The Past is the Key to the Future
Dates2021 - Ongoing
Climate change is not a modern phenomena but in integral part of earth’s history. The speed and the scale of recent changes in global climate on the other hand are unprecedented.
Scientists around the world, especially the IPCC, are frequently coming up with new superlatives to describe these changes. People all over the world are taking to the streets, asking for more climate justice and demand that politicians to call the current situation as scientist do: a historic crisis. Even though the scientific foundation is solid there are still people relativizing or straight up denying climate change.
To comprehend which scale these recent changes in earth’s atmosphere have one has to put them into a temporal context and compare the current changes to changes in the past. But how does one reconstruct the climate of the past 100 million years if humans began recording earth’s climate just recently in the 19th century?
This is the task of paleoclimatologists. Scientists of this scientific discipline work on climate archives in order to gain information on earth’s past climate. These archives can be organic archives like tree rings or coral, or anorganic archive such as speleothems, sediment or ice cores. Like other fields of climate science paleoclimatology is highly complex and interdisciplinary.
My final project „The Past is the Key to the Future“ resulted in a book project. The first aim of the book was to cover the work of paleoclimatologists in order to create a deeper understanding of the term „climate science“. To archive this goal I worked with my own images, but also used pictures and illustrations of scientists. In doing so and by using quotes of the scientists I met I make the scientist behind the research visible and give them a voice. As this scientific discipline is highly complex I also used text in order to explain the scientific methodology behind the research. In a second step I visited the Alps in order to document climate change where it is already visible. In a final step I took a look at climate modeling, where scientist develop models of our climatic future which serve as a basis for political decision making and drive our current societal discussions.