‘We’ are often the subject of climate change pieces. ‘We’ need to do this, ‘we’ should do that, what do ‘we’ do? The royal ‘we’ has unfortunately been dethroned long ago. ‘We’ do not exist in any functional sense and ‘we’ (as in humans) are not even the relevant species to what we vainly call ‘man-made’ climate change. From an alien eye — the most qualified to judge — is it?
‘We’ don’t drink oil and the CO₂ ain’t coming out our mouths. That oil goes into machines and comes out of their butts. From an objective perspective, this ain’t the age of man, it’s the age of machines. Sure our reproduction was nicely mixed up with capitalist reproduction for a while, but now it’s killing us and our relatives in droves. The main actor in this Holocene (“whole new”) doesn’t seem to be us as much as our artifacts. They have come alive to the detriment of everything natural.
The truth is that AI isn’t something in the future. AI (as in intelligent, artificial life) has been ruling us since colonial days, back when they ravaged the Earth with renewable power. Their name (which I’m making up) is Capital corporations. Species corporations, genus Capital. That’s the relevant species to climate change. As Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, don’t look now, it ain’t you or me.
The Anthropogenic Mass
Members of a species are notoriously biased towards themselves (re: cats), so let’s take a different perspective. Imagine that we’re aliens looking down on Earth, with no great preconceptions about what is or isn’t a species, who is or isn’t in charge. What would they see?
Ignore the biased labelling on this chart. This is only ‘anthropogenic mass’ in the sense of being our funeral. What we’re really witnessing is a speciation event. The birth of something new, its bones metal, its body concrete, its veins asphalt, its blood oil. Look at it with alien eyes and it becomes clearer.