Planological Fiction: In the Desert

As Bill McKibben‘s The End of Nature and Barry Lopez‘s About this Life wrestle for the top slot on my bedside table I’ve been thinking more about geography. Specifically, the changes being wrought on various geographies that may well be caused by global warming. California is turning to tinder, a Chinese dust bowl looms. Both the Northwest and Northeast Passages are becoming viable marine transportation routes due to the rapid melting (and lack of refreezing) of arctic sea ice. Hypoxic oceanic “dead zones” are springing up like Starbucks cafes. It seems most models designed to predict the results of global warming agree that increased evaporation rates across wide swaths of the continental interiors of (currently) tropical and temperate climatic zones will lead, eventually, to irreversible desertification. Cheery.

Everything said above is old news to most people, or should be, and without anything new to add to the conversation I wasn’t sure how to engage it. So I thought I’d make something up. Fiction can go places and do things that science can’t, and so long as it resists morality its transportive qualities can help us see the world as it might be. Fiction is a mode of exploration, not of judgment, a way of slipping into shoes and looking through eyes that are both simultaneously familiar and exotic. Hopefully it makes us think. I have no idea whether the following story succeeds at any of these goals. But somebody has to post the first piece of planological fiction, and since the blog is mine…

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One Response to Planological Fiction: In the Desert

  1. roz says:

    it’s not really a reply….but i wanted to remind any boston/surrounding area residents about the “city as stage city as process” lectures going on at MIT on monday nights. it looks like a pretty great series; do check it out if you feel so inclined.

    http://mediacity.mit.edu/lecture-series/

    by the way josh this is an awesome site. nice work and thank you.

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