Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It gets boring running around being a Cassandra

Being a Cassandra is often boring in the sense that it is so predictable. You know from the start that whatever you say will be ignored and, when it is not ignored, it will generate all sorts of insults as a response. On the other hand, some of us seem to have taken this role and, just as the Cassandra of the Iliad, we keep trying to alert everyone of what is going on with climate change and resource depletion. Who knows, maybe not all Cassandras will always be ignored - after all, she was right! Here are some thoughts on climate change from Bruce Sterling's talk at the 2011 Art and Environment conference. The wolf is in the living room, he says. A true Cassandra; and perfectly right.

Bruce Sterling:

Climate change has lost all its sci-fi tinge in my lifetime and is now a melancholy and tiresome reality

There hasn’t been a year when I haven’t written about climate change. It’s one of the most obvious things to predict.

It’s just kind of a blunt reality that the fossil-fuel enterprise has done a regulatory capture of the entire planet, and we’re involved in a war for oil, and it’s the curse of oil, and it’s a war for a curse that’s endless and happening. You know, it gets boring running around being a Cassandra. Starting Earth Day in 1970 was a pretty late start considering the multicentury scope of this problem.

I will pass the rest of my lifetime in the shadow of climate change. It’s not about warning people in 2011, or trying to avert or defuse a misfortune. The wolf is beyond the door. The wolf is in the living room. This is the anthropocenic condition. This is how we live. This is force majeure. It’s here. It’s very obvious.

There are no national forests. You cannot protect a forest with a nation. There are forests that protect nations.

The global climate crisis is the climate crisis and it’s global because the globe is an externality. “Don’t pollute you, don’t pollute me, pollute that fellow behind me.” Just throw that into the atmosphere because the atmosphere is somebody else’s problem."

The thing that encourages me or sort of offers daylight is there’s no pro-climate crisis party. There’s no government that actually likes the idea of wrecking the climate. It doesn’t really benefit anybody. It really is an externality. It’s just something that’s entropic.

h/t Big Gav


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)