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After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, and Restoration
Holly Jean Buck
Holly Buck writes on emerging technologies in the Anthropocene, with work appearing in journals such as Development and Change, Climatic Change, Global Sustainability, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, and Hypatia. She holds a PhD in development sociology from Cornell University, and is currently a research fellow at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the UCLA School of Law.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was shaped by the “year without a summer” in 1816, with global cooling following the explosion of Mount Tambora. Two hundred years later, in this book, four science fiction writers travel to Arcosanti to reenact the writing experiment of Shelley and colleagues, writing on a year without a summer: 2016 was a year of record heat. The book weaves together science fiction, excerpts from Shelley and meditation on them, interviews with scientists, and essays to explore the emotional and cultural landscapes of climate change.
“Sadness as a design problem”: this book examines social media as ideology, and why we reject seeing social media’s addictive qualities, in an analysis that involves not just the political economy of data and surveillance, but the emotional tenor of platform capitalism. It doesn’t avoid the question of what is to be done—exploring “stacktivism” as a vertical strategy, memes, and avant-garde organizational principles.
This cultural historical look at information technology examines the relationship between the counterculture of the 1960s and early cyberculture—where questions of large, small, and appropriate technology abounded. Reading it along with thinking about climate intervention provokes questions of what cultural threads geoengineering springs from, what geoengineering might look like according to the California Ideology, who the counterculture and cyberculture did not include and how privilege worked in those environments, and what a true alternative might look like.