Preparedness Travel

Day 528 and Oppressive

I would love to be writing about my impressions of the Consensus experience in Austin. I had a terrific time seeing friends & colleagues, the content was good, my talk was well attended (and well received) and I genuinely felt the experience was worthwhile. My general impression is winter is good for crypto as we will get back to building.

But as I wrap up my trip all I can really focus on is how oppressive the heat feels. How exhausting it is to consider it’s consuming nature at every step of your day. The heat is edging towards the point of being hostile to life. 29 million people live in Texas and there is no focused effort to harden infrastructure for climate extremes or drought. If you want to picture what life might be life here for your children read the Water Knife by Paolo Bacigulipa.

Last night I found myself literally sitting on top of an air conditioning vent in the attic of a private house to avoid the evening heat. I was hosting a little gathering with a few close friends (and new folks) on top of what eventually turned into a Burning Man reunion. As the older folks (otherwise known as anyone over the age of 35) and the square folks decided it was time to head out for dinner, we piled back into the night heat. The sound of revelers dancing and laughing in the 95 degree heat impressed me. Texas was showing life in the face of death.

In what I can only call a rookie move, we went to a community meet up in the backyard of some sort of coffee house and Eastern European bun shop. Even at 10pm it was too much for me. The adults decamped to a nice restaurant for air conditioning and steaks. It was bliss. Expensive privileged bliss. And yes I enjoyed consuming more than my share of resources. I’d contributed to the resource depletion that has changed our climate and made me suffer.

My period started this morning so I’m obviously tired, bloated and cranky. The last thing I want to do is cope with heat that’s supposed to get up to 109. I’m doing the dance where I rush as fast as I can into a waiting car. I try to avoid the natural world and it’s cruel requirements. We’ve not conquered nature, merely found ways to shield ourselves from its worst ravages. But those protections only intensified the natural patterns of our planet.

I idly thought to myself if I was ever to have a daughter I’d name her Cassandra. That could be quite a parental trauma to give a child. Imagine the anger she might feel dealing with a world where it’s either innovate your way to safety or accept a declining living standard with degrowth. It’s a horrifying choice. I want to be an optimistic natalist that thinks we can innovate a better future for our children. I want their confidence.

But it’s hard to be confident about a future where an enormous vibrant place like Texas will be forced to run the gauntlet of a chaotic age to a singularity not everyone will live to see. I wouldn’t place my fate in a place with drought, extreme heat and reactionary right wing populism. But I’m also not sure I’ll ever come back. But I hope I do.