Creating irresistible demand
for a global atmosphere upgrade

Bruce Sterling's Viridian Design Movement


Viridian Note 00453: The March of Khaki Green
by Bruce Sterling
Key concepts:
military responses to the Greenhouse Effect
Attention Conservation Notice:
We Viridians have been talking about this notion since 1998, and, well, here it comes.
That's right, since 1998.
"I'm not saying there will be no more use for environmental design issues after a catastrophe; I'm just saying it won't be the province of an arty avant-garde."
Now look back to the mayhem in 2003 when Canberra was on fire. It's the Katrina story avant la lettre. "The firestorms that hit Canberra on Saturday, laying waste to suburban streets and overwhelming firefighters, were the capital's worst. 'This is certainly the most devastating bushfire experience that any community in Australia has ever suffered,' said John Stanhope, Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory. Mr Stanhope defended emergency services against criticism that they were unprepared for the scale of the disaster, with hundreds of householders left to fight the flames alone with buckets and garden hoses. 'It was a one-in-100 or 200 years' experience, an event of such enormity, of such force and such devastating power that it simply ran over the top of us,' he said. (((It's easy to predict the future when all you have to do is predict the past. Every time people in power who deny the Greenhouse get their ass kicked, they always proclaim that nobody could have imagine such a thing. We don't have to "imagine" it, guys. All one has to do is document it.)))

Here in 2005, after seven Viridian years, I'm writing this Note in the hall of the ERA 05 ICSID World Design Conference in Copenhagen. This has got to be a textbook case of a design dilettante getting too close to his material.
Here's CNN; Fox News likely wouldn't report this story even if there were American troops deployed in Fox newsrooms.

Source: Julie Mason, Houston Chronicle Sept. 25, 2005, 11:33PM


"Bush looks to Pentagon to take lead in disasters If Congress likes idea, local officials would lose some of their powers

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

"BATON ROUGE – President Bush indicated Sunday that he may ask Congress to put the Pentagon in charge of the response to domestic disasters such as the two recent hurricanes – a change that could take authority from the hands of governors and local officials. (((That's not the lede; the lede is that climate change has overwhelmed the pretense of civilian capacity. It's not about Bush power versus government power. We don't yet have a society capable of responding to genuine Greenhouse enormities.))) "Bush discussed the idea in general terms as prominent members of Congress said on public affairs TV shows that the responses to Katrina and Rita will be investigated and that a new approach may be needed to coordinate rescue and recovery efforts. "At a briefing at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, military leaders who are members of Joint Task Force-Rita told the president that a national plan for disaster response would avert the 'train wreck' of future Hurricane Katrinas. (((The organizational problem at hand would be much better understood as a train of Katrinas. It's not that a big storm comes and you pass the blame buck. It's that big storms come all the time.)))

"Army Maj. Gen. John White told Bush that chaos, combined with good intentions, led to problems in responding to Katrina that could be averted with better oversight.

'"That was a train wreck we saw in New Orleans,' White said. 'But if we can have a national plan that would address the search and rescue at this magnitude, (that) is what we're out to try to do.'" (((It's good to see that Bush's military subordinates fully share his rhetorical clarity.)))

"Assessing the response

"A tired-looking Bush, who traveled to U.S. Northern Command in Colorado and to Austin, San Antonio and Baton Rouge this weekend to assess storm response, said it was exactly the message he wanted to take back to Washington. (((Anybody want to place a bet on how many storms this guy has to spin during the rest of his tenure?)))

"'Part of the reason I've come down here, and part of the reason I went to Northcom, was to better understand how the federal government can plan and surge equipment to mitigate natural disasters,' Bush said. (((I'm liking this "surge" thing; your city's underwater and eaten by mold, but, well, here comes a federal "surge." Maybe the key to future life is to forget about living in cities and find a way to inhabit "surges."))) "In the case of a terrorist attack, the Defense Department would automatically serve as the lead authority in overseeing a response, Bush said. But he added that the Pentagon also could take a top role in a large-scale natural disaster. (((Why not just cut to the chase and reclassify Exxon-Mobil as 'climate terrorists'?))) "'Is there a natural disaster which – of a certain size, that would then enable the Defense Department to become the lead agency in coordinating and leading the response effort?" Bush asked rhetorically. "That's going to be a very important consideration for Congress to think about."

"Such a move would have significant implications for local authorities in storm-prone states such as Texas, Florida and Louisiana. (((Not to mention earthquake-prone states, volcano-prone states, forest-fire-prone states, drought-prone states, flood-prone states, Arctic-thaw prone states, and climate-tipping-re-routing-of-the Sargasso Current prone states, mostly in Europe.))) "Decreasing states' rights (((Protect your 'right' to be rescued from drowning by your own mayor)))

"Currently, state governors are responsible for disaster preparedness and response, including calling in their National Guard units. "Governors can request assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If federal armed forces are brought in to help, they do so in support of FEMA and their activities are restricted by law. (((I wonder if King Canute had a FEMA. "See that monster tidal surge? That thing's restricted by law.")))

"Putting the planning and oversight in the Pentagon's hands would effectively federalize disaster response, possibly eroding states' legal rights, which Bush and many other conservatives have worked to strengthen. ((("Baghdad on the Mississippi." I wonder if they'll get New Orleans on its feet before Miami or Houston gets clobbered.)))

"Still, White said better coordination at the federal level would head off situations such as the arrival of five helicopters at one place to rescue the same person in New Orleans. (((Five choppers for one damsel in distress? That ought to be par for the course for Paris Hilton.))) "'That's the sort of simplistic thing we'd like to avoid, and we're not maximizing the use of our forces to best efficiency,' White said. "Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., asked on ABC's This Week if the U.S. has the resources for the military to take the lead in disaster recovery. 'We're capable of doing it, but have no doubt that there is a strain on the Guard in particular because of their requirements to be deployed to Iraq,' said the senator, a Vietnam War veteran. (((I'd be guessing we run out of soldiers well before the ocean runs out of storms.))) "McCain also expressed concern over the projected surge in government spending (((There's that "surge" buzzword again))) in the wake of the two storms, saying the federal budget deficit may reach more than $500 billion this year. (((Someday they're gonna wake up and realize that Kyoto was cheaper than losing New Orleans.)))

"Gaps in preparedness

"Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican and chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is conducting hearings to examine the government recovery effort after Katrina. "You would think four years after 9/11, with billions of dollars spent to improve our emergency preparedness, that the response to Katrina would be far crisper, far better coordinated and not marred by failures at all levels of government,' Collins said on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. (((At least this woman can emit coherent English. I wonder what she'll say about the federal billions that vanish sideways into New Orleans. If they can't even prepare for emergencies, how the heck are they gonna rebuild?)))

"Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the senior Democrat on the Homeland and Government Affairs Committee, called for creation of an independent Sept. 11-type commission to examine the Katrina response and the nation's general state of emergency preparedness."

(((It's pathetic to listen to these clowns moan and fingerpoint, while failing to ever raise the issue of weather violence.)))

Link:,1280,-5306043,00.html (((There's no cure for demolished cities that a contemporary army can give. A plethora of Katrinas doesn't mean Army control of evacuation. You can't park the populations of drowned cities somewhere off camera while Delta Force rebuilds their town. The only effective response to really savage and continuous weather violence has got to be vigorous civil defense and a paramilitarized general populace. Those millions of evacuees who were cluttering highways this week – they're the labor force. They and no one else are the ones who will have to do the heavy lifting, because it's their cities and their world that has been destabilized by climate change.)))

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