We write to you in the wake of the resignation of US EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. While the plant experts at the Department of Weedy Affairs welcome Pruitt’s departure, they are equally concerned with the interim appointment of Andrew Wheeler. A former coal lobbyist for Murray Energy who has spent his career representing the fossil fuel industry, Wheeler also worked directly with James Inhofe (R-Okla), arguably one of the biggest climate change deniers in the Senate’s history. Wheeler is expected to not only continue the unprecedented rollbacks and reversals of environmental protections that began under Pruitt (see what’s changed since 2017) but may also prove even more dangerous (see resources below).
In this time of transition we look to the wisdom of the weeds. As we write, Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), who’s been nominated to the Science Advisory Board, is taking root in the front lawn of the US EPA Headquarters in Washington DC. Since June 15th they’ve been extending rhizomatic networks and cultivating interspecies alliances to resist the dangerous changes underway (Watch the EPA meets EPA Video). Like Wheeler, The Department of Weedy Affair’s Herbicide Branch Chief, Horseweed (Erigeron canadensis) is also prepared — strong, grounded, rising and making decisions in its vertical dimension with clarity and precision despite compacted soils.
We have also reactivated the web platform OnBehalfOf.Life to encourage the submission of public comments on behalf of local plant experts in the Bronx in response to a newly proposed rule, “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” Despite the deceptively benign title, this new rule will prevent vital forms of public research from being carried out by US EPA officials, weaken the role of science in the development of environmental policy, and open the door for corporate and private interests to conduct misleading research with severe consequences for human and more than human health.
We invite you to draft a comment by listening to a local plant expert. Go for a walk to find the plant. Listen, move, and allow your writing to be truly imaginative, poetic and scientific by entangling the plant’s voice with your voice. Consider what a plant would say about this new rule.
Finally, while we expect things at the US EPA to worsen, the Environmental Performance Agency continues to find strength, gratitude and inspiration from weedy plants and multispecies networks all around us. Every hour of every day, the weeds remain persistent, scratchy, sensual and they continue to show up. If you want to truly resist, listen to the weeds, let them be your guide, and we’ll see you in streets.
In weedy solidarity,
The EPA team
On Sunday July 1st, the Environmental Performance Agency, in collaboration with Dan Phiffer, launched a new iteration of OnBehalfof.Life! This time we’re focused on gathering public comments in response to Scott Pruitt’s proposed “transparency” rule. You can participate online at OnBehalfof.Life or visit our gallery installation in the Bronx at Wave Hill’s exhibition Ecological Consciousness: Artist as Instigator. On the evening of August 1st we’ll host a workshop for those interested in submitting comments together on site at Wave Hill!
This weekend EPA agents Catherine Grau, andrea haenggi and Christopher Kennedy led a performative field study exploring the agency of spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) found on Swale and the surrounding borderlands of the Brooklyn Army Terminal. We discovered an rhizomatic network of knotweed breaking up the recently paved asphalt, aquatic weeds growing on the hull of the barge, a multispecies food forest, and feral shorelines among other things.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Environmental Performance Agency’s Department of Weedy Affairs (DWA) announces the nomination of Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) for the US EPA Science Advisory Board.
“Mugwort has a proven record for fighting and not giving up and will go deep to find new territories and new perspectives for the challenges facing the US EPA right now,” says EPA Agent Andrea Haenggi.
We invite you to join us at 2pm on June 15th at Transformer for a ‘meet the candidate walk’ and kick off event. The event will include public readings of comments collected at the DWA office, embodied actions, and a public address at 3PM at the US EPA Headquarters in Washington DC.
As the DWA’s resident Rhizome Biologist, Mugwort’s platform is multi-pronged and multi-species, using its root system to address a range of regulatory rollbacks including Scott Pruitt’s recently proposed rule “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” Despite the deceptively benign title, this new rule will prevent vital forms of public research from being carried out by US EPA officials, weaken the role of science in the development of environmental policy, and open the door for corporate and private interests to conduct misleading research with severe consequences for human and more than human health.
Mugwort invites you to stand in solidarity on behalf of all life to imagine a world beyond human. Come meet the candidate and join the entire EPA team for an afternoon of embodied action, reflection and a public show of gratitude to current US EPA employees.
The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA) is an artist collective using artistic, social, and embodied practices practices to advocate for the agency of all living performers co-creating our environment, specifically through the lens of spontaneous urban plants, native or migrant. Contact EPA agents andrea haenggi, Christopher Kennedy, Ellie Irons, and Catherine Grau at firstname.lastname@example.org
The event takes place June 15th, 2pm at Transformer, 1404 P Street NW, Washington DC, arrive 3PM at the US EPA at Federal Triangle, 12th St NW and Constitution Ave
This weekend EPA agents Ellie Irons and Chris Kennedy (with indigenous activist Sebi Medina-Tayac) led a Weedy Resistance Walking Tour of the National Mall. They led participants through a series of embodied actions, observations and discussions on the complexities of land management practices, colonial occupation, and the possibility of spontaneous urban plants to inspire new forms of political and cultural organizing in the so-called Anthropocene age.
TO: All Human Allies
FROM: Department of Weedy Affairs
RE: CALL OR TEXT THE EPA HOTLINE (240) 808-2372
Dearest friends and supporters,
I send this message from the Department of Weedy Affairs (DWA), the Environmental Performance Agency’s new office in Washington, D.C. As the Chief Safety Officer of a department founded to take “environmental protection” beyond humans, I want to alert you to the many threats to multispecies well being that have been ignored or actively exacerbated since US EPA administrator Scott Pruitt took office. Issues such as:
As the Chief Safety Officer I assure you that our staff at the DWA, made up of the most resilient of your kingdom Plantae, can handle these threatening environmental conditions. We’ve been evolving to endure the excesses of post-industrial Capitalism for generations. However, the other nonhuman species with whom we share this world will not be able to cope so easily, and place human well-being in further danger.
In response, the Department of Weedy Affairs has activated the web platform OnBehalfOf.Life to encourage our human allies to submit public comments to the US EPA on behalf of another species. We urge you to raise your voice and call or text the Environmental Performance Agency’s hotline (240) 808-2372 and leave a message for Scott Pruitt and US EPA officials on behalf of a species who can’t.
Let them know what you think about these changes, and help us imagine a governmental agency that advocates for ecological justice in a multispecies entangled world. Your contribution will be hand-delivered on June 15, 2018 to the steps of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters in Washington DC. All comments will also be displayed online at OnBehalfOf.Life
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.
Department of Weedy Affairs, Chief Safety Officer
1404 P Street NW, Washington DC
Thanks to the Washington City Paper for featuring the EPA’s latest project The Department of Weedy Affairs.
“Of course, the point is to say that ours is the timeline that’s gone crazy, where elected officials have deleted all reference of climate change from official government platforms and rolled back dozens of common-sense standards for safeguarding our water and air. A good protest show might have made the point through biting satire. But Department of Weedy Affairs is rather joyful—or rather, it feels normal. The project imagines a nation that values and protects marginal ecosystems, which is to say, one that prioritizes environmental justice. A country in which this work is not just performed, but one in which it is boring—another given, like death and taxes.”