Having ploughed through several scientific papers I’ve made my decisions with respect to the data I want to use for a preliminary sonification model or, if you prefer, the narrative. Though ti’s obvious now, I hadn’t realised that CO2 data from ice core samples goes back literally to the year dot, and then even earlier. There’s been some interesting visual work with these large cloudy, frozen cylindrical time machines which might be worth investigating for future collaborations.
Anyway I’ve decided work with a timescale from 1880 to 2050. The earlier date is as pre-industrial as I can go and is also when records start for glacier monitoring. The choice of 2050 is based on the fact that if we don’t sort ourselves out by then the game’s over.
The data for the Aletsch glacier in Switzerland shows an unimaginable ice volume loss during the period in question. The scientists look at the forward projections with a number of highly sophisticated models so I trust these projections to be as accurate as possible.
Projecting forward from 2017 to 2050 for CO2 levels we can follow a number of scenarios to estimate the data. The most pessimistic (or is it realistic?) if we do nothing, or as they say in the community, ‘no action’, shows levels of CO2 so great that devastating tipping points will occur across several climatic areas. Sorry to be so negative folks, but we all need to take a serious look at our behaviour with respect to fossil fuel consumption, and we need to lobby politicians so that the issue becomes more important than an footnote to a party manifesto in the hope of sweeping up ‘the green vote’.
But all this lies at the heart of my project. Having become frustrated at the torrent of data hitting my screens every day I took some comfort from Naomi Klein’s book ‘This Changes Everything’ in which she decided to respond to her sense of frustration, within her means, by researching, writing and delivering a positive response to a range of climate change matters. Although I’m presenting some fairly dire scenarios my hope is that a sonic representation will invite a deeper more transformational reflection, and that I’ll be able to wrap the outcomes of this project, at the production stage when I exhibit the eventual sound installations, in socially-engaged events where the work functions as a catalyst or forum around which people will gather to share values and discuss personal and collective responses to climate change.