Tag Archives: disaster tourism

Climate Change Escapism

In Spain Greenpeace has published a short photo book Photoclima that uses estimates from IPPC and photomontages to show six landscapes of Spain a changed climate. The book is bilingual in Spanish and English.

By Pedro Armestre and Mario Gómez. La Manga del Mar menor, Murcia now and after a few decades of climate change,

On BLDGBLOG Geoff Manaugh comments on how this project, and how not to envision the future in Climate Change Escapism:

The basic idea here is that these visions of flooded resort hotels, parched farmlands, and abandoned villages, half-buried in sand, will inspire us to take action against climate change. Seeing these pictures, such logic goes, will traumatize people into changing how they live, vote, consume, and think. You can visually shock them into action, in other words: one or two glimpses of pictures like these and you’ll never think the same way about climate change again.
But I’m not at all convinced that that’s what these images really do.

In fact, these and other visions of altered planetary conditions might inadvertantly be stimulating people’s interest in experiencing the earth’s unearthly future. Why travel to alien landscapes when you can simply hang around, driving your Hummer…?

Climate change is the adventure tour of a lifetime – and all it requires is that you wait. Then all the flooded hotels of Spain and south Florida will be yours for the taking.
Given images like these, the future looks exciting again.

Of course, such thinking is absurd; thinking that flooded cities and continent-spanning droughts and forest fires will simply be a convenient way to escape your mortgage payments is ridiculous. Viewing famine, mass extinction, and global human displacement into diarrhea-wracked refugee camps as some sort of Outward Bound holiday – on the scale of a planet – overlooks some rather obvious downsides to the potentially catastrophic impact of uncontrolled climate alteration.

Whether you’re talking about infant mortality, skin cancer, mass violence and rape, waterborne diseases, vermin, blindness, drowning, and so on, climate change entails radically negative effects that aren’t being factored into these escapist thought processes.

But none of those things are depicted in these images.

These images, and images like them, don’t show us identifiable human suffering.