the r0oT experiment:
For many years I have known that climate change is real and serious, but it was not until I started reading books by James Lovelock and Colin Tudge that I started to realize how serious it is, and how imperative is to take action. I decided to try an experiment based on a simple piston model, as I pictured some years ago in one of my comic strips. In it, I depicted a chamber separated in two parts by a moving piston. In the left part we can see many arrows, of all shapes and styles, but highly disorganized. On the right we see a few arrows with a high degree of coordination. Disorder leads to zero net force, so a great majority can be smashed and cornered by a few organized forces. This is the story of our society and our planet. The vast majority living in a squeezed wealth-space while a minority enjoys an exaggerated set of privileges. To overcome such a situation, a revolution is not a good idea because revolution usually means higher temperature, which in this model just increases a bit the pressure to the right but it does not enhance coordination. What we need is to cool down and coordinate with a clever plan. That was the origin of r0oT, a system that could permit such a phase transition.
In order to achieve it I simply chose a branched network in order to encapsulate all the human population in just 13 layers of organization. The idea is simple: nodes are people and interactions are done through emails. Through the whole network, informaction (information+action) flows. All the world could be properly informed and coordinate to act with a great collective force. I thought it was a good idea so I took the action to recruit some friends. Soon I started to discover the true face of many people that I thought I knew well. Most of them simply didn't bother to answer to my messages, even those that claimed to be worried by the climate change topic, or by other humanitarian issues. Others listened and answered, and some even joined the project, but on average no one moved a single finger. Everyone was too busy with their lives to worry about the world in which they live. Everybody seemed to be overloaded by interesting things to do, with personal projects, etc. The Earth, Gaia, who allows people to live their lives, didn't seem a priority for them. I started questioning what kind of concepts were friendship or family, when those that you supposedly love don't give a shit about our world. Shouldn't be friendship and family defined as those who share first priority things?
I decided to find people like me by writing a manifest in which I put all the details I could. There had to be people that I could call real family, real friends, and by sending this text to the public, I could find them. And together we could start building a network in which Gaia could be looked after. So last summer, in September 2016 I wrote a very long text that you can download here. Only a couple of real friends responded to this call. I sent it to many people and almost nobody cared to even say hello back. My close friends told me it was because the text was too long, too technical, lacking figures and a user-friendly approach. So I moved on.
Two months later I decided to rewrite the whole text, in a shorter form. With a more direct, practical approach. With figures and more references. In all: more user-friendly! It took me a whole week of work to write the second manifest, that you can download here. I thought this time people would respond. I sent the manifest to hundreds of researchers, especially from environment science departments, from different countries, including the whole set of teachers in the University of Barcelona's `Grau de Ciències Ambientals'. I also sent emails to the whole staff of 350.org. I joined Twitter and contacted hundreds of people calling themselves `climate change activist'. In all, more than one thousand people who were supposed to be concerned by climate change and open to an idea that could potentially improve the current perspective. I also opened profiles at Diaspora, GNUsocial and Facebook. The result: only one person answered with interest, another person simply answered with a single and polite sentence and an influential person in the world of the Free Software Movement replied giving just formal advice without reading more than 2 pages or considering the idea. The rest: just silence.
What are the reasons for such a silence? I can just speculate with some. 1) I think that people are generally too cluttered by smashing agendas that do not allow for new ideas. My emails and messages have been probably buried under severe time lines or simply marked as spam. 2) Even people with an activist or environment-oriented profile don't really take climate change as an urgent thing. Otherwise they would at least consider this idea. But they prefer to keep in their local actions that, as great as they can be, will not prevent Gaia to move to a warmer state. 3) Most people are poorly trained in reading so when presented with a 14 pages PDF, they find it too boring and difficult. Or too long. They are used to receive extremely short inputs, ideas that try to sell themselves in less than five seconds. Or used to see super fast videos condensing ideas in a couple of minutes as MinuteEarth does in YouTube. I contacted them with a long and dedicated letter just to see if they could be interested in a collaboration. Again, not even a reply. It seems that an idea that cannot sell itself in just a moment is not worth enough, when in fact the type of ideas presented in tweets or in short videos are extremely superficial. Are we expecting a game changer without paying attention for more than a minute? Come on.
The final reason for the current failing of r0oT may simply be my inability to present a material in a really user friendly fashion. Maybe I should try to produce a short video to address those lazy and over-busy minds, but then, will they join a network in which we are all supposed to read and write on an almost daily basis? I feel a bit burned out by all this. I am utterly disappointed with people in general. I could do here the misanthropic talk but it is pointless. For now, I consider the r0oT experiment as a fail, but I will leave the channels open for new people to discover it and eventually build this network. Until then, the ice will keep its melting pace.
If you find this idea worth trying, consider resurrecting it by joining. The manifests can be downloaded at:
r0oT_short.pdf, the second manifesto (short text and figures)
r0oT_long.pdf, the original manifesto (long text)