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luminous:reader_2010

luminous green reader 2010

expansions on the previous sampler and recommended reading pages… this is also available as a pdf for offline reading.

To begin with...

Luminous Green is a series of gatherings about possible futures; about a human world, that is enlightened, imaginative, electrified and most importantly – living in a fertile symbiosis with the planet. Luminous Green encourages transdisciplinary discussions and collaborations between people from all walks of life, including artists, designers, academics, activists, social entrepreneurs, economists and policy-makers. The objective is to spawn inspiring conversations, contacts and propositions using holistic methods for looking beyond (and beneath) conservation and sustainability. (…) While the complexity and the vastness of global issues may remain as abstract figures and threats, with occasional news reports of disasters in far-off lands, we remain collectively paralysed (or simply apathetic). In order to make necessary changes, cultivating a more illuminated culture, the various crises need to be dealt with simultaneously on a global (ecological) and a human (personal) scale. Changing cultures requires finding appropriate levels at which individual contributions can be most effective. Comparing this with permaculture, we could find social and cultural equivalents of guild gardening – where, while sustaining our individual selves, each of us performs functions that also contribute to the development of the guild as a whole. We perform complimentary, and often redundant actions on all levels. For example, people focused on global policy are involved in negotiating global treaties; computer enthusiasts are putting together initiatives such as AMEE, DIY Kyoto or pachube; designers are reinventing products as sustainable services; manufacturers are sharing information about their supply chain inspired by Open Source. While all of these are laudable pursuits, not one could succeed in isolation. Across cultures and disciplines, we learn and borrow from each other, refine, adapt and transform solutions as required. We can then apply them in domains that are close to us, that we experience on a daily basis. In other words, they become living and lived solutions. They are reused, reduced and recycled through direct human experiences, becoming more robust and resilient through each iteration. http://lib.fo.am/luminous_green_mediated_environments


Even though it's clearly impossible and intellectually fraudulent in some strict sense, *somebody* ought to “predict the future.” I mean, not just do demographic models and some dry corporate trend forecasting, but actually wrap the future up in a big-picture package and sprinkle some Tinker Bell dust. That job really needs doing. -Bruce Sterling


If one fathoms deeply one's own neighbourhood and the everyday world in which he lives, the greatest of worlds will be revealed. -Masanobu Fukuoka


Our present global crisis is more profound than any previous historical crises; hence our solutions must be equally drastic. I propose that we should adopt the plant as the organizational model for life in the 21st century, just as the computer seems to be the dominant mental/social model of the late twentieth century, and the steam engine was the guiding image of the nineteenth century. http://lib.fo.am/plan_plant_planet

On resilience

Resilience is the ability to absorb disturbances, to be changed and then to re-organise and still have the same identity (retain the same basic structure and ways of functioning). It includes the ability to learn from the disturbance. A resilient system is forgiving of external shocks. As resilience declines the magnitude of a shock from which it cannot recover gets smaller and smaller. Resilience shifts attention from purely growth and efficiency to needed recovery and flexibility. Growth and efficiency alone can often lead ecological systems, businesses and societies into fragile rigidities, exposing them to turbulent transformation. Learning, recovery and flexibility open eyes to novelty and new worlds of opportunity. key concepts of resilience http://www.resalliance.org/564.php


“The greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” -Confucius


Resilience theory, first introduced by Canadian ecologist C.S. “Buzz” Holling in 1973, begins with two radical premises. The first is that humans and nature are strongly coupled and co-evolving, and should therefore be conceived of as one “social-ecological” system. (…) According to resilience thinking, systems are in constant flux; they are highly unpredictable and self-organizing, with feedbacks across time and space. (…) A key feature of complex adaptive systems is that they can settle into a number of different equilibria. A lake, for example, will stabilize in either an oxygen-rich, clear state or algae-dominated, murky one. A financial market can float on a housing bubble or settle into a basin of recession. Historically, we’ve tended to view the transition between such states as gradual. But there is increasing evidence that systems often don’t respond to change that way: The clear lake seems hardly affected by fertilizer runoff until a critical threshold is passed, at which point the water abruptly goes turbid. (…) How much shock can a system absorb before it transforms into something fundamentally different? That, in a nutshell, is the essence of resilience. The concept of resilience upends old ideas about “sustainability”: Instead of embracing stasis, resilience emphasizes volatility, flexibility, and de-centralization. Change, from a resilience perspective, has the potential to create opportunity for development, novelty, and innovation. (…) Urban resilience calls attention to the ecosystem services within cities themselves, to the medley of blue and green spaces, both natural and man-made, that can buffer a city against change. http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/urban_resilience/


The problem is we are not ever going to return to our original shape or position. There are philosophical reasons for this: you can’t step in the same river twice. There are practical reasons for this: technology and politics are constant change, and technology produces all kinds of acceleration. But, simply, the future, whatever it is, good or bad, is not going to look like the past. Resilience is a comforting concept. It says “you can take a licking and keep on ticking.” It says “you will recover and restore your original shape after a crisis.” It’s fundamentally nostalgic. You wish for the way things were, and you put things back that way after the storm has passed. My friends, the storm is not going to pass. The storm is called life. We want systems which do not suffer from cascading failures. We want systems which keep working through trouble. We want systems which are easy to fix when they break. But we want systems that aggressively and relentlessly adapt to their environments – good and bad – and any opportunity to prosper therein, not just systems that can recover from being whacked. Resilience is passive. We need to move beyond it before the concept gets too dug in. http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/global/why-its-not-resilience-1366


At the outset of 2010, volatility is the watchword of the day. Some things are certain: economies will grow, greenhouse gases will accumulate, more people will be born than will die across the planet. But how exactly consumption, climate, population, and other factors will interact is anyone’s guess. In that context, when risk and uncertainty are inevitable, providing the capacity to absorb change—building for resilience—is the only rational response. http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/urban_resilience/

From a birds eye view...

“Working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich.” -Paul Hawken


The accelerating crisis in climate change and the realization that humans are the primary cause of this change has raised questions about ownership and responsibility. Who ‘owns’ the climate change crisis and who is responsible for mitigating and reversing it if possible? The overwhelming response to these questions by governments internationally has been to propose a market solution—in essence, to sell the atmosphere. http://lib.fo.am/luminous/who_owns_the_air


“The problem is, the children of 2050 will look at that future world, with all its problems, and see home: and they'll look at the choices they have in front of them, and see the future. And since the choices we make in the next forty years will decide what choices our descendants are left with – a thriving society engaged in centuries of restoration and planetary repair, or a gradual desperate retreat towards the poles – giving up now because we don't like the choice set we face is pathetic cowardice. (…) We need millions of people ready to put the future back in the room. We need millions of people ready to demand that their governments, their companies, their communities and their cultural institutions confront the reality of the futures they make every day. http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/011102.html


“We are going into a very interesting new era when it comes to global governance,” says Elmqvist. “We will have nation states, but we will also have very powerful cities raising their voices about the future and the nature of sustainable development.” http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/urban_resilience/


“Providing and producing public goods and common-pool resources at local, regional, national and international levels require different institutions than open, competitive markets or highly centralized governmental institutions. If we are to solve collective-action problems effectively we must rethink the way we approach market and governmental institutions. We need analytical approaches that are consistent with a public sector that encourages human development at multiple levels. This chapter reviews studies of polycentric governance systems in metropolitan areas and for managing common-pool resources. (…) A fundamental set of problems facing individuals in all developed and developing societies are collective-action problems. The size and shape of these problems however differ dramatically. Polycentricity may help solve collective-action problems by developing systems of governmental and nongovernmental organizations at multiple scales. “After an introduction to the problem, this chapter will review the extensive research that demonstrated the capabilities of many citizens to design imaginative and productive ways of producing public goods and common-pool resources. Successful systems tend to be polycentric with small units nested in larger systems. http://en.scientificcommons.org/38388982 http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu/dlc/handle/10535/4417


Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. -Albert Einstein


Nature is gone. It was gone before you were born, before your parents were born, before the pilgrims arrived, before the pyramids were built. You are living on a used planet. If this bothers you, get over it. We now live in the Anthropocene ― a geological epoch in which Earth’s atmosphere, lithosphere and biosphere are shaped primarily by human forces. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/05/ftf-ellis-1/#more-3996#ixzz0uDUF41HX


