Angelica Ospina at Notes on ICTs, Climate Change and Development has set up an interesting post on adaptation information ontologies. You know you’re in for something worthwhile when the piece begins with this statement:
Determining the repercussions of the changing climate is a field of great unknowns.
But what I really like is that she doesn’t assume the only objective is to get rid of uncertainty. She asks, “should the quest for ‘certainty’ be the focus of our attention?” Truth be told, as a problem for management climate change and climate adaptation must necessarily involve finding ways to grapple productively with uncertainty rather than attempting overarching control. People who work with nature understand this, and climate adaptation is precisely this.
I love it that she positions this as a problem of information technology. I would like to put up what Lev Manovich calls remediation as a concept to think through. Remediation involves translating a relation into different media in order that it may be manipulated in different ways. New media technologies are paramount for this, and as I’ve been arguing carbon markets are meant to remediate human intervention in the carbon cycle. Markets as information strategies must be understood as integrated in the geological carbon cycle (to the extent that they work!). Rabinow points out that remediation involves subjecting an existing relationship to a new form of mediation, but that it is a matter also of improvement or positing a remedy as a practical matter. For Thacker, remediation inevitably involves creative manipulation. Hence Ospina concludes:
The need to reduce uncertainty should not substitute efforts to foster creativity and flexibility, which lie at the core of resilient responses to the ongoing challenges posed by climate change.
That implies a different relationship to nature.