The Viridian Design Movement

Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 8:32 PM

Subject: Viridian Note 00353: Holiday Cheer 2002

Key concepts
Invitation to Viridian New Years Party, live music on the Viridian lawn, North Pole melting, Alan AtKisson, SFMOMA, AMODA, the Ghost of Christmas Future
Attention Conservation Notice:
You can come over here for New Years and witness our renewably-powered Xmas display.

This weekend, I'm at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, (SFMOMA) pontificating with hip European net.artists. It's good to be the pontiff.
On the evening of Sunday December 22nd, some Austin Museum of Digital Art (AMODA) guys have promised to come out and digitally jam in our front yard in the very thick of the Christmas crowds. Failing, you know, eerie monster hailstorms or something. And no, AMODA don't do no Christmas carols. I'm not sure how you categorize that music, but it's weird and it comes out of machines.
Then the season's finale: New Years' at the Viridian Vatican. We're throwing the doors open for 2003. There will be some tasty surprises, plus the traditional neighborhood New Years surveillance of the insane light show on Austin's 37th Street. I'm not boasting, not just yet, but this may, finally, be the year where I wipe the floor with our 37th Street rivals. Send email for directions. You can bring anything you can carry and anybody you trust.
Well, there goes the Arctic. Check out that graphic of the sea ice diminishing. It's transforming fast. We may hit some major climate crux during the Bush Administration. Would that surprise the powers-that-be more than the sudden collapse of Enron? Probably not!

(((And now, a topical, seasonal piece by Alan AtKisson, noted author and long-valued member of the Viridian Curia.)))



"An Occasional Column on Sustainability, Innovation, and Global Affairs


"(c) 2002 by Alan AtKisson
Permission granted to turn this into an email virus.

"Dear Santa,

"This year, unlike certain previous years in my life, I have been a relatively 'good boy.' Starting a family will do that to a person. I'm betting that I've made your list for a pretty good present.

"However, I'm afraid that what I really want for Christmas this year, you can't give me: a new energy system for planet Earth. A stabilization in our emission of greenhouse gasses. The avoidance of global climate catastrophe.

"I'm betting that no amount of patient, no-complaints baby care gets you that big a pile of chips to play in the old Christmas Casino. You can't cash in your karma on miracles.

"But Santa, you know, global warming is a lot more real than you are.

"You know as well as I do that Nature does what it does, regardless of whether certain political leaders and automobile advertisers might like to pretend to the contrary.

"In fact, you know the immutability of Nature's laws better than I do, since you're sitting up there on a melting sheet of ice that's thinned 40% since the 1970s.

By midcentury, Santa, you'll need a summer houseboat – for you, the elves, and several thousand homeless polar bears.

"And apparently, there's not a snowball's chance in Bangladesh that we humans are going to do much about it. Did you see the news from India, Santa, about the latest international climate negotiations conference?

"'Experts espousing the views of industry were thrilled with the shift in New Delhi,' said the New York Times on November 3, 2002. The 'shift' was this: the world is basically giving up on trying to stop or slow down global warming. 'Industry' (not all industry – some industry makes the 'Nice' list) was thrilled because they won't have to invest in innovation, pay carbon taxes, reinvent their products, convert to zero-emissions energy systems.

"All the serious talk now, said the Times, is about adapting to the inevitable.

"Santa, I know climate change is inevitable, because it is already happening. I try to read the science journals, in between diaper changes: I know that hundreds if not thousands of indicators, from the pole-ward migration of warmer-climate species, to the increase in devastating El Ninos, are 'consistent with the expected effects of an increase in global temperatures.'" "Because I've been patiently taught, I know – unlike about two-thirds of MIT graduate students tested on this question! – that even if we stopped emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gasses today, global temperatures would continue to rise for years.

"It's called 'a delay in the system.' It is going to happen, for the same reason that summer days keep getting hotter even when they're getting shorter (after June 21, for you and me, who both live in the northern hemisphere).

"You know all about delays in the system, Santa. That's why after you make your lists, you check them twice, in case some naughtiness or niceness got reported late.

"But delay or not, I'm not willing to just give up, and watch my favorite Andean glaciers or Swedish ski areas disappear. I don't like the idea of New Orleans vanishing under 20 feet of water when the next global-warming- enhanced hurricane goes partying on Bourbon Street. (People usually drink 'Hurricanes' on Bourbon Street; this Hurricane could drink them.)

"Santa, I know it is unseemly for a grown man to come begging and pleading to a fictitious troll in a red polyester suit.But I'm writing to you, rather than to our World Leader types, because the World Leaders have essentially tossed in their monogrammed towels. You – the great dispenser of unexpected gifts for the often barely deserving – seem to be our only hope.

"So, Santa, please give us something to replace the burning of fossil fuels.

"You've got to give it to us quick, and it's got to be relatively cheap and easy to spread around – because let's face it, Santa, everybody wants energy. And food (grown with energy). And water (transported with energy). And transport (powered by energy). But we've got, well, bad energy right now. Energy is our major need, and our major problem. Major change is in order.

"For instance, if we're really going to do something about global warming, all our cars need different motors. All our coal-fired power plants need to be converted to some space-age hydrogen fuel cell array, or maybe some wacky Tesla coil device, harvesting the warps and woofs of space itself.

"I don't know if you've got something like that for us in that slick, reindeer-powered, zero-emissions sled of yours, Santa, but you better have something. We're about to go to war over this stuff, again – just in time for Christmas.

"But I'm not giving up hope. We may be a kooky species who, when it comes to planetary management, is still a little slow on the uptake. But we try to be good. We deserve to be on the 'Nice list, even if some of us are being a little naughty with our corporate accounting practices.

"Santa, please, give us a new energy system. Give us climate stability. Give our great-grandchildren the gift of a white, icicle-y, Frosty-the-Snowman Christmas. "Or better yet – give us the guts to do it ourselves."

Visit the AtKisson,Inc. website at <>. We do consulting on how to change the seemingly inevitable.

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