Creatives versus Doomers: WE Are the Planet

Neal Stephenson has said that he is interested in “the attention span of our society” and comments that we have “350 years of perspective” on the scientific process. In the face of climate disruption, can Cultural Creatives prove the Doomers and Deniers wrong? This week, a symposium at UMass Amherst aims to “Harvest Hope.”

Neal Stephenson said that we’ve now got “350 years of perspective” on the scientific process, and that he is interested in “the attention span of our society” (p. 269, Some Remarks).

Me too.

Twiliocon-developer renaissance 2013-09-19 at 7.41.52 PMLong dialogues are challenging for many reasons. They require perseverance, for one thing, and humility too – because if you stick around long enough you’re bound to encounter perspectives and learn things that cause you to realize some of your own failings and limitations. Thus, long dialogues require courage of a very particular kind. Inspired by some teenagers a few years ago, I began calling this kind of courage “character.” (Specifically #KRKTR, but I will not elaborate upon that digression here.)

Climate disruption and it’s characters

The 2013 scientific report on climate change reiterates  that the “debate on science is over, [the] time to act is now” and another study on the timing of climate change reveals shocking results: “Regardless of the scenario, changes will be coming soon,” said lead author Camilo Mora. “Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past.”

DGR quote from Arundhati Roy  2013-05-08 at 10.00.29 AMDeniers are caught up in the zeitgeist, playing the political and social drama. The Doomers have already given up. Guy McPherson leads the charge, passionately arguing that hope is dead and only love remains. Avowed Doomers have a head start on the rest of us, because they believed the science from the beginning and have been preparing for the collapse of industrial society. Those Who’ve Given Up more quietly immerse themselves in the immediate concerns of self-gratification and accommodating friends, family and coworkers. Cultural creatives are exercising a different kind of imagination, proposing a mythological kind of speculative living that holds out the promise of transformation.

“When we realize we are the planet,
we’ll be more inclined to do what’s necessary to save it.”

 ~ Christian Williams
reviewing Journey of the Universe for Utne Reader.

12% of the Solution: Biochar

Twelve percent is not enough, of course, to reverse the damage to the atmosphere. Taken in conjunction with other large-scale initiatives (whether these are led by government or quarterbacked by leaders in localized communities), restoring the soil of the planet—the earth of the earth—is essential. Using principles of holistic design based in geographical features and natural processes, there is no reason why human ingenuity cannot be turned to the creation and implementation of a greenprint for the planet. The only obstacle is us getting in our own way.

Biochar: For the Roots is the first in a projected series of Greenprint videos. A captioned version is available here. The series premieres at the North American Biochar Symposium: Harvesting Hope hosted at UMass Amherst from Oct 13-16, 2013.

3 thoughts on “Creatives versus Doomers: WE Are the Planet”

  1. Creatives vrs doomers. Some points regarding perspectives. Guy McPherson is listed above as a leading protagonist of the doomers point of veiw. As a self proclaimed ‘lifelong academic’ i can understand where he is comming from even if i am not one myself. After studying the information available about climate change and the importance placed on the solutions, the trends present in our societal behavior would suggest his point of veiw is ‘ bang on the money’ or spot on. However, I beleive that this point of veiw is nesessary to illicit a greater amount of people to make fundamental changes in their behavior towards a solution. If you like its the ‘Shock & Awe” syndrome. If this type of belief gets the ball rolling on more sustainable practices in the general populace, even if its just a few, then we should use the fear tactics that are repeated used on us by those in control of this culture to effect change. Its what they understand. Identifying the principle means by which the population is kept in this cycle of economic feudalism is only the first step and most of the work has already been done. The mechanisms are there being used in our every waking moment.
    The subversive use of those mechanisms is only one tool in the toolbox and one of the basic principles is to divide and conquer. The very same us and them mentality which I am seeing here. Think about it. Then think again.

  2. Hi Jon,

    Yes, I agree with you that Guy’s perspective is necessary and productive. I am glad that he is willing to be out there on that limb.

    What I’m interesting in are the next steps, especially figuring out how to link them together so that they can accumulate into effective interventions.

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