What color is your water?
For years, we have preached the consensus that we must do better for the environment. Clean up, recycle, avoid waste. You can drive a car. But drive 1.4 billion cars? Too Much. It’s hard to fight the good battle so we’ve let others take the wheel. NGOs and NPOs have popped up to help where governments can’t reach. Greenpeace emerged out of the culture’s subconscious to take a physical space in a digital economy world. And if that doesn’t solve the problem? Blame others but not ourselves. We’ve let propaganda distribute freely regarding the individual consumer’s superhuman abilities to alleviate climate change.
What color is the footprint?
What color is your class?
What color do you rep?
Environmental fight is another form of class war that we are facing now. And we’re not only facing it. We’re in it. Submerged in this controlled chaos that is flinging its bullets around, and just like planets in the galaxy, we can’t feel its gravity.
What color is gravity?
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducted a study that estimated the amount of subsidies given to fossil fuel companies (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/oct/06/fossil-fuel-industry-subsidies-of-11m-dollars-a-minute-imf-finds). $11 Million every minute.
What color is $11 Million? Green?
Soaring gas prices hurts Joe Biden’s popularity vote and in turn, his electoral prospects and the democratic party’s electoral prospects too. The western government issued an appeal to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase production (https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2021/11/09/opec-says-to-biden-if-you-want-more-oil-pump-it-yourself/) even after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had released their analysis on the impacts of using more and producing more fossil fuel. What we are going through is a downfall of the environment. Those in power, those who have capital, those who have private land are the ones policing and monetizing the downfall rather than stopping it. We are in a catastrophe and not a disaster. I’d argue that the best thing to do is to stop thinking of the future, of our future generation, of the future of the planet. What to think instead? I think two good choices remain: either don’t think or think about Now…. Ow, Mao, How, Vow… think of yourself as a process rather than a being, think of the war we are at now.
What is the color of Now?
What have vineyards and wineries done for now? Wine is still packaged in glass, the weight of which alone increases carbon and fuel emissions through transport. Water usage is still unsustainable especially considering that California is in a drought. Tractor passes are releasing more and more emissions especially if farmed organically.
There are some numbers of wineries that have attempted to do the “net-zero” approach but here are genuine concerns: They’re playing with the consumer’s attention span. Taking full advantage of such a short one that can’t see beyond the tags of “organic”, “biodynamic”, “SIP certified” or “LEED platinum water and energy conservation”.
What is the color of blood? Of Blood diamond? Of wine? Or Blood wine?
Being organic in the vineyard means this: that no synthetically made products are sprayed on the plants/soil or injected into the soil. Though this is great, there are serious consequences from this: the use of energy.
Example of an inconsequential use of energy: burning sulfur to make sulfuric acid to inject into the water to acidify water for irrigation purposes.
Example of a consequential use of energy: doing twice as more tractor passes compared to conventional farming to spray organic fungicide to combat mildews growing on grapes.
What is the color of storage? Storing your emotions. Storing your stories. Storing your mother’s necklace in a box.
Soil carbon sequestering is a term I hear often in the vineyards too. It is better for the environment if the soil sequesters carbon instead of releasing it into the atmosphere where it takes part in climate change. One way to do so is to not disturb the soil in manners such as tilling, disking, or under-vine weed control with use of CLEMENS. However, though how many times it is preached, the contribution to that to global soil Carbon sequestering is inconsequential in vineyards in California, in a Mediterranean climate. For soil carbon sequestering progress, more resources need to be directed to marshland studies and discontinuation of developments along river and delta banks (https://www.nrdc.org/experts/melanie-sturm/stewardship-wetlands-and-soils-has-climate-benefits).
LEED platinum certified wineries reduce water usage and employ renewable energy sources are a step in the right direction. Though such practices shouldn’t be limited to wineries with more resources than the majorities of wineries.
Wineries and organizations based on sustainability are missing the point in this fight against climate. As Tim Morton said in “All Art is Ecological”,
So when we talk about sustainability, what we’re talking about mostly is maintaining some kind of human-scaled temporality frame, and this is necessarily at the expense of those other beings, and it’s very likely we didn’t factor them in at all. … When the Nazi propogandist Joseph Goebbels heard the word culture, he reached for his gun. When I hear the word sustainability, I reach for my sunscreen.
Many wineries attempt to tackle sustainability thinking of the environment as an individual, which is a misstep. What needs to be considered is the movement of humans. Wages, labor movement, immigration reform, tariffs, foreign exchange rates, interests on loans from the IMF, apartheid regimes, … I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
What is the color of Dance? The movements?
What is the color of ignorance?
- Cool down a bit
- Decarbonize your atmosphere
- Nitrogenate your soil
- Release to your surface any minerals you may have left
- Produce (fast) much more carbon
- Renew productive animals and plants
- Talk to the moon to encourage her to start accommodating (some of) us
Settler colonialism, neoliberalism and the 1%
Stop. Stop Reading. Don’t read anymore. Glance over the words but don’t think anymore. Be you.
 Extracted from a writing by Nereo Calvillo/C+ arquitectas in “140 Artists’ Ideas for Planet Earth”. Nerea Calvillo is an architect and researcher and founder of C+ arquitectas, a spatial design and research agency. With an interest in collaborative practices, digital media and environmental pollution, it develops architecture projects, environmental mediations, ephemeral installations, exhibition design and visualizations, challenging materials and temporalities or architecture practice and modes of construction.