BELOW THE NET: THE EARTH > by John Pace

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Fish Don't Smoke Below The Net - The Earth: The Study of Ecological Value - from Pieces to Bits. words by john pace... art by paul kalemba Insert==== Play---- Fast forward>>>> Under the tutelage of neoliberalism's 'sustainable development' venture, with its manifest eco-capital enterprises like ecotourism, and its proposed carbon credit scheme, ecological value is being refigured and refined as a unit of global informational capital >>> Communication networks facilitate the flow of information-as-capital >>>> Ecologies are being objectified as information transferable through electronic networks >>>> Informational capital is essentially ethereal, and most often ephemeral >>>> Ecological value has been hitherto edaphic and enduring >>>> A shift is occurring from rugged mountainous ontologies to salt-pan-flat *ontologia* >>>> Ecological value is shifting from pieces to bits >>>> This is a problem. Play---- The study of ecological value must be taken out of the natural and into the cultural, for it is within the cultural that ecological values are propagated - and it is those values that determine how we act on, in, and through our environments, and ultimately engage as ecological agents. The study of ecological value must also be taken out of the organic and into the technological. We do not experience, apprehend, nor understand our ecologies by dint of organic ecological interaction - we come to value ecologies through our quotidian interaction with techno-economic, *representational* ecological forms and processes such as gardens, pastures, parks, footpath bound trees, roundabout ringed shrubs, ecotourism retreats, nature documentaries - artefactual ecologies as technological as toasters - dromoecologies. The study of ecology must be the study of relationships, not things. It must acknowledge the shift in ecological value that has accompanied the technological shift in how that value is expressed. Ecological value is expressed economically through the communicative technologies of economic expression - the myriad networks that comprise the Internet. The study of ecology must also be simultaneously regarded as the study of the political economy of ecology, and as such, as a system of communication, and communicative power. Subsequently, attention needs be paid to the ways in which ecologies, or more precisely, ecological values are communicated, by whom and for what reasons, and the peculiarities of the medium and means by which that communication is performed. Global communication networks facilitate the movement of new forms of ecological value. For instance, 'the new carbon commodities created by Kyoto would add up to US$2.345 trillion, the largest invention of monetary assets by voluntary international treaty in history' (The Cornerhouse, 2002). This value is predominantly abstract and informational. Information communication technologies are the platform on which this value will be exchanged, valorised, and stored. Throughout history, shifts in technologies have altered the ways in which we interact with our ecologies - from the plough to the pixel, from the discovery of iron to the Discovery Channel. Similarly, our conceptions of value have also shifted with new ways of exchanging that value. The Internet is facilitating a new form of ecological value, and as such, a new way of valuing our ecological relationships - by price. Thus, the study of ecology must acknowledge this shift and consider the impact of ecological apprehension based on digitised, commodified, abstract, referentless and subjective immaterialities - the value conflation of reefs and roses, trees and toasters. The study of ecology needs to also be the study of ecological value. Moreover, the study of ecological value needs to be the study of how that value is communicated, why, and in what form. Space and cyberspace need to be reconciled in the study of ecology, for actions in cyberspace have material effects - indeed, the role of cultural ecological study is to highlight that dominant ways of communicating ideas and values bear direct impact on dominant ways of acting on, in, and through material ecologies - that is, what lies below the net, is the earth. Reference: THE CORNER HOUSE (2002) Democracy or Carbocracy? Intellectual Corruption and the Future of the Climate Debate. Downloaded from http://cornerhouse.icaap.org/briefings/24.pdf Stop...