Small agencies It’s 1881 and Darwin is writing about earthworms, which he and his family have been observing at sites including Stonehenge, St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester, and a medieval pavement at Beaulieu. Worms make the earth hospitable to human life by processing the vegetable mould needed for the growth of plants. They also demonstrate a degree of agency, making different and unpredictable choice according to their environmental conditions. Small agency is distributed, generative; it may require the expansion of what we call ‘system’, of what we call ‘public’, of what we call ‘dependence’. It’s the accumulated effects of such small agencie that make the earth possible, habitable.

See also: Actants (Bruno Latour).