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“From the Arctic to the Amazon, from California to Gran Canaria, from Borneo to India to Angola to Australia – the fires seem everywhere. Their smoke obscures subcontinents by day; their lights dapple continents at night, like a Milky Way of flame-stars. Rather than catalogue what is burning, one might more aptly ask: what isn’t? Where flames are not visible, the lights of cities and of gas flares are: combustion via the transubstantiation of coal and oil into electricity. To many observers, they appear as the pilot flames of an advancing apocalypse. Even Greenland is burning.
But the fires we see are only part of our disturbed pyrogeography. Of perhaps equal magnitude is a parallel world of lost, missing and sublimated fires. The landscapes that should have fire and don’t. The marinating of the atmosphere by greenhouse gases. The sites where traditional flame has been replaced by combustion in machines. The Earth’s biota is disintegrating as much by tame fire’s absence as by feral fire’s outbreaks. The scene is not just about the bad burns that trash countrysides and crash into towns; it’s equally about the good fires that have vanished because they are suppressed or no longer lit. Looming over it all is a planetary warming from fossil-fuel combustion that acts as a performance enhancer on all aspects of fire on Earth.
So dire is the picture that some observers argue that the past is irrelevant. We are headed into a no-narrative, no-analogue future. So immense and unimaginable are the coming upheavals that the arc of inherited knowledge that joins us to the past has broken. There is no precedent for what we are about to experience, no means by which to triangulate from accumulated human wisdom into a future unlike anything we have known before.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"PRESIDENT TRUMP’S reaction to the murderous rampage in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday by an officer of the Royal Air Force of Saudi Arabia was insensitive and grossly insufficient. Three American servicemen lost their lives and eight were wounded by..."
"No Democrat even approaches Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts when it comes to the sheer volume of policy content. Likewise, no other Democrat has experienced her rapid rise into first place or, now, her dramatic fall in the polls. It is..."
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"Did moms exist before social media? Technically, yes, there have always been moms, but motherhood as a lively public conversation — a set of references, jokes, warring factions, cliches and grievances — has existed for just a little over a decade.."
"Ever since former President George H.W. Bush coined the phrase to criticize then-candidate President Ronald Reagan's tax policies, Democrats and progressives have been accusing Republicans of "voodoo economics." They are right to do so. The..."
"The marketing circle of life, wherein toys beget films that beget toys, continues to mow its way through every bit of plastic in the playroom. This week, it’s Playmobil’s turn, with the unimaginatively titled “Playmobil: The Movie.” Like the..."
"Europe is at a crossroads. Brexit and immigration prompted a debate about the essence of European liberalism. Luckily, Europe has an invaluable resource it can use in its deliberations: Theodor Herzl The visionary of the Jewish State was a..."
"“I was born in 2000, I have always lived my life with technology, there hasn’t been any moment without it.” So begins the story of Kai Landre, who recently traveled to the United States from Barcelona to explain his decision to become a cyborg..."