AndYou see a stork forest before reaching the shore. In the haze of heat, machinery reverberates in the middle distance, shaking and covering the soil with the vibrating force.
Beyond the construction site, the sea shines under the sun, swung by ships old and new. The whole city seems to take its cues from the coast – there is always a lot to be built, demolished and rebuilt.
Those in power carry forward their permanent program of reshaping the world by creating new lands. It is a society that is being transformed for a particular vision of the future: to build a new world capable of meeting the challenges of a growing population, more space and new ways of living. But what kind of future is being built, and at what cost?
This is not science fiction. This is the real story of the land Improvement Hong Kong, where I grew up in the 1980s-90s. Land reclamation involves filling water bodies with soil to expand land or create artificial islands.
Housing and infrastructure on the scale seen in Hong Kong is only possible because of the amount of land – more 70 km Its square – was retrieved. But it has come at the expense of the integrity of the habitats of people, biodiversity and wildlife alike.
It was during my childhood in this city, a part of which had recently been submerged under the sea, that I first began to speculate about drastic ways to transform space – and its unexpected effects.
As a child immersed in science fiction classics like Frank Herberts Dune, I quickly realized that imagination can help us reflect on, imagine, and act on these unexpected effects. And so it’s no surprise that climate fiction – or “cli-fi“- has quickly become a recognized genre in recent years.
from Barbara Kingsolver flight behavior For Omar Al Akkad american warPeople are obviously interested in imagining a possible future, as a way of considering how we’re going to get ourselves out of this mess.
If there is anything we can be absolutely sure about, it is that the future will be radically different from what we imagined, and it will demand adjustment.
That’s why writers of science fiction are Counseling By organizations and governments: to help us think about future risks and challenges in ways inaccessible to other disciplines. As Cop26, the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow is delayed, we are in urgent need of this imaginative impulse.
Science fiction has certainly played a part in this narrative already. The use of the Sun’s energy in science fiction has a long history, and Arthur C Clarke is often credited with coming up with the idea. solar cell powered geostationary communication satellite.
NASA satellite systemThis, meanwhile, is important for monitoring climate change and can be traced, in part, to science fiction’s ability to think about worlds and systems. And of course, the spacecraft and the space station – indeed, our expansion into space – are inventions of science fiction.
Inspired by my early days in Hong Kong, I shaped a career researching science fiction, focusing on the technological systems that transform the planet we live on: the idea of terraforming and Geoengineering-.
If terraforming is the modification of other planets to enable habitation by life on Earth, then geoengineering can be defined as the planetary modification of the Earth – such as intentional interference with the climate system.
As the contentious debate about geoengineering continues to grow urgent Given the catastrophic failure to curb emissions, science fiction about terraforming and geoengineering can help us visualize possible configurations of solutions to the climate crisis and their implications.
A closer look at this particular example will also reveal why it is so important to adopt this approach to the climate crisis.
The proposals for geoengineering and terraforming are informed by the history and the stories we tell each other. What science fiction can do is imagine and think through the political, as well as scientific, implications of the technological choices we make. Science fiction stories speculate, diagnose and describe experiences and problems wrapped up in a global debate about mitigation and adaptation.
Science fiction is not intended to solve society’s problems (although specific works of science fiction provide solutions that we readers are invited to critique, revise, advocate, and even adopt); Nor is science fiction about prophecy. That’s why we shouldn’t judge science fiction on the basis of its success or failure in this regard. Rather, the role of science fiction is speculation on possibilities.
Science fiction, then, should not be read in isolation. The imaginary space is an imaginative field for testing ideas and values, and for attempting to imagine a future that might inform our societies now.
The genre attempts to move beyond notions of a singular time and place by providing a range of alternative ways of perceiving ideas, contexts, and relationships. Science fiction calls for the challenge; It asks us to put one story against another, to ponder and question the depicted world and what they can tell us about our stances on important contemporary issues.
Reading novels like this one can help us take the guesswork out of adaptation, mitigation and, indeed, beyond the technical aspects of intervention, and help us understand the attitudes that we as people and society take about these concerns. take towards.
this is the idea behind me book, in which I survey the history of terraforming, geoengineering, space, and stories about climate change. What science fiction teaches us is that technologies are not just technical systems.
Science is not just a theoretical and technical endeavor. Rather, the practice of science and the development of technologies are also fundamentally social and cultural. This is why many researchers use the term “social technology” to describe technological systems.
a geoengineered planet
In the real-policy-world, imagination informs the imagination. Some imagine a futuristic world covered by machines Taking the CO2 out of the air and pumping it into the porous rock below.
Others imagine one powered by a vast portfolio of wind and solar farms, hydroelectric and geothermal plants. Some imagine that business largely continues as usual, with little or no change in how we produce and use energy, and how we organize our economies and our lives. .
And some suggest that we send planes into the stratosphere, kicking out particles that would reflect sunlight back into space and turn the sky white.
This is the last vision Solar Radiation Management (SRM), which has been the subject of particularly intense debate. SRM involves controlling the amount of sunlight trapped in Earth’s atmosphere.
Bill McGuire, patron of the Scientists for Global Responsibility and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at UCL, recently wrote a science fiction novel Skyseed (2020), which visualizes the dire failure of nanotech-based approaches to solar radiation management. This novel describes the impossibility – given our current state of knowledge – to predict the results of this speculative technique.
Proposals for solar radiation management vary greatly, but the most common forms include brightening ocean clouds or injecting particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight away from Earth. Proposed to do so, it would help cool the Earth, although it would do nothing to remove carbon and other carbon equivalent gases from the atmosphere, nor would it address ocean acidification.
More extraordinary ideas include creating sunshades in space and placing them in different…
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /