Biodiversity

Biodiversity online exhibition logo

This exhibition was inspired by the Think Resilience online course by the Post Carbon Institute.

“Most people are accustomed to thinking of the world only as it relates to human wishes and needs.
After all, the vast majority of our attention is taken up with politics, the economy, family,
entertainment—human interests.
It’s become all too easy to forget that nature even exists—as our communities have grown more and more urbanized, and the processes of growing food, making clothes and buildings, and producing energy are handled in large industrial operations far from view.
There are millions of kids in North America who’ve never seen the stars at night, visited a national park,
or picked a wild blackberry. […]”
Richard Heinberg, an excerpt of the Think Resilience free Online Course, lesson 8: “Biodiversity”.

Belief Systems

belief systemns online

This exhibition was inspired by the Think Resilience online course by the Post Carbon Institute.

“Seen in historical and anthropological perspective, the belief in progress and growth was a superstructure suited to a particular kind of infrastructure. As our energy sources—and hence our infrastructure—change throughout the remainder of this century, the most fundamental assumptions that gave meaning to life during the fossil fuel era may cease to do so.

We may then need a new superstructure to guide us—a new set of universally shared beliefs based on shared experience. If our future is tied to renewable sources of energy, if climate change is shaping the world around us, and if amounts of energy available to us are limited, it is possible that our new beliefs will once again be ones that place humanity within, rather than outside of, nature.

Instead of seeing our destiny in the stars, we may once again come to see our role as serving nature rather than mastering it. More than that, it may be too soon to say.”
– Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience course, lesson 7: Belief Systems (Full video transcript here).

Social Structure

social strucutre online exhibition logo

This exhibition was inspired by the Think Resilience online course by the Post Carbon Institute.

Every society has institutions for making decisions and allocating resources. Some anthropologists call this the structure of society. Every society also has an infrastructure, which is its means of obtaining food, energy, and materials. Finally, every society also has a superstructure, which consists of the beliefs and rituals that supply the society with a sense of meaning. In this lesson, we see how our current systems of political and economic management—our social structure—evolved to fit with our fossil-fueled infrastructure, and we’ll very briefly explore what a shift to different energy sources might mean for the politics and economics of future societies.”
Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience course, lesson 6: Systems of Political and Economic Management (Full video transcript here).

Pollution

pollution online exhibition logo

“In nature, waste from one organism is food for another. However, that principle sometimes breaks down and waste becomes poison. Humans aren’t the only possible sources of environmental pollution. But these days the vast majority of pollution does come from human activities. That’s because we humans are able to use energy and tools to extract, transform, use, and discard natural resources, producing wastes of many kinds and in ever-larger quantities.”
Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience Course, lesson 5: Pollution (Full video transcript here).

Depletion

depletion online exhibition logo

This exhibition was inspired by the Think Resilience online course by the Post Carbon Institute.

“Today we consume resources at a far higher rate than any previous civilization. We can do this mainly due to our reliance on a few particularly useful nonrenewable and depleting resources, namely fossil fuels. Energy from fossil fuels enables us to mine, transform, and transport other resources at very high rates; it also yields synthetic fertilizers to make up for our ongoing depletion of natural soil nutrients. This deep dependency on fossil fuels of course raises the question of what we will do as the depletion of fossil fuels themselves becomes more of an issue.”
Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience, lesson 4: Depletion (Full video transcript here).

Population and Consumption

population and consumption online

This exhibition was inspired by the Think Resilience online course by the Post Carbon Institute.

“Today we consume resources at a far higher rate than any previous civilization. We can do this mainly due to our reliance on a few particularly useful nonrenewable and depleting resources, namely fossil fuels. Energy from fossil fuels enables us to mine, transform, and transport other resources at very high rates; it also yields synthetic fertilizers to make up for our ongoing depletion of natural soil nutrients. This deep dependency on fossil fuels of course raises the question of what we will do as the depletion of fossil fuels themselves becomes more of an issue.”
Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience, lesson 3: Population and Consumption (Full video transcript here).

Energy

energy online exhibition logo

This exhibition was inspired by the Think Resilience online course by the Post Carbon Institute.

We’re starting this series with the subject of energy and for a good reason. Energy is key to everything—it’s an essential driver of the natural world and of the human world, and it will also be pivotal to the societal transformations we’ll be experiencing in the 21st century and beyond. Energy is what enables us to live and to build civilizations and thriving economies. But it’s even more fundamental than that. Without energy, literally, nothing can happen.”
Richard Heinberg, Think Resilience, lesson 2: Energy (Full video transcript here).

Planetary Limits

online exhibitions planetary limits copy 1

“Growth is the measure of energy consumption and the measure of the destruction of nature. The more energy we consume, the more nature we destroy, the more growth increases.
Ecology and growth are not compatible.


You have to look reality in the face, know what you’re up against. The trajectory we are on is a trajectory of collapses in the plural. The collapse of life and biodiversity is already here.

The acceleration of climate change is reaching the dramatic proportions that scientists predicted and will threaten the habitability of most of the land on earth for humans.


We are on this path of collapse because we are exploding the planetary limits. So we have to change the economic model to return to a model where we have a neutral ecological footprint, that is to say where each year we do not consume more than what the planet can provide.

How do we go from the current situation of exploding planetary limits to respecting them?


We cannot do this without a profound cultural change. This change is at work today. The society has entered into a new awareness about the need to act and to change our lifestyles. And this change in our lifestyle is more and more experienced not as a sacrifice, but as a positive choice, as a liberation.

This is the beginning of a break with the dominant ideology, or what matters is what you possess and to always have more money.”

Excerpt from a January 2020 interview with Delphine Batho, French politician, member of the National Assembly, and former Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy

Human Predicament

online exhibitions human predicament

Understanding the human predicament is essential if we want to prepare for a resilient future. Unfortunately, what we find in the news is segmented, incomplete, biased, and greenwashing is pervasive. My comprehension of the human predicament became apparent when I read “How Everything can Collapse: A Manuel for Our Times” by Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens (France, 2015).

Nate Hagens, Pr. at the University of Minnesota, created a course for his freshmen students about the human predicament. He made available to the public a condensed version of it. His systemic approach to the interaction between human behavior, environment, economy, and energy gives a clear picture that helps think differently about the future. The series of 4 short videos, “HUMAN PREDICAMENT SHORT COURSE” by Nate Hagens, is here. During September, artists we invited to contributes artwork and to post it on their Instagram feed. Contributions were then reposted on What’s Next for Earth Instagram page.

In September 2020, California continued to experience an early and punishing fire season. On September 9, in some part of California, an eerie bright orange sky due to the confluence of a heatwave, dryness, and smokey air surprised and scared people. It looked like the end of the world. The stress of the pandemic is multiplied in areas like California by the visible effects of climate change. As the election becomes closer, many of us are worried about our politics not taking drastic action to change the crash course we are on.