10 April 2006

Anything is Possible


A chunk of Larsen B ice shelf the size of Rhode Island shattering and falling into the ocean. If USA Today is reporting it, it's not news anymore...

Denial is not a strong creative response to climate change. But how do we keep from collapsing into apocalyptic end-times listing and repeating of future destructions, plagues and mass extinctions (including our own)?

Keep a very firm grip on the fact that this stuff hasn't happened yet. Anything could happen.

We have what it takes, right now, to at least halt the buildup of CO2 and stabilize climate change where it is today. I can easily shut my eyes and imagine a city with solar cells on every rooftop. I can easily imagine a power grid that burns no coal: geothermal and nuclear energy providing a steady baseload, with wind and sunlight providing consequence-free hours sitting and staring at my screen, running my power tools, and heating my home. I can easily imagine everybody driving electric and hybrid cars.

This vision is not apocalyptic. It's not even about reducing anything. It's about more, which makes it a great American story. More factories, more jobs, more investors creating wealth as new growth industries make more billionaires. It's a story of strength and overcoming and there are real human-scale side effects that I personally look forward to. Less pollution means fewer sinus headaches, colds and "allergies". Fewer sick days. Less cancer.

I am not so naive that I don't understand why this is not the narrative of climate change. Intellectual life has been mired in this dead end of deconstructivism (a/k/a recipe for powerlessness) since... well, since I went to college. And we live in a visual culture that is increasingly driven by nihilism.

But I do, as a thinking and doing person, have the right and responsibility to say Fuck That. I don't have to buy Zach Feuer's Republican Artist Prediction to admit that I am tired of being a bitching liberal. I want to be a revolutionary liberal. And it makes me existentially sick to see artists looking down instead of up, collecting and arranging flotsam instead of twisting and dreaming.

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