WHY DO WE CLING TO ART IN APOCALYPTIC TIMES?

Max Ernst: The Triumph of Surrealism, 1937, oil on canvas, 44 7/8 by 57 1/2 inches.PRIVATE COLLECTION. © PROLITTERIS, ZURICH/ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NEW YORK.

Scientific consensus on the accelerating twin cataclysms of climate change and ecological collapse offers two pathways for global capitalist civilization. One is characterized by a rapid, unprecedented, and almost certainly undemocratic revolution in energy infrastructure, economic policy, social life, political institutions, and the daily consumption patterns of billions of human beings, with the goal of substantially decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and reorienting industrialized society’s relation to the nonhuman world from a posture of unending predation to one of symbiotic cohabitation. The other path is characterized by abrupt and catastrophic ecological transformation that could, in at least one model, see the planet warm by more than 20°F within a hundred years.1

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