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robertogreco : disaster   18

Uncivilisation: the Dark Mountain Manifesto
"The authors do not tell us what they expect to happen after civilisation has disappeared, but it may be something like the post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world imagined by the nature mystic Richard Jefferies in his novel After London, or Wild England (1885). In it, Britain is depopulated after ecological disaster and reverts to barbarism; but it is not long before a new social order springs up, simpler and happier than the one that has passed away. After London is an Arcadian morality tale that even Jefferies probably did not imagine could ever come to pass.

Over a century later, the belief that a global collapse could lead to a better world is ever more far-fetched. Human numbers have multiplied, industrialisation has spread worldwide and the technologies of war are far more highly developed. In these circumstances, ecological catas­trophe will not trigger a return to a more sustainable way of life, but will intensify the existing competition among nation states for the planet’s remaining reserves of oil, gas, fresh water and arable land. Waged with hi-tech weapons, the resulting war could destroy not only large numbers of human beings but also much of what is left of the biosphere.

A scenario of this kind is not remotely apocalyptic. It is no more than history as usual, together with new technologies and ongoing climate change. The notion that the conflicts of history have been left behind is truly apocalyptic, and Kingsnorth and Hine are right to target business-as-usual philosophies of progress. When they posit a cleansing catastrophe, however, they, too, succumb to apocalyptic thinking. How can anyone imagine that the dream-driven human animal will suddenly become sane when its environment starts disintegrating? In their own catastrophist fashion, the authors have swallowed the progressive fairy tale that animates the civilisation they reject.

A change of sensibility in the arts would be highly desirable. The new perspective that is needed, however, is the opposite of apocalyptic. Neither Conrad nor Ballard believed that catastrophe could alter the terms on which human beings live in the world. Both writers were unsparing critics of civilisation, but they never imagined there was a superior alternative. Each had witnessed for himself what the alternative means in practice.

Rightly, Kingsnorth and Hine insist that our present environmental difficulties are not solvable problems, but are inseparable from our current way of living. When confronted with problems that are insoluble, however, the most useful response is not to await disaster in the hope that the difficulties will magically disappear. It is to do whatever can be done, knowing that it will not amount to much. Stoical acceptance of this kind is practically unthinkable at present - an age when emotional self-expression is valued more than anything else. Still, stoicism will be needed if civilised life is to survive an environmental crisis that cannot now be avoided. Walking on lava requires a cool head, not one filled with fiery dreams."
darkmountain  anthropocene  futurism  climate  climatechange  globalwarming  dougaldhine  2009  via:ayjay  environment  paulkingsnorth  manifestos  capitalism  latecapitalism  disaster  civilization  uncivilization  art  arts  lifestyle  catastrophe  johngray 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Where Is My Friend's House? | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
"All three works are sustained meditations on singular landscapes and the way ordinary people live in them; obsessional quests that take on the contours of parables; concentrated inquiries that raise more questions than they answer; and comic as well as cosmic poems about dealing with personal and impersonal disaster. They're about making discoveries and cherishing what's in the world--including things that we can't understand."
1998  jonathanrosenbaum  abbaskiarostami  film  place  landscape  ordinary  everyday  parables  quests  inquiries  poetry  disaster  discovery 
august 2016 by robertogreco
New Left Review - Wolfgang Streeck: How Will Capitalism End?
"In summary, capitalism, as a social order held together by a promise of boundless collective progress, is in critical condition. Growth is giving way to secular stagnation; what economic progress remains is less and less shared; and confidence in the capitalist money economy is leveraged on a rising mountain of promises that are ever less likely to be kept. Since the 1970s, the capitalist centre has undergone three successive crises, of inflation, public finances and private debt. Today, in an uneasy phase of transition, its survival depends on central banks providing it with unlimited synthetic liquidity. Step by step, capitalism’s shotgun marriage with democracy since 1945 is breaking up. On the three frontiers of commodification—labour, nature and money—regulatory institutions restraining the advance of capitalism for its own good have collapsed, and after the final victory of capitalism over its enemies no political agency capable of rebuilding them is in sight. The capitalist system is at present stricken with at least five worsening disorders for which no cure is at hand: declining growth, oligarchy, starvation of the public sphere, corruption and international anarchy. What is to be expected, on the basis of capitalism’s recent historical record, is a long and painful period of cumulative decay: of intensifying frictions, of fragility and uncertainty, and of a steady succession of ‘normal accidents’—not necessarily but quite possibly on the scale of the global breakdown of the 1930s."
capitalism  disaster  economics  failure  finance  decline  labor  government  democracy  plutocracy  oligarchy  inequality  comingrevolution  wolfgangstreeck  corruption  politics  latecapitalism  commodification  growth 
august 2014 by robertogreco
6, 5: Hills
"The systemic problems – climate change, mass violence, police state, you name ’em – will not be solved from any single angle. One necessary one, I think, is sushi knife cuts across the idea that we are restoring the world. Sometimes, narrowly, this makes some sense: we can say, for example, that there was a past in which there were better women’s health options in Texas than there are today, and use it as an example. But most of the past sucked real bad, or was not a stable object. The good king to whom Robin Hood was loyal was, in the historical record, what we would now call a bad king. And the implication that we can turn the Anthropocene back into the Holocene is simply false, and a dishonest goal; we have to talk about how we’re never going home, but if we work hard we might make a new home that’s better than what we’ve begun to trek into.

