Scientists use art to advocate for oceans
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An Institute International Resarch Roundtable is using 16 digital art images to communicate the impact of climate change on our oceans.
Ryan Vachon is the Executive Director of Earth Initiatives, a documentary film maker and a participant in the Roundtable, Seafood in an Uncertain Future: from Scenarios to Policies, which brought together experts from around the world to ask the pressing question: Do we have enough seafood to feed the world’s demand in an era of climate change?
“The oceans provide services to humans that are almost unimaginable,” says Vachon– who is part of the Roundtable led by Principal Investigators, William Cheung from the UBC Fisheries Centre, along with Dr. Yoshitaka Ota from the Nereus Program and Dr. Masahiro Matsuura from the University of Tokyo.
Visualizing climate change is one way of instigating curiosity about its impact on our planet and oceans, he adds, saying he hopes these digital images will do just that.
“It’s not always intuitive how the ocean works. People live by the shores so they can view the ocean, but they don’t see underneath the surface. The waves and the darkness don’t allow people to visualize what is really going on underneath, whether it is the biodiversity or the movement of the water.”
Climate scientists estimate that about half of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is being absorbed by the oceans causing ocean acidification, which impacts marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
“We don’t see it, a lot of this stuff is hard to visualize, but meanwhile the science that we are doing gets it,” he adds.
Vachon worked with digital artist Jenn Paul Glaser for hours to translate knowledge and information about important issues around oceans, fishing, aquaculture, conservation of the marine environment and the preservation of coastal livelihoods in order to produce 16 stunning digital art images.
Eventually, Vachon and others hope to use the images to raise funds for initiatives that support ocean sustainability.
Below: a short interview with Glaser and a sneak peak of the new digital images.
True Cost of Fishing
This piece attempts to communicate the complications that go into the cost of fish in commercial markets. What do current costs cover? Boat, travel, work and storage expenses. The practice of harvesting seafood might be accompanied by degradations to ecosystems or pollution in our ocean? If values for these impacts are not included in the market cost, who pays for them and when?
Ocean and Culture
Human Reliance on Our Ocean
The Roundtable held a free public event on December 11, 2014 at the UBC Roy Barnett Recital Hall, UBC School of Music entitled Can We Eat Fish in the Future? where these works were on display.