Change in Numbers [anfischer.com] is an informative extension of an existing public display that features the actual ambient temperature in the city. The additional display calculates and shows the difference in temperature to historical statistical weather data of the past. In this case, the display calculated the difference of the month February to the same month about 50 years ago. By doing this, it aims to raise the public awareness of anthropomorphic global warming. http://infosthetics.com/archives/2009/03/change_in_numbers_global_warming_warning_display.html


Much of the current thinking about the sustainability of our lifestyles is predominantly future focused – in 2020, by 2050, in 5, 15 or 50 years – things will change for the better (according to neo-liberal optimism), or for the worse (according to some scientific projections, or deep green pessimism). In the mean time, the future has arrived and begun to unravel into the past, quietly and unnoticed. In the rush to predict or change the future, we all too easily neglect the present, the only time in which we can actually influence and exercise our possible futures. By becoming more consciously present in the 'here-and-now', we can begin to discern a continuous string of present moments stretching into the mythical 'long term'. We cannot sacrifice the present for an unattainable future, yet we cannot retreat into an 'innocent' past which spawned our present problems. So, the question becomes; what can we do to live more fully in the present, work toward a more luminous future, while drawing inspiration from the past? http://lib.fo.am/luminous_green_mediated_environments


The benefits of future predictions may be more in thinking in the larger scope/scale than in the accuracy of any one prediction. This is like the idea that planning is worthwhile even if a specific plan need to be taken with a significant quantity of salt. -Bruce Sterling


Johan Rockström, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre warns that transgressing planetary boundaries may be devastating for humanity, but if we respect them we have a bright future for centuries ahead. Nine boundaries identified were climate change, stratospheric ozone, land use change, freshwater use, biological diversity, ocean acidification, nitrogen and phosphorus inputs to the biosphere and oceans, aerosol loading and chemical pollution. The study suggests that three of these boundaries (climate change, biological diversity and nitrogen input to the biosphere) may already have been transgressed. In addition, it emphasizes that the boundaries are strongly connected — crossing one boundary may seriously threaten the ability to stay within safe levels of the others. http://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/researchnews/tippingtowardstheunknown.5.7cf9c5aa121e17bab42800021543.html Podcast on planetary boundaries: http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/index-2009-09-24.html


“Climateprediction.net is a distributed computing project to produce predictions of the Earth's climate up to 2100 and to test the accuracy of climate models. To do this, we need people around the world to give us time on their computers - time when they have their computers switched on, but are not using them to their full capacity.” http://climateprediction.net/

Power shifts

Stewart Brand built his case for rethinking environmental goals and methods on two major changes going on in the world. The one that most people still don't take into consideration is that power is shifting to the developing world, where 5 out of 6 people live, where the bulk of humanity is getting out of poverty by moving to cities and creating their own jobs and communities (slums, for now). http://www.longnow.org/seminars/02009/oct/09/rethinking-green/


In all hon­esty and bold­ness I think we (the Devel­op­ing World) have grown accus­tomed to the top help­ing the bot­tom and because of that we’ve grown lazy. We don’t even think things can be both ways. We can help them! I believe there is a need to re-educate our­selves as devel­op­ing coun­tries and gain agency. Let’s clean the mess in our rooms after we play; our rooms being the whole world. Fur­ther­more, the prob­lems the First World is hav­ing are and should be our con­cern as well, after all that is where we are head­ing. We’ve cre­ated a cul­ture that relies on aid and we (and them) often dis­card our respon­si­bil­ity in improv­ing our present con­di­tions and shap­ing a bet­ter future. True, there’s a lot on our plate (prob­lems, that is), but there are enough inspir­ing indi­vid­u­als in our com­mu­ni­ties that have stood up and made a dif­fer­ence. It’s time to fol­low their exam­ple and wake up (per­haps in reverse order). Not only are we capa­ble of pro­vid­ing sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to cre­ate a bet­ter and more sus­tain­able soci­ety in both the devel­oped and the devel­op­ing worlds, it is our respon­si­bil­ity as inhab­i­tants of this planet. Dx1W - http://designforthefirstworld.com/ The Ghana ThinkTank - http://www.ghanathinktank.org/


