C8: Climate, Capital, Cities, Code + Contingency, Crisis, Contradiction, Change
Last week I talked about a lot of M-theories. Let me start this week with a bunch of C’s.
4Cs for the topics I want to talk about: climate change, capitalism, cities and code, coverinh both the inner and outer aspects of the matrix. 4 more Cs to cover the precarious world birthed by the first four: contingency, crisis, contradiction and change. Together, they are a Pandora’s box of the Matrix with the very last C (change) being the only one that gives us hope. Almost everything I have written about in the last year comes under one of those Cs.
Let’s start with a contradiction - how is it that we are simultaneously bombarded with signs of human awesomeness (reflected in the term ‘anthropocene’) and human precarity (apocalyptic news on a daily basis)?
On the apocalytpic side, South Asia is making the news in the climate change bucket this week:
While the temperatures are indeed alarming, I am not a fan of climate porn:
Nick Breeze @NickGBreezeLand temps of 62°C - frightening killing heat wave. We are doing this, + refusing to stop. Horrific. https://t.co/Oo7960XjwZ
“End of Times” messaging doesn’t help anyone; it’s as likely to make people give up in defeat as it’s to get them to fight, and it’s icky to post dramatic pictures of other people’s suffering in order to spread your message, which reinforces that some people are awesome (Stanford University professors) and some people are abject - the toiling masses of South Asia. It also leaves a wide open field for climate authoritarianism.
We can do better.
My goal is to ‘normalize’ planetary politics, i.e., that even the most terrifying possibilities (end of the Antartic ice cap) are best addressed in terms of everyday governance: sewage pipes instead of magic bullets.
Question: how should we govern our lives as a planetary species that shares space with many others?
Designing planetary systems that work1 is the task of this century. Many many questions fall out of that one task, such as - what does ‘work’ mean, and for whom? Here’s a book that might help us grapple with that task:
It’s on on my bookstand along with about twenty others. Time to start reading them all.
Obligatory Steve Jobs quote: “The design is not just what it looks like and feels like. The design is how it works”