Many issues, dilemmas, challenges and opportunities call out for urgent and strategic exploration. Of particular interest to me are the following questions and conundrums, as illustrated by the bolded words and phrases contained in my book.
Appliance Euthanasia / Carbon Exclusion Zones / Carbon Lockbox / Carbon Lock-in / Carbon Retirement / Intentional Grounding / Stranded Studies
Virtually every product that generates or uses fossil fuels will need to be retired – and soon. How do we do that in a humane, ultrafast and just way?
Bifocal Behavior / Big Wisdom / Climate Trustee / Clitanic Era / Long Zoom / Pagency
How can we change our thinking so that our political systems can favor the young, the powerless and the yet to be born?
Bio Geo-engineering / Climate Restoration / Solar Radiation Management / Terra Preta / 2° Dogma
Some – including this writer – argue that climate action is much too focused on emission reductions when it’s the excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that must be a key target for action.
How then do we effectively achieve Climate Restoration – the removal of these excess greenhouse gases (as well as the reversal of Arctic ice melting)? What combination of eco-restoration of natural systems, carbon reutilization, and industrial technologies and processes are sufficient to restore a stable pre-industrial revolution climate?
Biomortis / Carbicide / Carbonoscopy / Civimortis / Climachondriac / Climate Extension Program / Climate Missionary / Ecocholia / Macrosilience / Planetary Hospice / Solastalgia
What are the means to provide climate related advice and assistance to the billions of people who will need it? How do we address the depression, fear, and loss of purpose that may afflict billions while giving respite to those who are too far gone to be saved? How do we support what many are now calling ‘deep adaptation’ or the need to find ways to fully acknowledge the likelihood of some degree of societal collapse in the coming years?
Biophonic Discord / Climate Compositions / Empathy Deficit Disorder / Information Underload / Technohubris
Our education and learning platforms are not systems. Siloed, reductionist, fragmented, and specialized may be good enough for ordinary times, but are disastrous for emergency response. How can we conceive and create learning environments that reflect the wholistic, interconnected, empathic and unitary nature of the world in and around us?
Biotecture / Climate Complete CommunitIes / Deadlihood / Hydropolis / Marsitect / Permatecture / Photosyncities / Planitect / Universal Climate Design
How do we conceive, design, build and maintain neighborhoods, cities and regions that minimize climate risks and maximize opportunities for an engaged and humane life?
Biotic Genocide / Hyperfeedbacks / Terramortis / Tipping Points
No one knows exactly how the many destabilizing biophysical changes to the earth interact with each other. Nor do we know if these forces are now too late to stop and what the consequences are for all of life. How do we organize to understand and address these truly existential impacts?
Carbon Cap Commissions / Carbon Defense Advanced Research Project Agency / Carbon Reserve Bank / C Corps (Climate Corps) / International Climate Corps / World Climate Organization
What are the international institutions that must be created to direct effective climate action? How do we convince nations to not only create this next wave of multinational entries but to do so in ways that grant them enough autonomy to get things done and enough accountability to be responsive to our wishes?
Carbon Piracy / Carbon Recriminations / Carbon War Criminals / Climate Crimes Against Humanity / Climate Justice System / Climate Truth and Reconciliation Commission / Friends of the Enemies of the Earth / Planetary Personhood
How do societies come to terms with those, particularly in government, the media and the ‘carbon combustion complex’ – a term coined by Naomi Orestes – with enormous power who have consistently thwarted climate progress for ideological, economic, religious or other reasons.
Carbon Tourniquet / Climaceuticals / Climadelics / Climate Palliation / Collective Empathy / Planetary Prosthetics
What is the potential role of psychedelics in enhancing emotional resilience and acceptance of climate breakdown? What kinds of products, acting as planetary prosthetics or climaceuticals, may allow us to physically and emotionally thrive or at least survive in extreme climate conditions?
Central Climate Conundrum / Great Gamble / One Generation Challenge
The central climate conundrum is why we haven’t yet mobilized, knowing that we’re in the process of destroying our own lives and the lives of virtually every species on earth.
Maybe the answer to the conundrum is simpler than we think. To paraphrase what former Texas Governor Ann Richards said about George W. Bush, “We in the modern world were born on third base and yet thought we hit a triple”.
It was our fortuitous (at least until now) discovery of fossil fuels more than our cleverness, hard work, technology, religion or economic system that placed us on third base. And now the planet is in the process of throwing us out while we attempt to steal home.
How can we create places and experiences that safely and engagingly immerse people in the many dimensions of the climate crisis? Is the Climatarium, as developed at Columbia University a useful model?
Climate Cliff / Planetary Panic Points / Procrastination Penalty
We’re learning from COVID-19 that understanding exponential growth is a critical prerequisite for effective control of a pandemic. How do we convey and act on the equally urgent need to minimize the climate procrastination penalty – a penalty that grows exponentially the longer we wait to act with emergency speed and scale on climate?
Climate Committee to Save the World / Climate Tithing / One Percent for Climate / Robin Carbon Hood Tax / Waltons to the Rescue
With two handfuls of families controlling half the wealth of the planet, how do we either engage these folks to invest their resources in ways that restore the climate, or find ways to seize and/or immobilize these assets?
Climate Pulitzers / Distraction Dilemma / Kardashian Climate Index / Media Omertá
The climate crisis demands our – mostly – undivided attention at a time when so much distraction is built into our culture and our lives. How do we overcome a Distraction Dilemma so complete as to privilege information about the Kardashians more than knowledge of the soon to be climatastrophe?
Frozen Chicken Syndrome
Named after the practice of shooting chickens from guns to test the strength of airplane windshields.
According to the likely urban legend a frozen, rather than a fresh, chicken was accidentally shot from the gun and smashed through a train windshield window and into the next compartment. (British Rail supposedly borrowed the technique — if not the chickens — from the American plane testers.)
Whether or not the story is true the frozen chicken syndrome is meant to convey the fact that stuff happens, things go wrong and snafus (Situation Normal All Fucked Up) occur.
We have to transform our energy and agricultural systems, our dietary practices, as well as our transport, housing and urban sectors in a very few years to have a chance of preserving some semblance of a livable planet. To do this will require extraordinary commitment and unity, precision planning and almost flawless execution worldwide. Yet the frozen chicken syndrome will be lurking behind every decision and
every action, reminding us of all that can — and perhaps will — go wrong along the way to a zero-carbon world.
Can we find ways to thaw the many frozen chickens that slow climate action?
Modern Climate Monetary Theory / Universal Repricing
Without radical understanding of how monetary systems thwart massive action on climate and other socially beneficial public and private goods we’ll never be able to successfully transcend the climate crisis. How do we address this formidable yet potentially manageable obstacle?
National Climate Conversations / National Climate Partnership Plan
What would a series of millions of small – and large – group conversations on climate across the nation and the globe look like, and what difference might they make?
Ocean Hawks are those who believe that aggressive action to reduce the impact of harmful forces on our oceans is essential.
The oceans are failing. Precipitously and mostly unseen. Among the most alarming trends are a 30% increase in acidification, dramatic increases in coral reef bleaching, a 40% loss of phytoplankton since 1950, a reduction in oxygen levels, and an estimated 50% decrease in marine populations just since 1970.
How do we create an awareness of the need for radical action to help restore them? And what should that action look like?
Smart Degrowth / Syntheticism
A key cleavage amongst climate activists and intellectuals are those subscribing to what I call the ‘smart degrowth’ movement versus those who accept the desirability (or at least the inevitability) of climate progress in the context of capitalist or ‘deep growth’ models. Who’s ‘right’?