The Barefoot college in Rajasthan, India is a unique place, run by unique people. It is rooted in tradition, with a vision that reaches far into the future. It is an embodiment of Gandhi’s philosophy – a place where education is distinct from literacy, where women flourish, children run a parliament, and people with handicaps are not disabled. On Barefoot campuses there is no waste, water is harvested and sunlight turned into power (literally and metaphorically). In Barefoot campus programmes traditional crafts meet information technologies, while environmental and ethical sustainability are at the core of everyday life. http://lib.fo.am/luminous/kuzmanovic_shankar_barefoot_college


Frugal life, mother, simple life, conservation, recycling, raw materials, essence, substance, fulfilling, elegance, mindset change, highest output and lowest input, fragility, using less, participation framework, 21st century cradle-to-cradle, impermanence, autonomy, scale… http://lib.fo.am/luminous/nandi_fragile_frugality


Sometime later, The bomb craters, Made good fish ponds -Michael Filimowicz


Herman Koëter the former chairman of the EU agency for food-safety EFSA and the OESO says in a Dutch Newspaper today that Europe is still dumping low quality food and still exports insecticides like DDT to Africa. For instance: fish with too much dioxin or mercury is regularly exported. The Brussels based non-profit Orange House Partnership attempts to train regulators in Afrika, China and other non-western countries, in knowledge about food safety issues and about chemicals in food-chains. This should allow them to be less vulnerable to the sales-pitches delivered by Western companies and to improve the quality of their own produce. article in dutch: http://tinyurl.com/2anotlf


Today I witnessed a municipality truck with five officials in South Delhi, picking up vendor carts at random. They took away the utensils and the stock. Other officials decided to use their sticks to beat up vendors and break their eggs. They finally drove away with apparent glee. I had been acquainted for several weeks with one of the vendors they attacked. (…) Meanwhile, my vendor is back the next morning. I am impressed and inquire how many times this has happened, and he says with defiance, “three times in the last two months.” (…) The cart is from his friend, a fresh juice vendor. The fresh juice business is not very popular in winters. There are no eggs today since all were broken in the clash. I am told that the eggs will arrive soon. Meanwhile he lights a fire with the waste paper lying around to warm up the place for everyone. http://lib.fo.am/luminous/shankar_where_is_my_chai

Food, fuel & energy in a technological world

You are going to have to figure out what it means to be a human being on earth at a time when every living system is declining, and the rate of decline is accelerating. Kind of a mind-boggling situation… but not one peer-reviewed paper published in the last thirty years can refute that statement. Basically, civilization needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades.” (…) The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hope only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it. http://globalmindshift.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/the-unforgettable-commencement-address-by-paul-hawken-to-the-class-of-2009-university-of-portland-may-3-2009/


The possibility of marrying craft with computerisation, past with present with future, the tacit with the virtual, contains the seeds of a new way of apprehending our relationship to all of these fields, inclusive as much as it is combinatory. http://lib.fo.am/luminous/craft_after_virtuality


We propose that the current climate of industrialized destruction be countered by industrialized reseeding of the oceans. Our work particularly examines the technologies that should exist to carry out this wish. The primary idea we are researching is the construct Bio Ocean Balls (BOBs). Consisting of a mass of larvae from micro to macro sized organisms, BOBs are released into the marine environment where they melt and disperse. This influx of biodiversity into once sterile areas rapidly creates a complete ecosystem. http://lib.fo.am/luminous/bobs


Green aversion to technologies such as nuclear and genetic engineering resulted from a mistaken notion that they are somehow unnatural. “What we call natural and what we call human are inseparable,” Brand concluded. “We live one life.” http://www.longnow.org/seminars/02009/oct/09/rethinking-green/ Recommended reading from the Whole Earth Discipline by Stuart Brand: http://www.sbnotes.com


“Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste […] the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy.” http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste


