Albert Enstein once said:
I don't know what weapons they'll use
in World War 3, but WW4 will be
fought with sticks and stones.
What he means is, in our haste for results,
we're going to lay waste to all we've created.
And this is from an intelligent man, who
actually helped atomic research.
We are having such an effect on the planet that
we got our own -cene, the Anthropocene.
The problem is that we are so rapacious as
regards our use of the planet that we seem to
forget that one should not shit where one eats.
Nuclear energy (and bombs, for that matter) is
one sign that we would prefer energy now
and toxic radioactive waste for 50 000 years.
"Just turn the feckin tv on!
Split an atom, if you have to.
I don't care about future generations."
There are parts of this planet that we know as
no-go areas. Unfortunately, animals don't have
We have Fukishima:
We have wrecked enough of this planet and
still we haven't got the message. Let's not
even talk about standard pollution, or climate
change. Trump and most of the US don't
even agree that it exists, largely because
they think it means we have to surrender
our fossil-fuel-burning toys (supercars, yachts).
And now, there's a new underground bunker
for nuclear waste that will be sealed and have
signs posted warning people not to go in.
What is telling is that they're are trying to
create visual signs for people who don't
speak any earthly language.
What does that mean? That there's every
possibility that humans will destroy so
much of humanity that languages will
no longer be taught in those things we
call schools. The US and UK are well on
their way to de-educating poor people already.
I have some ideas for these people:
-the three-eyed fish.
-the melting man from Robocop
the atom. they'll be famous and
believed to be the devil bythe
23rd century shamanic religion.
Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever
We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound – and terrifying – it will leave its legacy for millennia. Politicians and scientists have had their say, but how are writers and artists responding to this crisis?
Friday 1 April 2016 12.00 BST
Last modified on Saturday 2 April 2016 00.06 BST
In 1981 the research field of “nuclear semiotics” was born. A group of interdisciplinary experts was tasked with preventing future humans from intruding on to a subterranean storage facility for radioactive waste, then under construction in the New Mexico desert. The half-life of plutonium-239 is around 24,100 years; the written history of humanity is around 5,000 years old. The challenge facing the group was how to devise a sign system that could semantically survive even catastrophic phases of planetary future, and that could communicate with an unknown humanoid-to-be.
Construction of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, an underground nuclear waste dump. Photograph: Eric Draper/AP
Several proposals involved forms of hostile architecture: a “landscape of thorns” in which 15m-high concrete pillars with jutting side spikes impeded access; a maze of sharp black rock blocks that absorbed solar energy to become impassably hot. But such aggressive structures can act as enticements rather than cautions, suggesting here be treasure rather than here be dragons. Prince Charming hacked his way through the briars to wake Sleeping Beauty. Indiana Jones braved wooden spikes and rolling boulders to reach the golden idol in a booby-trapped Peruvian temple. Sometimes I wonder if the design task should be handed wholesale to the team behind the Ikea instruction manuals: if they can convey in pictograms how to put up a Billy bookcase anywhere in the world, they can surely tell someone in 10,000 years’ time not to dig in a certain place.
The New Mexico facility is due to be sealed in 2038. The present plans for marking the site involve a berm with a core of salt, enclosing the above-ground footprint of the repository. Buried in the berm will be radar reflectors, magnets and a “Storage Room”, constructed around a stone slab too big to be removed via the chamber entrance. Data will be inscribed on to the slab including maps, time lines, and scientific details of the waste and its risks, written in all current official UN languages, and in Navajo: “This site was known as the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Site) when it was closed in 2038 AD … Do not expose this room unless the information centre messages are lost. Leave the room buried for future generations.” Discs made of ceramic, clay, glass and metal, also engraved with warnings, will be embedded in the soil and the shaft seals. Finally, a “hot cell”, or radiation containment chamber, will be constructed: a reinforced concrete structure extending 60 feet above the earth and 30 feet down into it: VanderMeer’s “Tower” made real.
I think of that configuration of berm, chamber, shaft, disc and hot cell – all set atop the casks of pulsing radioactive molecules entombed deep in the Permian strata – as perhaps our purest Anthropocene architecture. And I think of those multiply repeated incantations – pitched somewhere between confession, caution and black mass; leave the room buried for future generations, leave the room buried for future generations … – as perhaps our most perfected Anthropocene text.