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  1. Christian Vium
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Christian Vium

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Which types of animals do we use? Waterworld: can we learn to live with flooding? Inset image: Ed Barsley. Flood risk as a driver for change. Read this next. Cambridge vs climate change Vice-Chancellor's blog. Cambridge and Nanjing break ground on 'smart cities' Centre. Removing beef and lamb from menu dramatically reduces food-related carbon emissions at Cambridge University.

UN Unveils Futuristic Floating City That Could Survive Real-Life Waterworld | Tech Times

Artist's interpretation of existing left and adapted right responses to flooding. Future cities. Sustainable Earth. Dick Fenner. Emily So. They just muddle on, scavenge, fratch and fall out. They are the ignorant of the Waterworld. The analogy for how many modern humans today are willing to bury their heads in the sand over issues of climate change and the existential threat of rising sea levels. The Auks are not the survivors in this parable. They are just living on borrowed time…….

Within the context of this image, he has cunningly ingratiated himself with a wandering tribe of Sasians, a group known for their peace loving ways.

Living with Environmental Change: Waterworlds

He came forward, down on his knees, begging for mercy and a chance to cleanse himself of the dark side. The Sasians with their good nature, took pity on this individual they saw as a bedraggled and mortified lost individual and invited him into the clan. Unbeknown to them, he has been sent to spy within their ranks. Still on the subject of pareidolia, a form of apophenia, which is a more general term for the human tendency to seek pattern in random information, within the context of my own interpretation of what I see in this mangrove knee root section, gives rise to this overly imaginative paragraph above.

For when I look at this section of mangrove knee root, this is what I see; I see a hunched figure, wearing a torn and tattered trench coat. Because of this it gives him a creepy suspicious appearance that suggest to me someone up to no good. Then at the rear of his head in line with his eye is his small ear. I see clearly his shoulder with small blue dot that is this undershirt showing through the tear in the trench coast sleeve.

His right arm then is pulled across his front and his hands tucked into the low deep pockets of his coat. This guy reminds me of a character out of Mad Max. Damp, dreary and very wet. Sasians tend to stay in one place and attempt to make do with what can be found nearby. They ingeniously mine and collect sand in areas that are semi-tidal, practicing a kind of primitive land fill operation. Building something akin to a sandbar, that is raised above sea level.

As the sea level rises, the higher they build the sandbar. That of rising sea levels. Regardless of the pending doom, the womenfolks like to look elegant for the time they have left in Waterworld. A battle between Hundreds of thousands of Men of Gondor and Arnor. Yes at the Battle of the Ojah Delta we see a melee of lances, spears, clubs, pikes and other ghastly implements of war.

Looking at this image I can hear the metal on metal clang mixed into the screams and shouts of a myriad men as they claw, stab and cleave each other into bits and pieces. This fibrous algae is harvested and cultivated for the extraction of polysaccharides such as alginate, agar and carrageenan, which as the primary Sasian diet provides the community with adequate intake of calories, proteins, fat.

Enough to stave of mass starvation and ensure their survival in this world, a realm which although inundated by water, contains zero crustacean or fish populations, due to the great extinction caused by what is now know as the Anthropocene period. Or the age of humans. This very same substance is woven into clothing and even used as buttressing for structures deemed unstable, as can be seen foreground supporting towers Isa left and Dalawa right. The fine filigree trails carved in the mud, spermatozoa like, created by the movement of tiny sand crabs, adds an intriguing pattern to the surface that takes on the appearance of something otherworldly.

The surface of Waterworld for example. I call this the Tower of Gamot, situated on the plains of aja aja. The story of Isengard goes on…. By the next day, only the tower of Orthanc remained, as it was hewn of one piece of impenetrable rock, and the plains below had been completely destroyed, leaving a desolate land of water and mud. I call it The Crucifix. It makes sense to me given the shape of this rather small, undernourished looking sprig of a red mangrove tree. And we know why. The small pencil roots that peep out of the sand around it, to my mind, represent the Waterworld pilgrims that come to the Crucifix to pay homage to the The Great Mangrovia.

Actually gagged and choked. Yes everywhere they walk the pilgrims of Waterworld and everywhere I walk the chronicler of this environmental catastrophe within this Phuket mangrove eco-system we are confronted by layers of plastic waste. Plastic that is for all intents and purposes like an alien substance sent from an alien planet by an alien species.


Sent to choke the life out of all of life forms found within this fragile marine environment. Hence the deep need for prayer. Prayer for help. Salvation from the tyranny of this scourge called plastic. A great man made poison, dumped in such profusion into the liquid morass that is Waterworld. We must surely choke on the absurdity of it all…. Yes the false God idol Styaricflua is en effigy of decay.

Plastic worship. Polymer wrap. Nothing is permanent in this fluid realm we call Waterworld. In the case of Styraciflua, as the tide rises and falls, pea sized foam balls dislodge and float away to congeal elsewhere. Often in the stomachs of strange looking Waterworld sea creatures that live beyond the horizon…..

They are even considered to be a geological marker of the Anthropocene, or the Age of Humans: plastic is a new type of material that will be encapsulated in rocks all over the planet, for future geologists to study as a marker of the current geological time period, in which human activity has become the dominant influence on the environment. The plastic contamination I found within the mangrove eco-systems I explored, I decided had to be added as another layer to the narrative.

I call this image, 'The Fountain of Pity'. In a more pristine, revered world, a civic fountain is an object of beauty. It is a source of cool fresh invigorating drinking water. Not so in WaterWorld. Here the inhabitants gather around this civic disgrace, gurgling it's insipid black toxic water. They mingle and socialize, say like Romans might do around the Trevi Fountains, while the WaterWorlders are accepting of it's noxious presence. What plastic?

A bit like humans today stroll across plastic littered beaches and hardly notice the mess. Act almost as if it's perfectly natural today to sit on garbage strewn sand. What I see here is a small hamlet at night, viewed from up high, like I have seen dots of light from an aircraft flying over the open expanses of Africa on my many night flights between London and Johannesburg. Rural African villages lit by sparse street lamps. Or Asian villages too, on islands in the Sulu sea or the Philippine archipelago. There is something enigmatic about the ziggy zaggy reflections of light play that splash on the blue sky watery surface, contrasting beautifully with the complementary hues of beige, soft browns.

Simply just sunlight splaying off a sandy sea bed. This image is whimsical, theatrical, and to my mind speaks of antiquity. But all we are viewing are mangrove pencil roots in late afternoon sun. My intentional underexposure of the image, giving us that classic day for night cinematic look, a technique that is as old as film making itself, the scene beckons me to consider much more than just roots in water.

Yes I see a strange medieval village. Maybe I see tall and skinny cloaked figures in moonlight, holding lanterns. Regardless this is all a figment of my imagination, yet a realm that makes me ponder and question the absurdity of destroying mangroves for shrimping farms to feed the gluttony of human kind. Once upon a time the earth was a veritable garden of Eden, inhabited by pragmatic people who cohabited with their environment.

Unlike the peoples of today who inhibit the natural order, degrade their natural habitats on a scale that has never been seen before. And in so doing, ultimately inhibit themselves. Become the unhabited! He is a Sasian. One of the many tribes of Waterworld. Footprints that will lead him back home. He stands on the edge of a raised sandbank, contemplating the speed and intensity of the currents that ripple down this tributary of the Ojah river.

All around him is the vastness of the Ojah delta. A forlorn and denuded place. Not a speck of green. Not an inch of tree cover or vegetation to protect him from the harshness of light and temperature. Not a single living species to nourish him. There is no food at all.

No shelter. Just an endless expanse of rock, sand and water. He feels vulnerable.