According to the US Department of Energy (Energy Information Administration), the world consumption of energy in all of its forms (barrels of petroleum, cubic meters of natural gas, watts of hydro power, etc.) is projected to reach 678 quadrillion Btu (or 7.15 exajoules) by 2030 – a 44% increase over 2008 levels (levels for 1980 were 283 quadrillion Btu and we stand at around 500 quadrillion Btu today). According to the United Nations 170,000 square kilometers of forest is destroyed each year. If we constructed solar farms at the same rate, we would be finished in 3 years. There are 1.2 million square kilometers of farmland in China. This is 2 1/2 times the area of solar farm required to power the world in 2030. The Saharan Desert is 9,064,958 square kilometers, or 18 times the total required area to fuel the world. The typical golf course covers about a square kilometer. We have 40,000 of them around the world being meticulously maintained. If the same could be said for solar farms we would be almost 10% of the way there. http://www.landartgenerator.org/blagi/archives/127


Nanosolar (http://Nanosolar.com/) are thin film solar panels with a production cost of $0.30 per watt (vs. $2.30 per watt for normal panels). Now here’s the interesting part. Their machinery costs 160 million dollars for a machine which can make a gigawatt of panels per year. Capital cost for a 1 watt of panels printed each year is $0.16 in other words. http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/three-reasons-for-hope-energy-fuel-and-food-1797


The European Union is backing projects to turn the plentiful sunlight in the Sahara desert into electricity for power-hungry Europe, a scheme it hopes will help meet its target of deriving 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2020. […] initial volumes would come from small pilot projects, but the amount of electricity would go up into the thousands of megawatts as projects including the 400 billion euro Desertec solar scheme come on stream. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65J1ZO20100620


Purple Pokeberries and Fiber Could Provide Low-Cost Solar for Developing Nations Civil War soldiers used the dye from purple pokeberries to write letters home. Now, the bright-colored weeds are being used for a far more modern purpose. Researchers at Wake Forest University’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials created low-cost, fiber-based solar cells that work more efficiently when coated with a layer of pokeberry dye. Scientists hope the cheap solar cells combined with a common plant will help provide inexpensive electricity to developing nations.” http://inhabitat.com/2010/04/30/purple-pokeberries-could-help-provide-low-cost-solar-for-developing-nations/


Fuel - (1) Algal Turf Scrubber (http://www.algalturfscrubber.com/): You know the thick, hairy stuff that grows on stones in rivers? That’s an algal turf. They grow in seawater too. And most of the complexity of harvesting algae is separating single cell critters from the water that surrounds them, where as turfs you harvest with a snowplough type blade. Turfs are multi-species, and include multicellular critters – they’re a complete ecosystem. Bonuses are two: firstly, you can grow them open tank and anything that drifts in becomes part of the mix. Second the lipid content of the turfs goes up with time as you get more and more little predators and such like which are just made of lovely, crunchy oils. (2) Biobutanol (http://www.biobutanol.com/): This is a bit more complicated. Nutshell version: ethanol is horrible for engines, pipelines and so on. Butanol is vastly better behaved. Note the possibility of running 100% butanol in an unmodified or slightly tweaked gasoline engine. Now that is still being worked on, but the energy density and lack of corrosion problems seen with ethanol are *very* promising. http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/three-reasons-for-hope-energy-fuel-and-food-1797


We could be generating huge amounts of power from sewage. The process is fairly simple — just ferment sewage to produce a fuel called biogas. Biogas is almost entirely methane, and so is natural gas, so the two are essential interchangeable. The potential to produce biogas is almost entirely overlooked by most countries — except Sweden. In Sweden, 25% of all energy use is derived from biomass. http://www.metaefficient.com/buses/biogas-sweden-fuel-buses-trains.html


Can etherialness be a feature of cooking? (…) It refers to the immediacy of service required for a dish that has been put together for rapid consumption, as because of its very nature it only lasts a few seconds… – El Bulli Books 2003


Permaculture design principles:

  • [1] Observe and interact; beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • [2] Catch and store energy; make hay while the sun shines
  • [3] Obtain a yield; you can't work on an empty stomach
  • [4] Apply self regulation and accept feedback; The sins of the fathers are visited on the children unto the seventh generation
  • [5] Use and value renewable resources and services; let nature take its course
  • [6] Produce no waste; a stitch in time saves nine / Waste not, want not
  • [7] Design from patterns to details; can't see the wood for the trees
  • [8] Integrate rather than segregate; many hands make light work
  • [9] Use small and slow solutions; the bigger they are, the harder they fall
  • [10] Use and value diversity; don't put all your eggs in one basket
  • [11] Use edges and value the marginal; don't think you're on the right track just because it is a well beaten path
  • [12] Creatively use and respond to change; vision is not seeing things as they are, but as they will be. -David Holmgren

