Our weekly recommendations of what to read, watch and listen to now
Read: Consumed by Aja Barber
A call to action for consumers everywhere, Consumed asks us to look at how and why we buy what we buy, how it’s created, who it benefits, and how we can solve the problems created by a wasteful system.
From the publisher:
We live in a world of stuff. We dispose of most of it in as little as six months after we receive it. The byproducts of our quest to consume are creating an environmental crisis. Aja Barber wants to change this–and you can, too.
In Consumed, Barber calls for change within an industry that regularly overreaches with abandon, creating real imbalances in the environment and the lives of those who do the work–often in unsafe conditions for very low pay–and the billionaires who receive the most profit.
A story told in two parts, Barber exposes the endemic injustices in our consumer industries and the uncomfortable history of the textile industry, one which brokered slavery, racism, and today’s wealth inequality. Once the layers are peeled back, Barber invites you to participate in unlearning, to understand the truth behind why we consume in the way that we do, to confront the uncomfortable feeling that we are never quite enough and why we fill that void with consumption rather than compassion. Barber challenges us to challenge the system and our role in it. The less you buy into the consumer culture, the more power you have. Consumed will teach you how to be a citizen and not a consumer.
Get it here or at your local library
Watch: Gunda by Victor Kossakovsky
A sow, her piglets, a one-legged chicken ( and a few cows) in sumptuous black and white – the subjects of Kossakovsky’s latest endeavor as “…my apology to animals”. Mostly shot from the sow’s eye-level, this quiet story allows us to (in a manner similar to the beloved My Octopus Teacher) to explore the world through a “non-human lens which shatter perceptions of our presumptions and entitlements.” (Nick Bradshaw, BFI)
In Why Look at Animals, the late, great cultural historian John Berger decried the shift from our interactions with animals as intimate symbols, messengers and subjects of art into mere providers of leather and meat. This film: “reminds us that we share our planet with billions of other animals, recalibrate(ing) our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of life and the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.”
Listen: Got Climate Doom? Here’s What You Can Do to Actually Make a Difference
Got Climate Doom? Well, who doesn’t especially after the anti-climax of COP26. Yet this podcast from The Argument, a robust discussion between Genevieve Guenther (Renaissance scholar and climate activist) and David Wallace-Wells (for the brave, read his book The Uninhabitable Earth) offers a way to move from “gloom-doomerism” to being a part of the movement to save our planet. A perfect listen for a subway ride.