Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The violence of climate change feeds potential for human violence

Ferguson is no different than Gaza or Syria: it is a Mecca for disaffection. And like those other sites, the inherent injustices are circumstantially fueled.
I find it both heart-breaking and mentally exhausting to try to understand the conflicts we see around the world now. I am not alone. It seems difficult for even the most sophisticated people to layer the complex sources and consequences of the imbalances that lead to chaos. The geopolitics, biogeography and local demographics need to be separately teased apart and viewed dispassionately, at a time when few of us have the skills or even the incentive to take that on. That, however, is the task ahead for us all. It is a good one for ecological art. 

My previous research on correlating climate change and conflict zones gives me a modest head start. In terms of correlating observations between Ferguson, Gaza and Syria, besides being on similar meridians, they share what Dr. Jim White & I analyzed in "Trigger Points/ Tipping Points," for "Weather Report," for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007: that conflict zones will follow climate change hot spots. Geopolitically, as biogeographically, the chaos of disruption will eliminate the previously balanced competitive system and the role/ functions of many species/ human groups in that previous system. Other species/ groups will be reduced because the interactions shift dramatically. If we consider the principles of island biogeography that contend a steady intake outtake flow will sustain a measure of equilibrium, then we can observe how the equilibrium of previous ecosystems will end. The result on the biological level is the collapse of ecosystem biodiversity. In human terms, this means war.

What I am curious about in Ferguson, is whether the best minds can help another self-organization emerge rather than the descent into increasing anguish we are witnessing? As in the Middle East, these conflagrations are irresistible opportunities for invasive elements, whether you call them instigators, ISIS or European green crabs. 

The tragic mistake I fear, is the probability that the imminent socio-political goal is order for it's own sake rather than combining due process with the needed global macro approach I foresee as necessary. Without the macro view, I believe we will continue to see these kinds of disruptions escalate, proliferate and destroy civilization as we know it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cold eyes on hot issues

Today, international peace has shattered again. Addressing bioregional patterns seems remote. But that is exactly what I think we must continue to do, regardless of the present conflicts. Since I began this blog, I have shared my thinking and research, trying to layer bioregional, trigger point concerns with larger systemic trends.

Yesterday, I wrote hesitantly, during what had looked like a detente in israel-Gaza, before news of ISIS moving forward in Iraq to claim more lives. I had hoped a period of peace might be an opportunity for the world to think thru logical responses to illogical situations.

A month ago, I performed the following Gulf to Gulf webcast with Dr. James White, my long term collaborator on climate change issues. This is that link:

In that recorded session, we discussed the larger problems: that too many want too much from too little.
This webcast was important as an example of how we might use different tools to predict changes in large patterns and systems and to move towards solutions.

These conversations have been explorations of how informed conversations may be integrated with some of the same predictive layering as Geographic Information Systems science, which would verify some intuitive conclusions. Right now, the Pentagon may be the only institution attempting that with computers. However, the Gulf to Gulf webcasts have been experiments in seeing how accurate alternative predictive results might be. In this case, the predictions that emerged from our conversations in 2007 were all too horrifically correct, giving some credence to this methodology.

The conclusion that emerged included the premise, developed from my own research work, that our solutions will somehow emerge from the paradoxical conflicts we now find ourselves immersed in. What those solutions on the ground may be, are not yet clear to me. However, I'm sure they will not appear in expected forms, such as shouting at each other across divides or allowing horror to avert our eyes from reality.

In this case, I think ISIS and other geopolitical forces are effecting the biological imperatives to reduce human populations that we have been unwilling or unable to effect in more humane ways. We cannot overcome that imperative or the conditions that catalyzed ISIS, without addressing the complex relationships between agents.