Rising Sea Levels
The gradual rise of sea levels is one of the most troubling aspects of global climate change, especially because it is likely to accelerate in the future. Two processes are involved: an increase of the mass of water in the oceans (the eustatic component), derived largely from the melting of ice on land, and an increase of the volume of the ocean without change in mass (the steric component), largely caused by the thermal expansion of ocean water.
After reading an article in the New York Times about the gradual disappearance of The Marshall Islands, we were inspired to create an experiential project where the viewer gets a taste of what the islanders would potentially be faced with.
“The Marshall Islands, a network of small islands in the South Pacific, is one of the countries most at risk of the dangers of climate change. The roughly 50,000 people who call the Marshalls home are facing rising sea levels, increasingly violent storms, drought and flooding.”
“There may be music in the roar of the sea, as Byron eulogized, but the waves can also bring creeping unease. On low-lying fragments of land like the Marshall Islands, the tides are threatening to take away what they previously helped support: life.”
“Water is, claustrophobically, everywhere. Its handiwork is evident even in its absence–graves that are sliding into the sea and spilling bones on to what remains of the beach, the Sisyphean labor of re-patching flood defenses, the gnawed-away coastline releasing the determined grip of precipitously angled trees, one root at a time.”
“Climate change may still seem far off for some, but for the people of the island nations of Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Vanuatu, and the Marshall Islands, it is already a disturbing reality.
In recent years, cyclones, droughts, and other natural disasters have become commonplace for these Pacific island nations, as well as several other nations. If sea levels continue to rise at their current rates, some of the islands will be fully submerged within just a few decades, according to a UN report released at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in early December.”
Business Insider, 2015-12