Wednesday, January 13, 2010

making mountains, and the intrigues of geoengineering

It seems like the coming years could really be the years where we are going to make big changes, and create projects of global proportions. The term 'geoengineering' is uprising, and heated talks about pumping sulfate gas into the atmosphere in order to reduce global warming are popping up like mushrooms. We are hacking the planet, and in that we come to learn that treating it as a technology is the new paradigm for creation.

As our technologies increasingly extend the potential impact of our actions, we do need to be careful not to be caught up in the newness of it and impulsively react to the first seductions of our new capabilities. In fact, we need to be more careful than ever or things are going to get really messy. Before making any decision, a very simple method to introduce carefulness is laddering. This simply involves asking ourselves the why question of 'what's the point of that?' over and over again, until we have a reason for everything. And that is not as simple as it seems, in fact we will need answers from people all over the planet and intensively stay connected to them in order to not misinterpret anything. There is no real need for clouds made of marshmallow, a bluer sky, and air that changes its smell everyday, and I don't think we need to find that out by experience.

I am sure that it will turn out that we need to look at nature, and come to understand those things we never really paid attention to: the rocks, the trees and the rivers. Re-introducing lost aspects of the primeval nature we used to live in millenia ago will be a magnificent first step, until the planet we create truly becomes a new home to us.

A nice example of re-introducing nature through technology are some projects involving the creation of artificial hills. These give us the overall physicality of nature, but intertwined with human intelligence of building structures with a minimum amount of material, so there is a lot of space left to inhabit. What a wonderfully intriguing age we live in, with people actually proposing to buildmountains in cities like Berlin and Wroclaw.

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