Kim Stanley Robinson on eco-disasters on Earth and Mars

Kim Stanley Robinson has a brilliant interview with the Guardian today about his new eco-disaster novel, 50 Degrees Below, the sequel to his chilling, gripping 40 Signs of Rain.

Robinson is the brilliant author of the Mars trilogy, three epic, life-changing volumes on the terraforming of Mars — see my review of Red Mars and its sequels Blue Mars and Green Mars. The interview focuses on the eco-disaster in the offing in the USA, and what Robinson's fictional debates about environmental management and re-shaping on Mars and Earth have taught him about disasters like Katrina.

"It seems so easy on Mars, and looks so hard on earth, which is kind of ironic," Robinson agrees. "It's infinitely more difficult when there's already an established ecology. There's no room for error. And also, alas, there are some mistakes that we simply don't have the power to correct."

Such as?

"Reducing the acidity of the ocean. That's a problem I've become more aware of since I finished book two – it will definitely feature in the third volume. Much of the carbon dioxide we're putting into the atmosphere actually ends up in the ocean, increasing its acidity and making it harder for the little creatures to live. They represent the bottom of the food chain and we're at the top of it. Scientists have looked at whether we could de-acidify the oceans after the fact, and the answer is flatly no …

"But there are things we can do. The kind of terraforming projects we may well have to contemplate in the future are huge, but they're not outside civilisation's industrial ability."


(via Making Light)

Update: Eric sez, "KSR goes into much greater depth on the topic in his top-5 'Amazon Short' titled 'Imagining Abrupt Climate Change: Terraforming Earth,' which I found well worth the 49 cents it cost to have access to the text anywhere in the world I could access"