One Acre Fund (http://oneacrefund.org/): 12,000 farms in Africa. One year training program, kind of like health visitors but for farming. For a year they come to your farm, visit, and teach you things. Cost per farm $100 or so, taken as a loan by the farmers. http://www.foodfirst.org/pubs/policybs/pb4.html#productivity http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/three-reasons-for-hope-energy-fuel-and-food-1797


At our Mountain View headquarters, we have some fields that we need to mow occasionally to clear weeds and brush to reduce fire hazard. This spring we decided to take a low-carbon approach: Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we've rented some goats from California Grazing to do the job for us (we're not “kidding”). A herder brings about 200 goats and they spend roughly a week with us at Google, eating the grass and fertilizing at the same time. The goats are herded with the help of Jen, a border collie. It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/mowing-with-goats.html


Look beneath the technical sophistication, though, and Cantu's kitchen pyrotechnics are revealed as explorations of possible answers to a very simple question: What is food? And if the cuisine at Moto, his “molecular tasting lab,” can be described as postmodern, Cantu himself has little time for gastro-academic posing. He's driven by a techno-utopian vision of decentralized food in which the world's ever-growing appetites are met by a radical transformation of agriculture itself - and it all begins in our kitchens. http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/12/whatisfood.html


Organic food metanalysis. (http://www.mosesorganic.org/attachments/research/07orgfeedworld.pdf): Ivette Perfecto of the University of Michigan in the US and her colleagues found that, in developed countries, organic systems on average produce 92% of the yield produced by conventional agriculture. In developing countries, however, organic systems produce 80% more than conventional farms (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12245-organic-farming-could-feed-the-world.html). Basically, global food yields could go up 80% if we went organic. http://vinay.howtolivewiki.com/blog/other/three-reasons-for-hope-energy-fuel-and-food-1797


Since the Italian Futurist meals and Manifesto of the early 1930’s, food has continued to operate as both a medium and subject of contemporary art. It is unsurprising that, given the current global food crisis, the politics of food have become an important cultural force and that there has once again been a surge of contemporary works dealing with food. http://residualsoup.org


“We’d tried Pepsi and Virgin Cola and various others too,” says Brandon, “but they weren’t really a positive alternative. They were acceptable, but they weren’t Coke. And people really want Coke.” After conducting various taste tests, they felt the preference had less to do with flavour than the power of the brand. (…) “Given that most of the Cube’s customers come because they like the place’s DIY attitude,” Brandon explains, “one way of doing that was to make the cola ourselves.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2006/jul/28/foodanddrink.shopping)


Greetings from…Your Brightest Possible Future (Vauban District Freiburg) Yes, there is this whole Vauban scene, as if some Teutonic wizard had ransacked the dreams of every idealistic urban planner in the free world and stitched together all the bits and pieces of walkable, mid-rise, mixed-use, transit-friendly, eco-conscious design in the lee of a Black Forest hillside as the setting for a fairy tale called Little Green Riding Hood Rescues Hansel & Gretel and They All Flee the Dark Forest to Live Together in Solar-Powered Social-Democratic Harmony So Luminous It Convinces the Wolf to Self-Domesticate and Form a Limited Partnership with the Witch to Provide Efficiency Retrofits at Reasonable Prices. Yes, yes. All that. Lovely. Wunderbar.” http://www.walrusmagazine.com/articles/2010.05-environment-the-new-grand-tour


If examine today's cultural trends, we can find sporadic weak signals that suggest that the proliferation of 'green' culture, economy and technology will eventually give rise to what Hildegard Von Bingen called 'Viriditas' (Bonn, n.d.), or the green side of mind – a deeper environmental consciousness, that can reconnect our fickle technological (and perhaps technocratic) societies to slower, more persistent geo-ecological scales. http://lib.fo.am/groworld_hpi


