[NetBehaviour] Fires in Australia

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Sun Jan 5 20:39:24 CET 2020

Hi Alan,

I share your dismay over these horrors.

Often I feel that grieving and witnessing are all I can do so I try to do these.  Sometimes I wonder if more is possible, if only hypothetically, even when so much is clearly beyond the control of anything I can conceive of technologically or otherwise.

I try to blend hopefulness and realism when I can, and the attached song that Michael and I wrote last August captures a lot of that feeling for me.  It is a hopeful song, especially in the first and last sections, but the middle section is as follows:

Such hate across the nation
Brings tears to fathers' eyes
Death by fire and by water
Storms of our own demise

In any case these are some of the things I think about these days.

Best regards,


From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
Sent: Friday, January 3, 2020 1:26 PM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] Fires in Australia

(Apologies for a 2nd post today; I think the situation warrants it. How do
we, as a community, respond to this? To the approx. 480m killed? To a
Ballard future collapsing around us? How do we stop from harming
ourselves, how can we act intelligently with this like this - on top of
all the other horrors? Because this is going to spread of course; the ash
on NZ glaciers accelerating melt. What do we do? What do we do as a

Fires in Australia

http://www.alansondheim.org/Victoria.jpg (map)
http://www.alansondheim.org/Victoria.mp3 (radio)

In Pennsylvania, we had house-destroying floods, mine fires,
highly polluted air. We went back and explored the area (around
Wilkes-Barre/Kingston) last April. I've had my own things
destroyed in floods several times, oddly including a storage
container in Los Angeles, a closet in Providence, my parents'
house in Kingston. But nothing, ever, like this. Reading Ballard,
the world's future is spelled out as a scenario for now. Teaching
"The Year 3000" back in the early 70s, I was face-to-face with
the statistics. I've continue to talk and write and think about
this. I was influenced by post-modern geography, and by the
collapsed flora of the Carboniferous/Pennsylvanian, which I
collected. I grew up negative. I've been following the fires and
started interviewing a few people by Skype, people from eastern
Australia. I'm trying to make sense of this, trying to find
optimism in a situation which I see as the beginning of something
problematic, horrifying. (I'll send the interviews out to the
lists.) I listened late last night (here) to the radio - a short
segment is above. The map gives some indication of locations.

There was a report that 480 million animals have died in the
fires. It's inconceivable, as is the number.

Best, hopefully, Alan

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