Utopian and dystopian marine futures
We are living in a great duality regarding seas and oceans. On the one hand, we have accurate information that anthropic pressure in previous decades has generated a process of deterioration like never before: depletion of fish stocks, pollution and marine litter, bycatch, exploitation of energy resources, loss of coastal habitats, climate variations, ocean acidification, global warming… and a long etcetera.
On the other hand, a series of regulations and political strategies have emerged and been implemented that clearly show us that “the sea matters”: The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, initiatives such as the Blue Economy, the Blue Growth program, the Oceans and Human Health discipline, the Catalan Maritime Strategy, and Marine Strategies at a Spanish level.
It is in this sense that, at the beginning of this year, a scientific paper entitled The Blue Acceleration was published (it easily might be the title of a The Big Bang Theory episode). In this article, the authors summarized how, as the demand for humanity’s resources advances, the expectations of putting the ocean in the spotlight on three great fundamental needs of humanity increase: food, material and space. And they end up wondering: does humanity’s future lie in the Ocean?
If the answer is yes, some changes must be done. Imagining the futures to come, the Radical Ocean Futures initiative was created, an exhibition that blends art and science and merges scientific fact with creative speculation. The exhibition shows four thought-provoking stories/scenarios that describe both utopian and dystopian marine futures: Oceans back from the brink, FISH Inc., Rime of the last fisherman and Rising Tide. The images that accompany each one of these scenarios has been created by the conceptual artist Simon Stålenhag, and although they are fictitious, they are based on ecological, technological, socio-economic and governance trends, built on a solid narrative and nourished scientific-based evidence.
We invite you to visit the website and take a tour of each of these stories, watch the images, listen to the audios and read the scripts … and perhaps after that, take some personal action once you know which of the future scenarios shown you prefer to aim.