energies, environment and nature, by the Geopolitical Studies Group of the ENS. In French and English. First issue: “China’s ecological power: analyses, criticisms, perspectives” (GREEN, septembre 2021).

– “Ecoarchy: getting out of capitalist democracy and into ecological democracy”. “The fundamental principle of the ecoarchy consists in putting the environment and nature above the rest, in a logic of horizontality that must bend to the pre-eminence of nature and the environment. It is thus a question of submitting all our decisions to this notion of environment” (Mais où va le web ?, 29/09/2021).

– “The Green Deal is the new social contract”. “Faced with the profound transformation that is announced with the ecological transition, the question of the social contract emerges again. How will the costs and benefits of changes whose scope we are only beginning to envisage be distributed?” (Le Grand Continent, 28/09/2021).

– Publication: Anne-Claude AMBROISE-RENDU, Steve HAGIMONT, Charles-François MATHIS, Alexis VRIGNON, Une histoire des luttes pour l’environnement — XVIIIe-XXe : trois siècles de débats et de combats [A history of environmental struggles — 18th-20th: three centuries of debate and struggle](éditions Textuel, 2021) “A history from below of environmental struggles: “Between the 18th and 20th centuries, the ideology of progress that intended to transform nature into a reservoir of exploitable resources met with strong resistance. Four researchers offer a worldwide panorama where collective emancipation and state repression are mixed. “Contrary to the myth that would have us believe that political ecology began with the awakening of the 1960s and 70s, the protectors of nature have been fighting the attacks and arguments of companies and the State since the beginnings of the industrial revolution” (Reporterre, 15/09/2021).


The Petroleum Tree – Image file courtesy Princeton Architectural Press


The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.