cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

Deep Thought at Lunch in May

After having many fantastic thinky conversations at Swancon, I've decided that I don't want to wait for another year to continue some of those discussions. To that end, I've decided to start regular lunch or dinner meetings at which we can sit around and share our research, thought-experiments, fictional versions of the future (both positive and negative), experiences and so on. Anyone interested can come along and add to our debates about speculative fiction, publishing, the internet, the future, writing, feminism, fanfiction, fandom, science, and anything else that captures our interest.

The first meeting will be a lunch in central Perth six weeks from now:

Wednesday 23 May, 1pm @ Organica in Shafto Lane

RSVPs are not necessary, just turn up.

The first topic I'm proposing as a focus for discussion is environmental catastrophe and what form it might take, or whether it is even likely to happen.

Please feel free to suggest other topics, venues, days/nights on which to meet.

Environmental Catastrophe

One of the things that interests me about the idea of environmental catastrophe is that there seems to be a pervasive idea that it will happen slowly, and we'll have time to fix it with technology and/or science.

Something that has occurred to me is that this may be quite wrong. For instance, with the magic of supermarkets providing food to much of the Western world, it's easy to forget that our civilisation is built on primary industry. We need to eat. So if, as many environmental scientists hypothesise, the change in climate due to melting polar ice-caps is actually quite sudden, there could be enough climate change to cause massive crop failure in the near future. If it happened just in one hemisphere, it would be bad enough, but if it happened in both hemispheres within a 12 month period, the whole world would be facing famine. If it happened for two years in a row, there would be mass deaths, chaos, hording, general societal breakdown, plus, as an added bonus, we probably wouldn't have the seed stocks to re-plant in the third year, so the famine would continue for some time.

Two years, maybe less. That's how long it could take for environmental catastrophe to cause a breakdown in human society on a global scale. And if it did happen that fast, science is very unlikely to be able to provide a solution, even at the current rapid rate of discovery and invention--it's hard to experiment on growing better crops at a faster rate than they actually grow!

I'm not sure why this isn't discussed more widely as part of the debate about environmental catastrophe. I'd like to hear other people's views about it, and also any other thoughts you might have on the general topic of the environment and what might happen to it in the next 5, 20, 100 years.

See you all in six weeks!

ETA: This article gives a surprisingly positive spin to things, considering the stats being discusses.
Tags: announcement, discussion, fandom
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