Contaminated Diversity in “Slow Disturbance”: Potential Collaborators for a Liveable Earth  by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Our time is the “anthropocene,” the age of human disturbance. The anthropocene is an era of mass extinction; we must not forget that. Yet the anthropocene is also an era of emergence. What has emerged? I use the term “contaminated diversity” to refer to cultural and biological ways of life that have developed in relation to the last few hundred years of widespread human disturbance. Contaminated diversity is collaborative adaptation to human-disturbed ecosystems. It emerges as the detritus of environmental destruction, imperial conquest, profit making, racism, and authoritarian rule—as well as creative becoming. It is not always pretty. But it is who we are and what we have as available working partners for a liveable earth. 

Lay deep among the weeds, cells loosening into the earth

dirt in the creases, fine beauty

(neon)yellow, brown stepped white, turquoise blue

brick brown, held, caught

yellow . childhood . taste

Shining blood, deepest green, brightest hour



dirt in the sand

strange shapes . sweet . vital

i chose sesame oil over olive oil because of its smell

What are the other words for heat?


sandalwood and decay, bruising

i could stop it, but i won’t

Chestnut, mirin, sour cabbage

fragments of the tree


seeping, release, chestnut



radio. want to come back to the strong smell of coffee and mint