Creating irresistible demand
for a global atmosphere upgrade

Bruce Sterling's Viridian Design Movement


Viridian Note 00454: Hello Alpha
by Bruce Sterling
Key concepts:
the rapidly gathering mayhem
Attention Conservation Notice:
Consists almost entirely of time-consuming links. May not be readable if you are in Florida, New Orleans, or the Yucatan. If you panic easily, it may not be readable, period.

I knew there would be an Alpha. I'm betting on a Delta. If not this year, then next.

There are so many catastrophes this season, even the suicide bombers want to dig people out of the rubble.

You can watch, but you can't hide. Well, actually, you can hide pretty easily, but it's increasingly likely that there will be no place for you to go back to. Not even if you're an oil company. Not even if you're Trent Lott.

Off they go, hither and yon, the damp, dour greenhouse equivalent of the Dust Bowl Okies.

Did you ever read Longfellow's poem "Evangeline?" It's a pretty good poem, especially if you're into massive, permanent Cajun deportations.

"Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed! Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o'er the ocean. Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand-Pre."

"Overall, demographers predict that Katrina will accelerate the population decline that plagued the region well before the storm, By the 2000 census, New Orleans had withered to 485,000 people from its peak of 627,000 in 1960. Louisiana has been shrinking as well; between 1995 and 2000, it was the only state in the country to lose population."

Time to knock about 50,000 drowned homes down inside New Orleans. "Really, the whole scope of this thing is hard to get your mind around." They always say that nowadays, have you noticed that?

It'll be difficult to finance new construction, since the Gulf Storm Zone is becoming uninsurable. "You're in good hands with Allstate," except, well, it's not "good stewardship of the shareholders' capital" to have such titanic losses in "extreme events." "Allstate executives called it a once-in-500 years event and said there is no way to predict such rare catastrophes." Man, no wonder those boneheads are going broke.

Meanwhile, in Dubai, awash with fossil-fuel money, the anti-New Orleans rises from the desert.

Robert Kaplan, Mr. "Coming Anarchy," suddenly gets it about Khaki Green in a New York Times piece called "Next: A War Against Nature."

"Imagine twenty years of this," urges Donald G. McNeil in the New York Times. Hey, imagine two hundred years of this. If the Arctic icecap goes, that's sure no big imaginative stretch.

"If you consider yourself a "conservationist" of any kind, and you're not ardently fighting climate change, you're a ninny.;jsessionid=aaadjB18bfqzwo

Mark Hertsgaard, "Global Storm Warning."

Bill McKibben, "Planet New Orleans."

Mike "City of Quartz" Davis has long been expecting to see benighted Los Angeles come apart at the seams, so it's nice to see him enjoying his patented terriblisma schadenfreude over more general planetary holocaust.

This would be the Indian version of Khaki Green, and they're getting pretty good at it; after their massive Bombay floods, they sent Indian relief to New Orleans.,0008.htm

Sometimes Lord Browne of BP "Beyond Petroleum" sounds like the only sane, calm personage in the world. That's very weird, isn't it?

Maybe that's because, instead of moaning like sheep before the storming slaughter, BP have the will and capacity to build some new things. You know, a set-up like this would make a well-nigh perfect monastery in the Coming Dark Age.

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