Is Geoengineering Science Fiction?

Sometimes, life feels like one big sci-fi story. Science is absolutely crazy if you pull back from it, looking at it through binoculars and not a microscope. You don’t need the best pair of binoculars to see how the most popular climate change solution is straight out of freaky sci-fi shit. 


Let’s get a ‘lil narrative. 

There is a planet that is third from a sun, buried in a galaxy that looks like all the other ones. 

Humans, strange two legged creatures, thought their planet, Earth, was made just for them, carved out of a pocket of the universe in the arm of a galaxy.

They slaved and built and grew and demanded and fought until the surface of the planet was slathered in an impermeable rind of concrete, buildings rose high enough in the air to be taller than everything else around it, and the air, the water, the ground was thickened with their waste. There were less plants, less animals, less natural things. They thought they were the smartest living beings.

Things were not always this way. Humans once lived in damp and dank caves where they were equal, if not entirely lesser, than every other jaw gnashing and plant eating beast at that time. There was a time when humans lived in the shadows of trees, and crouched down and collected little red berries and withered mushrooms; their gazes were suspicious and cautions under furrowed brows. 

But then, one day, no one knows exactly when they stood up taller, looking down on anything below them. They built and grew, and we know what the planet looked like after that–nothing natural, poisons leaking everywhere. 

Some humans didn’t like the way the planet looked, the way it was treated. They new they should change, but old habits die hard, and now the planet is warming, heat swirling and sucking things dry. They hide from storms that dash them away. Things are tumultuous and humans are scrambling. They need an idea. 

One is to launch a fleet of sleek metallic rockets, sending them into the blue sky that’s not really there, and inject the air with millions of aerosol molecules, acting like millions of mirrors to reflect the sun away. The planet would cool and things would calm, but when the mirrors fall, the aerosols disperse, the planet will rage hotter than before as the heat that was pushed away comes crashing back.

Another is to mimic the plants, the natural things they destroyed. They would study the world around them and see how it works. They thought they knew everything, but the planet knew more.  

No decisions have been made. This story of the third planet from the sun is to be continued. 


2 thoughts on “Is Geoengineering Science Fiction?

  1. Olivia,

    First I want to say that I love your blog!

    I agree that many geoengineering solutions are scary, they could alter the future of our planet (and others!) for better, or more likely, for worse, and little is known about the unintended consequences of such activities. However, not all geoengineering solutions are as risky and science fiction-y as sending particles into space, or dumping hundreds of thousands of pounds of chemicals into the ocean. Biochar is a geoengineering solution that stores carbon in the soil. This technology is based on agricultural practices that are millennia old and the consequences of storing carbon in this form are well documented and include decreased soil acidity and improved soil structure, not to mention increased crop yields! I recognize my bias (visit for more on that) but wanted to share a not so terrifying story of geoengineering.

    Keep up the amazing writing! What you’re doing is so important!
    Saludos, Heather


  2. Pingback: The Magic of Music | The Climate Pickle

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