TED Bookclub starts with “On Time and Water” by Andri Snær Magnason – Seeking a New Climate Semantics


The inaugural (virtual) meeting of the TED Members Book Club will take place iWednesday 8 September (12noon New York, 5pm London, 6pm Europe, 9:30pm Mumbai) and is open to TED Members. (Becoming a member is easy: https://www.ted.com/membership

Bruno Guissani TED global curator will be hosting the event: “We will be discussing “On Time and Water“, an important book by one of global literature’s most indispensable contemporary voices, Iceland’s Andri Magnason. On Time and Water is a hopeful text – draws on science, family history and even mythology to explore a new climate semantics, one that would allow us to confront the (expanding) scale of the climate crisis without our comprehension of it being overwhelmed. Because right now, overwhelmed it is. We know the facts (see for instance this previous post: https://lnkd.in/dYzG8zkA) but the prevailing language that is associated with them describes changes so fundamental that they challenge the very foundations of our understanding of reality.

“We are accustomed to letting words like “global warming” pass by us while we respond to far less significant words. If we could perceive in granular details what the words “global warming” [or “ocean acidification” or “melting glaciers” or “rising seas” or “biodiversity collapse”] contain we should feel terror”, Magnason writes. “Anyone who understands what’s at stake would not prioritise anything else”, and yet “we read the news and watch documentaries, but for some reason we keep to our daily routines.” In other words, we know what each word says in a dictionary sense, but we don’t really understand their deep underlying meaning. The scale of the climate crisis is asking us in a way to leapfrog the current descriptive language (and associated power system) and find a new framing and a deeper kind of knowing. That’s what Magnason attempts in “On Time and Water”.
The TED Members Book Club meeting around his book is scheduled for Wednesday 8 September (12noon New York, 5pm London, 6pm Europe, 9:30pm Mumbai) and is open to TED Members.
Further meetings will be around Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut Economics” (17 November) and Kim Stanley Robinson’s “The Ministry for the Future” (19 January).

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