hat will our singular planet look like when our barely born century expires? We probably wouldn’t recognize it if we could see it now. But we can see it now, and we’re refusing to look. Because we know it will be apocalyptic and revolutionary. We also know it’s our fault.
The future we simultaneous witness but refuse to accept hinges upon the twin terminology of terra and terror. One is the destabilized Earth we call home, the luckiest rock we know spinning through space. The other is an inflammatory cipher weaponized for control and exploitation of the lucky rock’s incredibly shrinking bounty. From continents to seas to metropoles to slums, mass extinctions and resource wars have terrorized our global citizenry and climate stability with hyperreal simulations and propaganda.
And then there are the catastrophic terrors waged by terra itself, as Mother Earth smothers us in our overdeveloped cribs for defiling the natural wonders of her astronomical probability. From our still new but quite fucked 21st century to those in the warming weirding beyond, we puny humans are engineering an exponential planetary crisis that could transform Earth into a Venus way ahead of schedule.
A trophic cascade failure for the ages.
Typhoon Haiyan, intensified by global warming, downplayed by sellouts. (Image: NASA)
We created this singular acceleration, but it is our children, and theirs, who must either adapt with velocity or be doomed to dystopia. They may already be. The only way to find out is to energize a singular acceleration empowered by hearts and minds much more humane and ambitious than our own.
I’ve been covering this existential nexus for many publications over the years, sporadically collating my articles and planning my features and mashing it into a more lasting exegesis on the destabilized worlds we’re creating. It won’t be pretty, but it will be pretty informative.
It’s called Terror and Terraformation, and it co-stars envirogees, on the run from exponology, crafting innovative capture strategies, all in an unraveling cli-fi of nightmare and promise.
Start your dive into what I’ve already written here on Morphizm. If you’re interested in more, MAKE CONTACT. We share the same wondrous planet. We share the same fate, for better or (much) worse.
“Things are moving way too fast. We are out of control.” — Michael Stipe, speaking to Morphizm of acceleration and devolution…
Cli-Fi Is Real
When I first popularized cli-fi in 2009, it was initially inspired by Franny Armstrong’s docu-film The Age of Stupid, a work of science and fiction. Starring the late, great Pete Postelthwaite as a melted Arctic-bound archivist of a humanity that dumbly extincted itself (verb intended), Armstrong’s patient multimedia proved the boundary between what is environmental science and what is cultural narrative has always been what William Gibson described in his foundational Neuromancer as a “consensual hallucination.” He was speaking of the cyberspace in which we all now create ourselves, a floating fiction wherein we inhabit avatars and collectively build a multiverse with an actual future.
But as both climate science and science-fiction have lately warned, Earth does not have a future. And neither do we.
This existential bleed is of course the reason that Christopher Nolan’s cli-fi epic Interstellar reportedly feels like a documentary struggling with a blockbuster, as it wrestles with a titanic human species trying to survive its hyperconsumption and narcissism, on a fucking lucky rock spinning through space. It’s also why continuing reports from the too-conservative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are treated like fiction by sellouts, and always exponentially worse. The latest (finally) explains that global warming is abrupt and irreversible, and that our children will inherit an Anthropocene riven by swallowing seas, searing permadroughts and mass extinction for species of all shapes and sizes.
But both are real, and both are cli-fi.
Exponology: Too Slow, Too Wrong, Too Often
Hope For the Best, Prepare For the Fucking Worst
This early exploration into exponology was originally published Oct. 10, 2007.
Lost in a haze of hyperreal distractions and the weakening of our body politic, we forget in fact how our planet came into being: Violent eruptions, long periods of stability, sometimes equilibrium. But its eruptions were serious, and nothing to shrug off. I’m talking extinction events like the Permian-Triassic, romantically known as the “Great Dying”, a climate change nightmare to end all nightmares. The hangover took millions of years to recover from.
Our reality is, fittingly, worthy of disaster cinema. Holes have developed in the sea ice through which water as large as Niagara Falls has plummeted back to the ocean, greasing the wheels, so to speak, for an even faster melt. Which in turn, getting back again to exponents, is pushing the ice across the sea even faster, and so on. Speaking of disaster cinema, how about this blockbuster? The glacier at Ilulissat, rumored grandpa of the iceberg that sank the Titantic, is now hurtling three times faster into the sea than it was a decade ago. Other glaciers and ice shelves are doing the same dance of doom.
And they’re coming our way.
Shit Happens. (Hyper)Real Fast.
This early exploration into exponology was originally published Feb. 21, 2007.
We’ve all seen the shirt and the bumper sticker. Shit happens. Exponology is here to extend that reality. Shit happens fast. Real fast.
These exponents of an apolitical good life that no longer exists have stood in the way for decades now as the planet has suffered our casual pollution and careless stewardship. And let’s be clear: Ecosystems have a way of righting their own ships. Pestilence, pandemics, exctinctions, they are all capable defense mechanisms against the type of aggressive threats we are farting out of our factories and cars on a daily basis.
And it would behoove us to remain clear on another salient point: Earth is going nowhere. We, on the other hand, have no such cosmological reality indemnifying us against annihilation. Try as we might to destroy the environment, we can only fail. Destroying ourselves, however, won’t be that hard. It will be easier than anyone thinks and, with the help of exponology, faster than anyone can imagine…
Our Sun is our light bulb in the sky, gifting us daily with more power than we can use. I discuss how to divest extinction and supercharge the sunshine industry in GREENVESTING. (Image: NASA/SDO/AIA/Goddard Space Flight Center)