• jodyerart

The Force Majeure


which lays out the basic reasoning, outlining the need for the experiment at the scales proposed and in the ways proposed:


 As do others, although differently 

That a series of events have come into being 

Beginning in the time of Gilgamesh and before 

Beginning with agriculture and the first genetic manipulation 

Beginning with culture of animals and ongoing genetic manipulation 

Beginning with globalization six thousand years ago with the Salt Route 

A little later, the Silk Route 

And later and later… 

Especially with science informed by Descartes’ clock 

And with modernity recreating the cultural landscape 

And deconstructing nature thereby 

From the Industrial Revolution to the present 

Until all at once a new force has become apparent 

We reframe a legal meaning ecologically 

And name it the Force Majeure 


 As do others somewhat differently 

That the Force Majeure, framed ecologically 

Enacts in physical terms outcomes on the ground 

Everything we have created in the global landscape 

Bringing together the conditions that have accelerated global warming 

Acting in concert 

With the massive industrial processes of extraction, production and consumption 

That have subtracted forests and depleted top soil 

Profoundly reduced ocean productivity 

While creating a vast chemical outpouring into the atmosphere 

Onto the lands and within the waters 

That altogether comprise this Force Majeure 

We, of the Harrison studio, are grateful 

For the opportunity to join in this perilous conversation 

Where the discourse in general 

Is about time, money, power, justice, sex, politics 

Personal well-being and survival 

In many combinations and re-combinations 

Attending somewhat to social injustice 

And somewhat less to ecosystems’ injustice 

This discourse points to human consciousness 

Every day continuously attending to itself 

With little attention paid to that which is not itself 

Leading to intrinsic value switched for extrinsic value 

With human creativity generating technologies 

That appear not to like that which are not themselves 

Sometimes becoming the reverse of their original intention 

There is modest conversation drifting toward green 

As industry and people think about doing well by doing good 

Good being green roofs green cars 

Green manufacturing processes 

Green transformation of material 

Green production of all kinds 

expanding green markets 

Green in everyday life 

in the frame of sustainability 


As do others, as yet, not many 

That in the face of multiple tipping points 

Passed and near passed 

From CO2/methane to nitrates/nitrites 

And more and more 

All of these efforts and all of this work 

Altruistic from the best of people 

Greedy and mean spirited from the worst of people 

Is better to be doing than not to be doing 

But on balance, insufficient 

Endlessly insufficient 

The Force Majeure, so obvious, even in the now 

Is generating ocean rise 

Forcing the ocean’s food chains to simplify 

Compelling glaciers and snow pack to melt 

Creating flood and drought at continental scale 

Which is the outcome for rivers 

As they flow down through Asia from the Tibetan Plateau 

And true for many parts of the Americas 

The outcomes for the Peninsula of Europe are unfortunate 

The numbers have been crunched 

Revealing the trajectory of drought predicted to proceed 

From Portugal to the southern parts of Germany and beyond 

Reducing 2.4 million square kilometers of farmland 

That now feeds over 450 million Europeans by almost a third within 50 years 

The population will grow the food supply will shrink 

The waters will rise 

People will need to move upward 

The rich will continue to do well 

Not true for the middle class 

And devastating for the poor


That a counter force is available 

But unless put in place well within the next fifty years 

Civil society in many places will experience perturbation then collapse 

Keeping company with the ecosystems 

experiencing perturbation and simplification 

A counterforce that is comprised of understandings 

Waiting to be internalized and then enacted 

They are:  

First understanding  Nature’s economic system stores the energy that it does not immediately need  mostly in carbon formations 

Second understanding Nature does not charge a profit as do culture’s economic systems 

Third understanding All natural systems are dissipative structures with individuals that form them living, reproducing then dying with indeterminacy as a norm 

Fourth understanding All natural systems have learned to nest within each other, and, within a context of  symbiosis contribute to collective systems survival, sometimes with abundance 

Fifth understanding Human constructed artifacts particularly legal, political, economic as well as  production and consumption systems seek constancy but are often in violation of the 

laws of conservation of energy pointing toward systems entropy

When the first four understandings are internalized and integrated into all parts of the fifth understating, a 

transformation can happen that will open pathways for human created systems to yield autonomy and accept 

limitations. An acceptance that will permit the formation of processes of nesting within nesting that will enable 

nature’s ways of invention and human ways of invention presently so oppositional to co-join. 

The counterforce we envision will permit 

A culturally generated acceleration of adaptation behaviors at great scale 

Operating at a parallel rate to the climate forcing generated by human activity 

setting the stage for adapting strategies that will assist the migration of our own species 

And those who are not ourselves 

Who are co-equally endangered by the threat of mass extinction 

Into zones of greater safety 

Tuning to and over time in concert with the Force Majeure

Image & text source: http://www.centerforforcemajeure.org/manifesto


©2020 Jo Dyer