(381)

One of the many references in Chiara’s talk was Future: A Game of Strategy, Influence and Chance. This essay by Scott Smith tell the history of the game and of future forecasting.

(381)

Extractivism is the removal of natural resources particularly for export with minimal processing.

 

(383)

Explore the website and read the book

(384)

Meet Gossy 👋

(385)

Talk
Chapter 4: Power
September 9th 2023


Kicking off the Helsinki Tangle was researcher and writer Chiara Di Leone, whose talk “Power Play” launched us straight into our theme by examining the techno-economic power structures at play in climate forecasting.

Telling stories that predict the future of the climate has a long and complicated history that perhaps could be traced back to instances where ancient civilizations would attempt to predict a forthcoming apocalypse – an event that, in light of the current climate crisis, feels a little too close to home. 

From the Future game

Climate forecasting in the contemporary sense began in the 1950’s where the RAND Corporation (an American think tank and research institute) contemplated using theatrical narrative tools to communicate and conceptualise the threat of thermonuclear war. Through the adoption of script writing techniques normally reserved for screenwriters in Hollywood, dense statistics and possible outcomes could be transformed into more tangible narratives – called “scenarios”.

Still today, the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) uses scenario planning to help sketch out numerous possible futures based on climate data. However, as Chiara notes; most climate forecasts become self-fulfilling prophecies that perpetuate inequalities between the global north and south by depicting futures that largely remain reliant on extractive capitalism

In order to navigate to a radically different future (one that escapes the trappings of extractivism) there must be a radical re-design of the way we imagine the future. Half Earth Socialism is a planetary crisis planning game developed by Chiara and others as a tool for players to become planners of the future. Developed from the book of the same name that calls for half the earth to be left for rewilding through deliberate planning, design, and socialism- the game forces us to weigh up political capital against climate limits whilst balancing extinction rates with public popularity. 

Gossy

Guided by Chiara, and with the help of Gossy (Half Earth’s “Clippy) the audience in Helsinki were tasked with saving the world – debating whether their parliament should vote to prioritise universal healthcare, or lab grown meat, an ecofeminist curriculum or hydroelectric power. Gentle debates bubbled up and along the way we explored new and alternative futures – in all their strange, unfamiliar forms often excluded from mainstream climate forecasts.

In playing the Half Earth game, the individual is given the POV of a global leader with agency and power to enact change, an otherwise rare feeling when contemplating climate change in reality. This redistribution of responsibility – albeit within an online world – not only shares contemporary theories on climate cooling, but also demonstrates a novel approach to climate activism that emphasises the importance of imagination and optimism.

Play Half Earth Socialism 

Take a deep dive into the curriculum of the Half Earth Socialism reading group

Chiara’s other work can be found here 

Back to grid

More from the tangle