Recommended ReadsMay 14th, 2019

New philosophy for the Anthropocene era

Ryley Lawson
Ryley Lawson, Senior Design Researcher

The good news is that Hurricane Isaiah hasn’t happened. It’s an imaginary calamity based on models and research. The bad news is that it’s only a matter of time before it does.”

This piece – set in the highly disaster-prone seaside oil refineries of Houston, Texas – uses speculative fiction as a tool for making sense of the incredibly complex and distributed mess that we’re in. It examines the challenge of getting through to people through a literary and philosophical lens.

I’ve never liked the way the word ‘engaging’ gets thrown around, especially in relation to design. It’s an empty placeholder for a slew of other qualities of a thing, including urgency, immediacy, effectiveness and clarity. There’s a lot to be said for those qualities though – for the using a variety of methods to engage people.

One of the (many) troubles with climate change is that it’s “so huge and so long-lasting that you can’t point to it directly, you can only point to symptoms or parts of it.” I am the climate catastrophe and you are the climate catastrophe and that makes it endlessly difficult to grapple with. But we need all the help we can get in grappling with it, because, as this exploration of the affects of a hypothetical Texan hurricane shows, “all global warming is local”.


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