A DM conversation with ace reporter Robinson Meyer (gently edited for clarity):

Rob: Have you played 2048, Dan W edition yet?

Me: No.

Rob: It is a hoot.

Rob: http://games.usvsth3m.com/2048/dan-w-edition/

Me: Astonishing.

Me: Died at 2656.

Me: What can we say about the people who think this is fun and clever?

Me: Can we make a more interesting description than “people who have heard of the New Aesthetic”?

Rob: Confusion: Do you think it was not fun and clever, or are you trying to name the very real category?

Me: I think it’s extremely fun and clever.

Me: And I’m trying to get at what this kind of enjoyment is beyond “people out there share my obsessions with certain ‘boring’/‘weird’ things”.

Rob: Haha, okay. Right. Yeah.

Rob: My shorthand is, indeed, usually “weird.” But that in itself is a shorthand for estrangement.

Rob: Estrangeurs.

Me: I sometimes think if it as: bulk people.

Me: People interested in mass transportation, mass communication, massive slabs of data.

Rob: The Blurry Commons.

Rob: (I think it is common-in-bulk—it being not enough to revive the old, say, Judt-esque progressive adoration for trains.)

Rob: The Fans of Connected Signifiers of Disconnection and Vice Versa.

Rob: Shirepunk.

Rob: Domesdayists.

Me: Census-botherers.

Rob: Because it’s partly about working on problems at 45 degree angles to climate.

Rob: Whigpunk.

Rob: But actually this time.

Me: Ack, perfect.

Rob: That’s what it feels like to be thought-led.

It might also be this thing or not. It might be about scale – the feeling of something on the edge between subitizable and not. (It also has the grace of something made by a friend for a friend – which animates some of my favorite light art, even where it lacks other merits.)"
scale  charlieloyd  2014  whigpunk  newaesthetic  climatechange  mailart  tuitui  micronations  robinsonmeyer  wendellberry  systemsthinking  systems  decline  disaster  lauraseay  jasonstearns  gérardprunier  catharinenewbury  davidnewbury  séverineautesserre  africa  genocide  southsudan  sudan  rwanda  centralafricanrepublic  injustice  libertarianism  normanborlaug  anthropocene 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
"But the energy source to which most economies will revert if they shut down their nuclear plants is not wood, water, wind or sun, but fossil fuel. On every measure (climate change, mining impact, local pollution, industrial injury and death, even radioactive discharges) coal is 100 times worse than nuclear power. Thanks to the expansion of shale gas production, the impacts of natural gas are catching up fast.

