Will 2011 hold ecological disasters comparable to this year's floods in Pakistan, Iceland's volcano, the tsunami in Indonesia, or China's earthquakes? Hard to tell, says Slavoj Žižek, author of Living in the End Times, in a provocative new op-ed for the New York Times:
One thing is clear: We should accustom ourselves to a much more nomadic way of life. Gradual or sudden change in our environment, about which science can do little more than offer a warning, may force unheard-of social and cultural transformations. Suppose a new volcanic eruption makes a place uninhabitable: Where will the inhabitants find a home? In the past, large population movements were spontaneous processes, full of suffering and loss of civilizations. Today, when weapons of mass destruction are available not only to states but even to local groups, humanity simply can't afford a spontaneous population exchange.
What this means is that new forms of global cooperation, which do not depend on the market or on diplomatic negotiations, must be invented. Is this an impossible dream?
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