Between 1500 and today, we have witnessed colonization and the Industrial Revolution, the birth of modern states, identities and institutions, the mass combustion of fossil fuels and the associated rise in global temperatures. A team of researchers think that If we fail to halt climate warming, the next 500 years and beyond will change the Earth in ways that challenge our ability to maintain many essentials for survival — particularly in the historically and geographically rooted cultures that give us meaning and identity.
To make their case more compelling they have used their projections and diverse research expertise to inform a series of nine paintings covering a thousand years from 1500 to 2500 CE, in three major regional landscapes: the Amazon, the Midwest United States and the Indian subcontinent.
An image is worth more than a thousand words…
Here is a summary in The Conversation. And here is the open-access article in Global Change Biology.
Anthropogenic activity is changing Earth’s climate and ecosystems in ways that are potentially dangerous and disruptive to humans. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue to rise, ensuring that these changes will be felt for centuries beyond 2100, the current benchmark for projection. Estimating the effects of past, current, and potential future emissions to only 2100 is therefore short-sighted. Critical problems for food production and climate-forced human migration are projected to arise well before 2100, raising questions regarding the habitability of some regions of the Earth after the turn of the century. To highlight the need for more distant horizon scanning, we model climate change to 2500 under a suite of emission scenarios and quantify associated projections of crop viability and heat stress. Together, our projections show global climate impacts increase significantly after 2100 without rapid mitigation. As a result, we argue that projections of climate and its effects on human well-beingLyon, C., Saupe, E.E., Smith, C.J., Hill, D.J., Beckerman, A.P., Stringer, L.C., Marchant, R., McKay, J., Burke, A., O’Higgins, P., et al. Climate change research and action must look beyond 2100. Global Change Biology n/a.
and associated governance and policy must be framed beyond 2100.
I think those visions are greatly exaggerated. Of course, it is necessary to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses, but the end of the world is not just behind the corner, at least because of that. Much more dangerous is the proliferation of atomic weapons.
I fully agree with you. What I liked is a team of research using narrative “artwork” to convey their ideas/work. It’s nice 😉
Dear Paco and Jose,
I concur with both of you. There are other highly plausible dystopian scenarios with significant risks for the future of humanity. I often explore the intersections of art and science, of public and private spaces, of the cultural and the technological. Whilst I concede that technology offers enormous unexplored potential allowing emerging artists to express themselves in unprecedented ways, I do have certain concerns and caveats regarding science “reproducing” reality and artists representing it. In a special post, I have endeavoured to give a very good inkling of the kind of society that humans might be heading towards. Looking into the future, here is an entry in my sociology, philosophical anthropology and cultural history journal entitled “🎧 Facing the Noise & Music: Playgrounds for Biophobic Citizens 🏗🌁🗼“, published at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/facing-the-noise-music-playgrounds-for-biophobic-citizens/
Pushing forward another 50 years or (much) less, we could indeed end up in the scenario as described in my said post. As you can discover in the said post, there will be plenty of far-reaching ramifications in multiple domains of human life, some of which are irreversible.