New York, NY
2018, High School, Art
The relationship between climate change and our oceans is governed by an ever-snowballing cycle, wherein melting sea ice decreases albedo, causing the absorption of more solar energy, which contributes to further melting, and so forth. Positive feedback loops like these are dangerous due to their cumulative effect, prompting prominent scientist Wallace S. Broecker to draw a comparison between the climate and a temperamental beast. In a similar vein, the artwork itself suggests the animalistic wrath of nature wronged. The allusion to the Jaws movie poster, in turn inspired by a passage in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, renders this theme especially prevalent. Both film and book explore the disastrous effects of underestimating nature. However, here, the menace of the sea is not a sperm whale, nor is it a shark. Rather, it is sea ice. Once melted, sea ice increases both the sea level and the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is a force to be reckoned with, most of all when it concerns island residents who are often displaced by rising sea levels, hence the evacuation boat. Its harried occupants epitomize the human struggle that arises out of climate change, ironic because present-day climate change is a process that is accelerated by humankind. In this regard, the danger, similarly to the downfall of both stories' protagonists, is self-inflicted, with many innocents caught in the crossfire. The “beast” is not inherently evil--his rampage is defensive, just like climate change in nature. Only immediate action can remedy the situation.