Brain Dropping #133
Is Earth Fucked? No that isn’t my foul-mouthed persona talking, that’s the title of a presentation
given by Brad Werner, a “complex systems” researcher at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union
held on Dec. 2012 in San Francisco. 2,400 earth and space scientists were in attendance. Most of this Brain Dropping is taken from an article about that meeting by Naomi Klein. I guess to spare some of the more straitlaced scientists the title was printed thus: “Is Earth F**cked? Dynamical Futility of Global Environmental Management and Possiblities for Sustainability Via Direct Action Activism.”
Brad Werner walked the crowd through the advanced computer model he used to answer that question. The jargon flew hot and heavy: “System Boundaries” – “Perturbations” – “Dissipation” – “Attractors” –“Bifurcations” and other stuff incomprehensible to the uninitiated in complex systems theory. But the bottom line was clear: “Global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that earth-human systems are becoming dangerously unstable.” When asked by a reporter: “Are we fucked?” Werner set the jargon aside. “More or less,” he replied.
One dynamic in Werner’s model offered a ray of hope. He termed it “Resistance” – movements of groups of people who adopt a set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture. This includes “environmental direct action – protests – blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups.” He observed that mass uprisings of people along the lines of the Abolitionist Movement, the Civil Rights Movement or Occupy Wall Street represent the likeliest source of friction to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control. “If we’re thinking about the future of the earth and our environment we have to include resistance as part of that dynamic. It’s really a geophysics problem.”
Brad Werner is talking about revolution folks, if we are going to keep the planet from being FUCKED!