Climate Refugees – The New Gods?

Week 2 / Temporary Expert / Systems Thinking and Creative Tools

I’m presently going back and forth on two ideas for the project proposal.

Idea 1 – The New Gods : Some people ‘believe’ in climate change. Some people don’t ‘believe’ in climate change. This whole commentary around believing or not believing in climate change is problematic. Global warming is supported by facts and the scientific community. You can disprove global warming using logical and scientific arguments. However, one cannot choose to believe in it or not. It exists, is backed by numbers, and wouldn’t cease to exist if human race dismisses it as a whole.

But this whole questioning of the existence of the phenomenon of climate change leads me to the following questions:

Is climate change something that needs to be preached to the skeptics? Is it something that can inspire a following, and consequently necessary counter actions? Does it need to be preached just like religion was preached in the dark ages? Are we in the wake of a new dark age?

There is an analogy that can be established between climate change now and religion back in the ages. And consequently, climate refugees can be elevated to be the new Gods. After all, Moses was a refugee. Twice, in fact. Jesus was also a refugee, wasn’t he? My interest lies in exploration of this analogy and creating a false mythology around this subject matter.

Going by the recent developments, human civilization is prone to experiencing the effects of global warming soon (it already is, and is bound to get worse if years continue to pass in ignorance). Forty or fifty years down the line, the circumstances will inspire a new society of nomads or refugees always ready to evacuate, always ready to reestablish themselves, refugees who are on the move always. Inspired by the refugee Gods from our times, this new way of living, the path of enlightenment is bringing people together and making them accept and adapt to the consequences of climate change.

Analogy and false mythology are two creative tools, that I wish to employ for this project proposal.

Idea 2 – LOL is the new SOS : The present Government is obsessed with denying climate change and repudiating its effects. The present Government is also easily triggered when they are made fun of. This idea involves creating a twitter bot that responds to politician tweets with LOL. The project being called ‘LOL is the new SOS’. However one challenge that I’m facing is that this idea is not really associated with climate refugees, but deals with the subject of climate change denial by the authorities. This idea employs mimicry to trigger response from the people and the authorities.

Experts: I’m planning to reach out to two experts at NYU Department of Environmental Studies.
1. Jennifer Jacquet is an assistant professor at the department. Her research deals with climate change and social approval, which are in line with my research subject. She also regularly publishes online articles emphasizing the effects of climate change for various publications ( link ).
2. Sonali McDermid is an assistant professor at the department. Her research is centered around climate change, land-use and agriculture. These topics are probably the most important factors contributing to the increase in climate refugees at this point in time ( link ).
3. Jugal K Patel writes articles concerning the environment for NYTimes.

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