Ecomasculinist PregnancyArtwork, 2019
We find ourselves in a world slowly recovering from climate catastrophe, and with humanity in need of redefinition and redemption. Sea levels and temperatures have risen unsustainably, and ocean biodiversity is depleted. Humankind can no longer simply adapt—it needs to fundamentally change its connection to, and place within nature. Various voluntary co-operative schemes exploring new relationships with the Earth have been founded across the depleted planet, amongst them The Campaign for Sustainable Masculinities. Through voluntary surrogate mothering of an infant, the baby Steller Sea-Lion Mononoke, the ex-hunter/fisherman Yiluak goes through a conscious intervention on his body leading to further physical and mental transformation, development of a bond with a person of another species, and a new ethical consciousness, care ethics, that subverts old West’s individualistic rhetoric and ecological transformation of the societies on Earth.
Today, I came across a leaflet of this project called Resurrecting Steller Sea-Lion Project. Apparently, this is an ecofeminist project, a collaboration between The National Institute for Explorative Medicine,1 The Center for Ocean Recovery2 and The Campaign for Sustainable Masculinities.3 What caught my interest is the gender aspect to it—I wonder how they combine masculinities with nature. It says on the leaflet that males as well as females could sign up to deliver this extinct marine mammal called the Steller sea-lion. I never thought giving birth would be considered sustainable. To the contrary, I’ve always imagined myself to be an anti-natalist. But maybe that changes when you give birth to an extinct animal… They say the animal will be released into the ocean and collaborate with scientists. That sounds a bit like animal labor to me. Is this really ethical? That’s apparently human-centric. I don’t know. I myself used to hunt fish for sustenance when it was legal so I’m in no position to judge, I guess. Really though, us humans have caused nothing but trouble on the planet. My partner and I have been sympathetic to adopting a child from Europe and are still considering it. Europe has become such an unfortunate place to be in, battling regular heat waves, droughts and climate migrants. Instead of producing more and more humans, probably one of the most detrimental species, why not adopt an already suffering one from a less privileged geography? Obviously that marine mammal rests in peace now, so why bring it back to this planet?
1. The National Institute for Explorative Medicine is a fictional medical institution in Canada, experimenting in medicine, pushing technology’s limits to its very end.
2. The Center for Ocean Recovery is a fictional marine research center in the west coast of Canada, working on the recovery of the oceans and the biospecies, focusing on marine mammals such as the Steller Sea-Lion.
3. The Campaign for Sustainable Masculinities is a fictional ecofeminist initiative found by vegan+queer activists, academics and scientists, addressing first and foremost the oppression of genders, species and nature-cultures.