Utopia/Dystopia

a. Why so balanced?
i. I aestheticize the relationship between natural and built elements,
ii. In many ways I read this piece as a utopia, a projection of how we want our systems to succeed in organizing the natural and built environment.
iii. Maybe if we can compartmentalize everything in the right way, or can find some way to live in harmony with the environment, it will all be okay???

b. Is there something more? Do you think it will all be okay??
i. Reading this piece as a utopic thing is valid.
ii. but I also wanted to hint at something beyond that, because in real life, these organizational structures, these systems, are failing.

c. Personal Annectdote!!! How are things failing?
i. Wildfires/cheatgrass/climate change: Over the past year I worked for The Nature Conservancy (large nature corporation) on a project that was trying to combat cheatgrass: an invasive weed that is causing huge and rapidly growing wildfires across the Western United States. For years the government agencies have been throwing millions and millions and millions of dollars at this problem, trying to extinguish these fires, and reseed burned acreage. The Nature Conservancy’s plan involves this same strategy: spend millions of dollars on reinventing seeding methods for grass and sagebrush to try to douse this surface level problem.
ii. (easy to point fingers, but that’s the system we live in, that’s how we deal with problems)
iii. I see this situation as humans trying to patch a leak in a series of larger failures – in this case: the consequence of overgrazing and monoculture farming and restoration, now being exacerbated by its root cause: changing climate.
iv. Working on such a difficult restoration problem definitely pushed me toward thinking of this piece as a dystopic, or at least made me want to hint at that pessimism I had.

Thinking: Utopia/Dystopia
Eric Rannestad
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