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:
the rollback of car emission standards, and cuts to climate and clean energy programs
the rejection of proposed bans on harmful pesticides
the removal of “climate change” from US EPA and FEMA strategic plans
the rollback of key toxic air pollution regulations
the approval of Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines
a proposed rule change that would restrict threatened species from receiving the full protections of the Endangered Species Act
and the rejection of the Bureau of Land Management’s public land use planning process, among many others.
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.”
EPA Agents Catherine Grau and andrea haenggi were in Washington DC this past weekend, working with members of the Department of Weedy Affairs staff on a workshop called Crack the Patriarchy. Together with the weeds, workshop participants explored the question: How can we articulate, ally with, and reclaim the more-than-binary ways of being that are cracking the patriarchy?
This weekend, EPA presented at Open Engagement at the Queens Museum and Hall of Science in New York. We led an interactive workshop called Plant Talk Human Talk exploring the lawn outside the Hall of Science in Corona-Flushing Meadows Park. Plant Talk Human Talk explores the biocultural possibility of spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) as collaborators and guides in imagining new urban systems/ecologies. The Queens Museum’s surrounding landscape serves as a site for applied fieldwork where participants will engage in EPA’s embodied scientist training for cultivating plant-human relations and interspecies alliances. Tactics include wild plant unmapping, radical care sitting, and creating embodied scores for a world beyond human.
The Environmental Performance Agency is excited to work with The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities (PPEH) on their Ecotopian Toolkit initiative to explore the complexity of urban waters and “what it might mean to face contemporary ecological challenges with critically attuned and creatively oriented tools.” As 2018 fellows, EPA will be developing a project called, Embodied Scientist Parkour: A series of site-specific scores for practicing multi-species research and being in a world beyond human. Stay tuned for more details and updates on upcoming workshops and events in Philadelphia!
This spring the EPA goes to Washington DC where we’ll be partnering with Transformer to launch a new artwork — The Department of Weedy Affairs, a speculative proposition which imagines a governmental agency that is beyond human. This new EPA office opens May 5, offering visitors an opportunity to engage and learn from spontaneous urban plants (aka weeds) through a toolkit of radical care practices and embodied science. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, we invite the public to submit a comment to the US Environmental Protection Agency using a web platform, OnBehalfOf.life. At the end of the show, the EPA collective will lead a public march to deliver the collection of comments, desires and demands on behalf of the weeds to the US EPA on the National Mall. The EPA meets the EPA.
WORKSHOPS + PERFORMANCES:
MAY 5, 2018 | 3 – 8pm Department of Weedy Affairs: Opening Reception
Transformer, 1404 P Street, NW Washington, DC
Featuring a live performance by andrea haenggi, Teaching a Human the Urban Weeds Alphabet (created with 26 urban weeds). Live engagements at 3pm, 5pm and 7pm
MAY 20, 2018 | 2 – 5pm Crack The Patriarchy: Moving, thinking and feeling with plants that break through cracks in asphalt
Led by EPA artists Catherine Grau and Andrea Haenggi
Meeting Point: Transformer, 1404 P Street, NW Washington, DC
JUNE 9, 2018 | 2 – 4:30pm Weedy Resistance: A Weedy Walking Tour on the National Mall
Led by EPA Agents Ellie Irons and Christopher Kennedy
Meeting Point: Constitution Avenue NW and 12th Street NW, Washington DC
JUNE 15, 2018 | 2pm EPA Meets EPA: A public walk to the US EPA Headquarters
Meeting Point: Transformer, 1404 P Street, NW Washington, DC
A recent unearthing of a suitcase buried in the EPA’s urban weeds garden has revealed surfaces covered in lichen and fungi. We’re currently investigating what species are present and will keep you posted.
The fertilizing fire circle pit is taking shape – all the soft openings and earth exposures to crack the asphalt and patriarchy. Join us Friday December 1st (5pm – 11:59pm) for all the stories and healing. RSVP for the event at fertilizingfirecircle.eventbrite.com!