ART AND SCIENCE
Sometimes science fiction can attract attention where scientific papers fail. Andrew Merrie, a freshly graduated PhD student now working with SRC communications, commissioned conceptual artist Simon Stålenhag to bring a set of narrative scenarios about the future oceans to life. Stålenhag came up with four eerie and thought-provoking images. Two of the scenarios represent more utopian futures, the other two are more dystopian. They are written as speculative fiction in different, engaging narrative styles: a travel magazine article, an obituary, the transcript of a “TED”-like talk, and a series of recovered journal entries.
Merrie recognizes the need to not only understand what’s happening in terms of climate change and marine ecosystems, but also look at how these projected changes will impact human societies and the global fishing industry.
“These images can be used as entry points to the science,” says Andrew Merrie.
“While they are fictional scenarios they draw on ecological, technological, socio-economic and governance trends and are built on a rich and deep scientific evidence base.”
The collaboration with Stålenhag is part of an ongoing science-communications project called ‘Radical Ocean Futures.’ It is also part of Merrie’s PhD dissertation - “Global Ocean Futures: Governance of marine fisheries in the Anthropocene.”
The project was financed through a science communications grant from The Swedish Research Council Formas and recently featured on WIRED.
“Rime of the Last Fisherman” by Simon Stålenhag. This scenario shows a dismal future where the ocean becomes all but dead; a lone fisherman scribbles down his thoughts as he lives through it.
“Fish Inc” shows the logical extreme of ideas around “the blue economy” and “farming the seas”. The ocean has become a place for factories; a large tank is filled with jellyfish being turned into nutrient pastes.
“Oceans Back from the Brink” by Simon Stålenhag. This image shows healthy oceans back from the brink of disaster, with healthy ecosystems and well-managed fisheries. This scenario even has robots working to clean up the ocean and restore coral reef ecosystems. A coming together of human ingenuity and ecologically literate technology.
“Rising Tide” by Simon Stålenhag. This image shows a healthier future ocean where nations and communities come together in the Pacific Ocean to build a new society and live under the oceans in the face of rising sea levels.
Andrew Merrie member of the SRC communications team, he finished his PhD in sustainability science in April 2016. His PhD thesis was entitled “Global Ocean Futures: Governance of marine fisheries in the Anthropocene.” The thesis focuses on challenges in global governance of the oceans with a focus on marine fisheries.
Research news | 2017-10-19
The starting point for a rethink on how we produce our food
Research news | 2017-10-18
Beatrice Crona awarded fellowship in new leadership programme on global health
Research news | 2017-10-16
How investments in solar energy go beyond access to electricity to positively affect people’s life expectancy and years of schooling
Research news | 2017-10-12
Stockholm Resilience Centre acts as impact partner for their Global Solutions Program
Research news | 2017-10-11
How pro-environmental interest groups were able to push for reforms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy
Educational news | 2017-10-02
Introducing our new executive programme in resilience thinking