Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Humanity's Impact

This article compares the world of today with the world that sent out the Golden Record. Some thoughts ...


There would be no images of war in this time capsule, insisted project leader Carl Sagan—these might appear threatening to extra-terrestrials, the Records’ intended recipients.

That's one good reason. Another -- and a compelling reason NOT to advertise what a wreck the world is now -- is to avoid advertising weakness to total strangers who may or may not be friendly.


Some talks included clips from Hollywood disaster movies—colossal waves engulfing cities, towering infernos, hordes of people fleeing. At the day’s end we were asked to dream up pitches for Anthropocene-themed television, drama that might consciousness raise about climate change or shift careless audience behaviors. During a later meeting on this project I was asked, what message would my work ultimately send?

Well, I've spent ~40 years saying "Don't fuck it up." Sometimes I write about hopeful futures, other times horrible ones, always enjoining people to think about what they're doing. Beyond that, I've been warning people not to wreck the Earth since I could talk. It has only gotten a great deal worse; the ones in power don't listen. At this point, a big reason behind my continued action is simply so I can stand in the foyer-ever-after and say, "I fucking TOLD YOU SO."


No matter how intricately detailed, or how much its sturm und drang yanks the heartstrings, the Hollywood disaster flick has always seemed pure escapism to me, not least because its imperiled populations are nearly always Western and white while the numbers of actual dead increase in weather ravaged places like Haiti and Indonesia.

Sustained. I also find it frustrating that so few of them include any real examples of useful survival skills. "San Andreas" had a few memorable ones, though.

On the bright side, "disasters so white" is a problem that's easy to fix. The Big One thread has had Hispanic and Asian characters from the beginning because they're a significant part of the demographics on the West Coast. Some installments, like "Kawaii Robotto" and "No Es Problema," focus specifically on those characters. If you want more, you can prompt for that. If you want to see a disaster set in Haiti, Indonesia, Africa, or some other place poorer and darker then I am all for it. This includes if you want to specify residents only rather than outside aid. The next Creative Jam will be May 18-19 with a theme of "Justice" and the next Poetry Fishbowl will be June 4 with a theme of "Oaths and Promises."


As I listened to their predictions, I thought of naturalist Aldo Leopold’s observation that to receive an ecological education “is to live alone in a world of wounds.”

No shit. As maddening as it is to suffer a world despoiled by people who slept through history class, it's the ones who slept through science class that have created disasters big enough to threaten humanity's survival. >_<
Tags: activism, news, science
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