H A B I T A T   C H A N G E     -    3 ∏   P O U C H U L U     Mobile  Website  Architecture  Instituto Pouchulu

Index  1 - 2 - 3 - 4-  5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 -- --










2 : Mimic-Reality

We face a non-returning catastrophic ecological event produced by 10.000 years of constant deforestation and 200 years of intensive pollution. Industrial civilization is a heat engine. It had to change direction to allow our civilization to survive, and it did not. 19th century science developed into 20th century technique, producing a self-destroying scenario where architects (which for centuries created beautiful universes) are not leading in the environment anymore. We have been replaced by technocrats and engineers, who ignore the nature of things. For decades theoretical discussions showed a detachment from Habitat. Architects became fashion designers, often in giant urban proportions, building anti-sustainable contraptions. Glass towers in deserts like Dubai are seen as a success and promoted in magazines, wasting energy, resources, becoming a sad example of what not to do. Marshall McLuhan anticipated that the speed of electronic information was catapulting perception, conscience and knowledge, while Jacques-Yves Cousteau saw the oceans dying. Virtual reality is deactivating children's reading, writing and interpreting capabilities (which are non-biological). In many cases, when applied to the real word, the so called search engines annihilate students' association and logical analysis capacities. Social networks kidnapped their mind. Our conscience understands what we see on screen as real, when we actually process mirrored images. For your subconscious, however, what you see in the Internet (as this) is unreliable, because it is unreal: there is no paper, no materiality, things you will never touch. Somehow we got trapped in between, we are confined in mimic information. Data collected in several published scientific researches indicate that most vertebrate and invertebrate species approach mass extinction within decades. There are 8 million life forms on Earth: 150 to 200 species disappear every day, not only insects. Hundred years ago one million blue whales lived in the oceans: there are less than 1.500 left. Five billion carbon dioxide tonnes are put into the atmosphere every year. It was three sust thirty years ago. Every year an area of tropical and boreal forests equal to the whole surface of the United Kingdom is destroyed ¹ . Unlike the previous five known extinctions (the last one, 65 million years ago), this time is man-made.  

This is perhaps the most important graph our civilization has ever faced: the Arctic sea ice loss in the last 50 years and the immediate projection (the graph and these writings have been revised in January 2019). We started an (almost) Arctic ice-free summer in 2016, and we are reaching a full ice free Arctic within the next two or years: once the sun rays are not reflected by the white ice but absorbed by the dark ocean surface, the most severe positive feedback will not allow the ice-cap to recover. Between 1 and 1.5 degrees will be added to the average temperature, within months. This means more than 2 additional degrees in the continents, far from the coast, where the majority of agriculture of the planet is produced. In some documents, world food organizations estimate that, under that scenario, about 30% of the crops in the world will immediately fail. Facts (not our opinion) indicate that within the next two decades our industrial civilisation is collapsing; the ignition will not be necessarily political or economical instability, wars, oil, or a combination of all those factors, but simply lack of food production (mainly grains) because of sudden high temperatures, drought and excessive rain. It is already happening, in bursts. Within the main grain exporters, Argentina lost 40% of its production in 2017 because of high temperatures and lack of rain during 60 days, and 20% in 2018 because of excessive rain (not affecting the Pampas but the north-east basin. The US and Russia started to experience similar events in the last few years.

Whether human's destiny is (or has been) to live in a sort of dissociation reality where the image of the world we create reflects our wishes and particular interpretation, but something basically unreal and far from facts, or whether what happened (non-stop habitat destruction) had more to do with a sort of biological, instinct proto cerebellum type of animal mind, or with an unstoppable impulsive reaction, we will never know. In particular, I am not interested in that debate. The only thing that seems to be real is: our life span, as individuals and also as a society, is limited, we tend to survive in the short term and not to change unless we are forced to, and we do have a collective intelligence or -putting differently- a collective mind that tends to survive (to guarantee food and roof), but we destroy the environment in the process. Beyond the influence of the sun, which is indeed the most important warming factor of the Earth, there are more than 60 positive feedbacks that burst global temperatures because of the Greenhouse effect. Some of them, like the permafrost methane release in the Arctic, is also happening. Methane is a greenhouse gas hundred times more powerful than carbon dioxide. We have pointed above the most important positive feedback effect, which is validated by a large amount of scientific literature from the last five decades: the ice-free Arctic, that will add to the atmosphere more than one degree of average global temperature. This is acting as a catalyst of many more global climate effects: warming of deep ocean currents like the Gulf Stream, changing of air circulating patterns, called Jet Stream. The interaction between the two Earth's cups, covered by ice and the central areas of the sphere produce air currents, sort of inhale-exhale daily cycles somehow forming a barrier between the extremely cold poles and the template latitudes on the surface of the planet. Once the Arctic and the Antarctic melt -the former is about to complete the process, the latter started and will take decades- the Earth will stop 'breathing'; the Jet Stream disruption already started, allowing this 'divisor line' to penetrate with vortex streams further south towards the US and Russia in winter, and further north towards the Arctic in Summer, warming a vast region that has been detached and frozen for millennia. The Greenhouse effect is producing more and more rising temperatures and at some point it will level in a new warmer global average. However, at more than 4 to 6 degrees Habitat is gone and extinction is inevitable. We already face stronger storms in unusual latitudes, and deep inside the continents the situation in summer is severe. Close to 50 degrees Celsius in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, South of Russia. In some regions like the Sahel or Middle East it is already not possible to grow and harvest crops. We should be alerting and instructing our children about this, right now, instead of inducing them to play with plastic toys and digital games that built a mimic reality far away from our disappearing Habitat.

¹ Margaret Thatcher, Speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Global Environment, November 8, 1989 From: Margaret Thatcher foundation.

Go to the next chapter, here.

1 - 2 - 3 - 4-  5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 -- --


Background photo: planet Mars, dust storm, PIA15959, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), courtesy of NASA

up   main

Copyright © 2001-19 Patricio Pouchulu architect