“I consider ‘weed’ to be a politically incorrect term. There is no biological definition of the term weed. It’s really a value judgment. If we saw this motley collection of plants differently, we’d realize they’re a kind of marvel: living things in the harsh and stressful urban landscape that don’t just survive there, but thrive. With no effort on our part, they fill the city with greenery, providing cleaner air and water, shade, and food and habitat for wildlife. They do it without expensive fertilizers and irrigation. It’s time, he suggests, that we learned to embrace them — to stop thinking of them only as weeds to uproot, and start considering what they have to offer.“ … Nothing is native to the city, The modern city is a new kind of habitat — one that provides pockets of livable spaces in surroundings that can be harsh, inhospitable, and polluted. The city habitat is so specialized, our divisions of “native” and “invasive” plants doesn’t really apply here. Instead, the plants that grow and thrive here could be considered the natural denizens of a new kind of habitat — what he calls “cosmopolitan” species. Peter Del Tredici's (a harvard bioloog). http://socialfiction.org/?n=1937

Life

Life creates the conditions that are conducive to life. -Janine Benyus


I once read that about 70 per cent of textile designs are floral prints. Most certainly, the history of textiles showcases the visual representation of nature as a primary creative inspiration. With recent developments in material science we can now move away from iconic representations of nature and start to design, fabricate, and recycle as efficiently as nature. The world of biomimicry has become a key inspiration for the future of design strategies and methodologies… http://lib.fo.am/luminous/what_is_beauty


What would the impact be if categories of human explorations were seen not as “economies” – or systems of exchange – but ecologies, in which we played a rightful part? What if, in place of technological categorizations of human activities, we reflected on our lives through a social lens? http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/006498.html


A new study by researchers from a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has revealed that people who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges. “This study shows that if happiness is something you want out of life, then focusing daily on the small moments and cultivating positive emotions is the way to go,” said Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences and the principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory. http://news.oneindia.in/2009/07/09/positiveemotions-increase-resilience-againstchallenges.html


So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past. Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would create new religions overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead, the stars come out every night and we watch television. http://globalmindshift.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/the-unforgettable-commencement-address-by-paul-hawken-to-the-class-of-2009-university-of-portland-may-3-2009/


We have come to the point at which there is no other way than to bring about a movement to bring nothing about” - Masanobu Fukuoka


How resilient are you? – a quiz. http://psychology.about.com/library/quiz/bl-resilience-quiz.htm


For most of the 20th century, nutritional science aimed to define an adequate diet. (…) Toward the end of the century, it became clear from laboratory studies and comparisons in health statistics in different countries that the major diseases of the adequately nourished developed world – cancer and heart disease – are influenced by what we eat. Nutritional science then began to focus on defining the elements of an optimal diet. So we discovered that minor, nonessential food components have a cumulative effects on our long-term health. And plants, the planet's biochemical virtuosos, turn out to be teeming with trace phytochemicals (…) that modulate our metabolism. - Harold McGee


Successfully coping with a stressful situation can prime one for dealing with subsequent stressful situations that are not controllable. The brain circuitry that underlies this transfer of resiliency includes the prefrontal cortex and brainstem. http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/42/3/28.2.full


“This study offers valuable evidence that green space does more than 'pretty up' the neighbourhood - it appears to have real effects on health inequality, of a kind that politicians and health authorities should take seriously.” When the records of more than 366,000 people who died between 2001 and 2005 were analysed, it revealed that even tiny green spaces in the areas in which they lived made a big difference to their risk of fatal diseases. Even small parks in the heart of our cities can protect us from strokes and heart disease, perhaps by cutting stress or boosting exercise. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7714950.stm


It seems as if writing with moss, represents an unusual synthesis between advanced civilisation and nature. It is a chance for us to speak as individuals and artists, but also to be the spokesperson of organisms which have no voice in our world. http://www.crosshatchling.co.uk/Mossgrafitti.html


A working eco-travel monitoring system will resemble a sort of stock market. It can be a way of increasing the perceived value of pristine nature, whose only value at present appears to be seen just in terms of its natural resources. Realising the enjoyable assets of nature can drive conservation forward. http://lib.fo.am/luminous/kaario_jouka_responsible_tourist_communities


