UBC Graduate Research

The Ark of Theseus : Industrial Artificial Ecologies in the Circumpolar Region Derocher, Angus


If all members of a species of toad are in a tank, is the tank their habitat? To scale up this premise, the global nature of the climate crisis puts all ecosystems in an artificially modified environment, one giant tank. There is no wilderness left and no true wildlife. Yet there are still fish climbing ladders and polar bears in jail. With breeding programs, park preserves, etc. a growing number of species exist in habitats maintained wholly or in part by artificial interventions stamping the hallmarks of industrial society indelibly on the surface of the earth, In these circumstances, interference with these species is not only acceptable but desirable. Picking a specific case, the advance and retreat of the circumpolar boreal forest requires a gargantuan response and intervention. At this scale the only tools available are those of industrial mass production, which creates a new ecology that is both radically different and hauntingly familiar to the extent that the very species it sets out to support are no longer themselves. Neither, for that matter, are the human occupants of the territory tied as they are through structures to the world around them.

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