Wednesday, September 26, 2012

'Plunge': An Artist Envisions Climate Change

. . . Humanity can no longer simply think of existing
from generation to generation, but must ensure that the world
we leave behind is as good as, if not better than, the one we found.
~ Closing Statement, "What Next for Sustainable Development"

Think ahead 1,000 years in the future. Now try to imagine the great City of London under water. If you were asked to conceive of how climate change might have changed the world so many years from now, would a submerged London have occurred to you?

It did to British artist Michael Pinsky, who envisions the deleterious effects of climate change as Plunge.

Produced by Artsadmin and LIFT for Imagine 2020, an arts network supporting the use of artistic work to explore the causes and effects of climate change, Pinsky's conceptualization involves wrapping a string of low-energy blue LED lights around three monuments in central London — Duke of York Column, Paternoster Square Column, and Seven Dials Sundial Pillar — to demonstrate, simply and quite elegantly, one possible result of uncontrolled climate change: a Thames River that has steadily risen — 28 meters (91 feet, 10-3/8 inches) above current sea level, in Pinsky's scenario — until it has overtaken the capital.

Our ability to forecast such dramatic change as Pinsky envisions remains limited, although our imagination does not; and there is hardly consensus, scientific or otherwise, that climate change even exists. What data we do have, however, should give us pause and underscore the point Pinsky makes: Doing nothing is not an option.

How Might Sea Levels Affect You?Interactive Plunge Tool

The artists collective DARTER is working with Londoners to collect opinions on climate change and conceive of ways that art can help promote an awareness and understanding of climate change and its potentially catastrophic effects. (More about DARTER)

Climate Change at WWF Global (Ways to Help)

The Ecologist

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 

"When Sea Levels Attack": Data Visualization by David McCandless

World Wildlife Federation Global: Sea Level Rise

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