The first and probably most precious resource that people can share is time. A quite successful effort in the exchange of “free time” has emerged in Italy, mediated by public institutions, called La Banca del Tempo (The Bank of Time). You donate one hour of your time doing something useful for somebody else (such as teaching a foreign language, painting a wall, etc.) and in return you receive a reciprocal service from someone who’ll spend one hour doing something for you. It’s an invisible network that makes time free from a quantified economic value, testing a different type of economics. http://lib.fo.am/luminous/ludovico_free_online_exchange


“Pleasure is what makes life valuable. It is what provides the motive among sentient creatures to engage in life-sustaining activities” – Herbert Spencer


Suddenly I realize That if I stepped out of my body I would break Into blossom. -James Wright

Viridian Principles 2.0 (abridged)

Futurist Principles

  • Embrace Decay - Entropic processes should be closely studied, harnessed for industrial use, and even aestheticized.
  • Planned Evanescence - the product and all its physical traces should gracefully disintegrate and vanish entirely.
  • Eat what you Kill - take pains to fully comprehend the thing you have rendered obsolete.
  • The Future is History - Be when you are.
  • History Accumulates - invent better ways to manage our increasing wealth of history

Moral Principles

  • Look at the Underside First - point out malfunctions, bugs, screw-ups, design failures, side effects, and the whole sad galaxy of trade-offs and failings inherent in any technological artefact.
  • Design for Evil - Every design process is incomplete unless it takes into careful consideration what could be done with the product by a dictatorial megalomaniac in command of a national economy, secret police and large army.
  • Design for Old - The 21st century will have a historically unprecedented demographic structure.
  • Superstition isn’t Inspiration - There’s no effective substitute for experimental verification and verifiable results.

Political Principles

  • Viridian Inactivism - Activism is an attention hog. Find the things you are doing that intensify problems, and cease doing them. Seek command of your own life.
  • Do Less with Less - We should struggle valiantly to find alternative sources of energy, but it’s just as gratifying to simply become less frenetic. What exactly are we doing at the moment that is worth ruining the climate for? Relax.
  • There’s No One so Green as the Dead - If you feel helpless with guilt because of your bad environmental habits, pause and think of the very brief time in which you employ the Earth’s resources, and the long, long eons in which you’ll just be raw material again.
  • The Viridian Grandfather Principle - Viridians prefer to carry out green activities than living people can do well

Principles of the Avant-technogarde

  • The Biological isn’t Logical - The living world was not designed by a teleological, rationalist, reductionist process. The living world grew irrationally through nonsystematic, genetic exploration of niche possibilities, pruned back by natural selection and occasional massive disasters.
  • Augment Reality: Aestheticize all Sensors - Sensors, instrumentation, and mediated monitoring systems of all kinds are the next aesthetic frontier. Sensors must interact with the human sensorium, and are properly seen as not primarily technical, but aesthetic.
  • Make the Invisible Visible - Advances in instrumentation can be used to change the zeitgeist
  • Less Mass, More Data - If you always know where something is, you don’t have to chain it up. Physical resources should be replaced with information where possible.
  • Tangible Cyberspace - introduce computer generated artefacts and processes into the deepest and most intimate textures of the physical world. Make the screen permeable, and turn ‘computers’ into worldly, sensual entities.
  • Seek the Biomorphic and the Transgenic - “Nature” is over. What does it mean when you look into the garden and the garden looks back?
  • Datamine Nature - There is a wealth of aesthetic novelty to be found in previously invisible aspects of nature, such as cellular metabolism, noninvasive medical imaging, hybridomas and chimeras, artificial life entities and chemosynthetic life forms.
  • Grow Complexity - look for patterns that are both tasteful and previously impossible. With computers it is absurdly simple to create any level of busyness and complexity. Without human aesthetic intervention, this art is puerile and ugly.

Research Principles

  • Walk Through the Walls of Knowledge Guilds - The boundaries that separate art, science, medicine, literature, computation, engineering, and design and craft generally are not divine. These boundaries are socially generated. Research techniques are not identical, nor are results all equally valid under all circumstances; quantum physics isn’t opera.. There exists a sensibility that can transcend intellectual turf war with no loss of rigor. If you choose to do it, you can step outside the boundaries history makes for you. You can walk through walls.

luminous/reader_2010.txt · Last modified: 2010/08/19 07:48 by nik