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Solastalgia Notes I

These notes were spawned by a series of posts I started writing, inspired by a binge of Bruce Sterling talks I missed between 2018-2019. Original post on Solastalgia here. One more micro-post each day this week.

The climate crisis is here […] I always wondered how people would react. I’m pretty sure it’s fantastic catastrophes that people just kinda shrug about. […] $150 billion dollars in damages, I don’t trust large sums like that. But I wonder how many $150 billion hits Houston can take? What happens? We know what America looks like when people give up after a storm- it looks like Puerto Rico.

Bruce Sterling @ SXSW 2018, on Hurricane Harvey,

Houston is the fifth most populous metropolitan area in the United States. Hurricane Harvey (2017) is tied with Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, according to the NOAA. “It doesn’t seem very likely that Houston would become Puerto Rico, but what if it did?” How many stair steps are there between Houston and San Juan, really?

Brief counterpoint on extrapolating from the present, generally: in a long-dead link, the Archdruid once remarked that if he was dropped in the early 20th century with no foreknowledge of the rest of the century, he would have picked Germany as the place to be- perfectly reasonable, but it would have been a bumpy ride. Likewise, our read of the past is overdetermined and maybe delusional- the ancient Greeks are as responsible for modern democracy as they are for atomic theory.

(To be clear- they are not. )

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