Alex Gibson

Art, Collaboration & Social Media

Changing Climates and Societies



“We must live simply so others can simply live” ~Meenakshi Raman

There are a few things in life that are inevitable; Death, tax *and* change. Climates change and societies change. Humans are causing climate change, perhaps we can cause social change too.

Contemporary society often falls prey to technological determinism. Often you will hear calls for technological interventions for socio-political problems, as though the car controls the driver. This technological interventionist approach will only lead to further totalitarianism and ignores the origin of cause and effect.

There is an interesting historical narrative that describes the case for climactic adaptation, technological determinism and social change. The story goes that the Peruvian civilization of the Moche were a proud and prosperous people until a natural mega-El Nino event caused 30 years of rain followed by 30 years of drought. The culture of ritual human sacrifice used by the social elites to regulate climate wasn’t working. Their false-consciousness regarding the technology of their pyramids and culture was made apparent by the inability of the leaders of the society to prevent the problem. This lead to social mistrust by the so called ‘lower classes’ and the society fell into civil war, eventually undoing the totalitarian grip of the elites.

This story illustrates the idea of climactic change, failed technological intervention and eventual social adaptation. A similar narrative is being written in contemporary culture. If we continue practicing the wasteful culture of late capitalist consumption, then we may experience a similar story as the Moche narrative.


July 6, 2008 Posted by | techology | , | 1 Comment