Note — Oct 27, 2019

A World We Built to Burn

Quinn Norton on the infrastructural “technical dept” we’ve accrued over the last few hundreds years, how the climate crisis and ecosystem collapse are making things worse, and on the importance of having a plan “at every level from transnational to individual.” It’s a very good down to earth perspective on the current situation of most countries and probably a good posture to take towards infrastructure, the planet, and the work to be done.

Everything from fires to CO2 to biodiversity loss and plastic pollution have come from how we have managed our built environment and currently maintain our infrastructure, and our infrastructure touches every part of life and culture, from forests cleared to create agricultural land for beef and palm oil, to travel-related carbon emissions and heat waves, to the houses built in what was once the California wilds. The issue at the heart of all of these things is how we manage the planet, now that we know that’s what we’re doing. […]

We need to modernize existing infrastructure all over the world to cope with the effects of climate change. We also need to replace and build new infrastructure to mitigate climate change and decarbonization for the future. We need to protect biodiversity, and limit extraction. […]

One of the first lessons of climate, and infrastructure, is that people have to live closer together and in easier places, or they will die. Nature doesn’t care who deserves what. Nature is not interested in how things are supposed to be. […]

We have to retreat from the shore, stay out of the wild places, and be careful with our water. We have to use less energy, less land, and take better care of each other at the global level. The faster we figure that out, the better our chances are.