Kiribati: To flee or adopt futuristic techno-islands?

Kiribati: To flee or adopt futuristic techno-islands?

Science fiction is now–especially for islands facing the threat of sea level rise. A Japanese company just proposed a futuristic design for replacement islands, once the nation is submerged under future seas. In addition, the first Kiribati man is claiming climate refugee status in New Zealand.


House of Small Cubes: on Water and Memory

This lovely 2008 animation was brought to my attention by a good friend of mine. Sort of like a Japanese version of “Up”, but involving scuba diving! An old man drops his favorite pipe in the ocean and, deciding to go after it, dons scuba gear to go find it by plunging through a trapdoor in his house (that leads to the ocean). Descending the water column becomes a way of remembering, ending on a positive note–“cheers!”

Ocean as World Bathtub

It struck me that the film Beasts of a Southern Wild, which takes place in a fictional area of Louisiana called “The Bathtub,” needs to be put in conversation with the recent entry of a giant inflatable duck into the bay of Hong Kong, by artist Florentijn Hofman. Its presence changed the way that people experienced scale in the harbor, and became a vehicle for more broadly thinking about interconnection between waters of the world and related environmental issues. After it collapsed, “The duck’s demise reflected the city’s every anxiety: One blogger pondered if it had succumbed to lung disease from the Pearl River Delta’s infamous air pollution. Images of the duck, wearing one of the face masks made ubiquitous here after the 2003 SARS virus crisis, proliferated online. Others wondered if it died from the newest deadly strain of avian flu found in China, which University of Hong Kong researchers have discovered can be both airborne and transmitted to pigs, as reported in Science” (NYT).

What does it mean to think of the world’s oceans in terms of a bathtub?  What does this metaphor do?

The Island President: climate change now

An extremely compelling biographical film about the former (as of last year) president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed. He was been arrested several times, imprisoned, and beaten before being the first democratically elected leader of the Maldives. I realized I need to read up on the situation more because only last year was there a coup that terminated his governance, and it’s likely that all the hard work he did to help move the Maldives towards being carbon neutral–and fight for global cooperation to lower carbon emissions–will stop.