Yes, I still loathe the liars who run the nuclear industry. Yes, I would prefer to see the entire sector shut down, if there were harmless alternatives. But there are no ideal solutions. Every energy technology carries a cost; so does the absence of energy technologies. Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power."
nuclear  energy  environment  politics  science  georgemonbiot  power  2011  fukushima  disaster  safety  sustainability 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributor - A Spill of Our Own - NYTimes.com
"Effectively, we’ve been importing oil and exporting spills to villages and waterways all over the world.
disaster  oil  gulfoilspill  us  energy  2010  demand  regulation 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Ushahidi :: Crowdsourcing Crisis Information (FOSS)
"Our goal is to create a platform that any person or organization can use to set up their own way to collect and visualize information. The core platform will allow for plug-in and extensions so that it can be customized for different locales and needs. The beta version platform is now available as an open source application that others can download for free, implement and use to bring awareness to crisis situations or other events in their own locales, it is also continually being improved tested with various partners primarily in Kenya. Organizations can also use the tool for internal monitoring or visualization purposes.
activism  humanrights  visualization  opensource  violence  socialsoftware  maps  mapping  googlemaps  disaster  crowdsourcing  kenya  crisis  ushahidi  sms  foss  via:preoccupations 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributor - In Chile, Life Between the Tremors - NYTimes.com
"The quake hit Chile in the middle of a presidential transition and right smack at the start of our bicentennial celebration. It’s a testament to our infrastructure and social institutions that the whole country didn’t fall down. But we did stumble. And now, live on HDTV, we hear things that make us remember the dark days of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, words like “the missing,” “curfew” and “state of emergency.”
chile  disaster  earthquakes  2010  upheaval  albertofuguet  rumors 
march 2010 by robertogreco
Surviving A Tsunami—Lessons from Chile, Hawaii, and Japan
"This report contains true stories that illustrate how to survive-and how not to survive-a tsunami. It is meant for people who live, work, or play along coasts that tsunamis may strike. Such coasts surround most of the Pacific Ocean but also include other areas, such as the shores of the Caribbean, eastern Canada, and the Mediterranean.
tsunamis  visualization  earthquakes  preparedness  geography  safety  weather  disaster  surfing  ocean  geology  travel  pacific  chile  japan  hawaii 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Haiti Rewired
"Will foreign aid to Haiti fail this time? Or will the tragedy bring with it a chance to reboot one of the world's poorest countries -- & rethink the the traditional ways of delivering aid & development?...the disaster may prove to be a unique chance for an architectural & communications reboot of an entire country. That's why we've created this community, Haiti Rewired. We believe that better answers to the difficult questions could be created through the collaboration of technologists, researchers, geographers, infrastructure specialists, aid groups & others. Our writers & editors can aggregate information, report new stories & add to the discussion, but the focus of this effort is squarely on the thoughts, plans & actions of our contributors...we want to test (5) simple principles that could transform not only Haiti, but the world's response to crisis: Collaboration, Transparency, Innovation, Design, & DIY."

[text from: http://haitirewired.wired.com/profiles/blogs/haiti-rewireds-mission ]

[via: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/5054 ]
technology  community  collaborative  creativecommons  development  haiti  philanthropy  transparency  innovation  design  glvo  collaboration  diy  disasters  disaster  rebooting  infrastructure  geography  aid  gamechanging 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Unluckiest Country | Foreign Policy
"The second-oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere has been wracked by coups, dictators, and foreign interventions throughout nearly its entire history. But you don't have to agree with Pat Robertson to agree that even by Haitian standards, the last few decades have been particularly tragic."
haiti  history  disaster  caribbean 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Is The Large Hadron Collider Being Sabotaged from the Future? - Large hardron collider - io9
"What if all the Large Hadron Collider's recent woes are more than bad luck and technical problems? Two noted physicists speculate that the future may be pushing back on the LHC to avert the disaster of observing the Higgs boson ... they put forth the notion that observing the Higgs boson would be such an abhorrent event that the future is actually trying to prevent it from happening."
technology  higgsboson  lhc  paradox  timetravel  physics  theory  science  future  disaster  boson 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Seed: 2009 Will Be a Year of Panic: From the fevered mind of Bruce Sterling and his alter-ego, Bruno Argento, a consideration of things ahead.
"So 2009 will be a squalid year, a planetary hostage situation surpassing any mere financial crisis, where the invisible hand of the market, a good servant turned a homicidal master, periodically wanders through a miserable set of hand-tied, blindfolded, feebly struggling institutions, corporations, bureaucracies, professions, and academies, and briskly blows one's brains out for no sane reason."
brucesterling  brunoargento  future  2009  currency  disaster  predictions  business  environment  world  seed  panic  climate  copyright  futurism  economics  politics  money  collapse  crisis  insurance  science  intellectualproperty  culture 
january 2009 by robertogreco
SHRIMP (Sustainable Housing for Refugees via Mass Production) Refugee Housing » Portfolio » Vestal Design
"attempt to bring housing and other relief to large displaced or homeless populations, especially those who have suffered in a natural disaster. Providing shelter to a family of four, it folds up into 1/4 of a shipping container for efficient deployment"
prefab  shelter  homes  housing  emergencies  disaster  architecture  design 
october 2007 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Lights among the ruins
"In twenty years' time will I be out holding up some pathetic light among the ruins of a destroyed city, wondering where my wife is, dying of thirst, deaf in one ear, covered in radiation burns?

Or is that just a peculiarly American form of pessimist survivalism? Or do I just read too much Sebald?"
future  disaster  pessimism  survivalism  history  war  environment  economics  wgsebald  books  cities  society 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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