Submerged sustainability at the sea edge with ocean literacy and blue humanities across art and science
The United Nations has proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 to support efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and gather ocean stakeholders worldwide behind a common framework that will ensure ocean science can fully support countries in creating improved conditions for sustainable development of the Ocean.
Today, 8 June 2020, a start on this decade, stand out as the world oceans day! At the Posthumanities Hub we celebrate this day with a short description of our research on ocean literacy, blue and oceanic humanities, and low trophic mariculture across art and science.
All through the extended history of Earth, the coast line has been a zone of unrest where waves and tides have forged life and land on this planet. Oceanic algae, once terraforming Earth into a breathable planet, still produces most of our oxygen. The edge of the sea remains a strange and beautiful place, as Rachel Carson remarked with all its wondrous creatures in mind (1955/1998, The Edge of the Sea). Low-trophic marine zones, with kelp and other macro-algae (seaweeds), oysters, mussels and sea urchins, provide a host of benefits to various organisms, humans included, in providing many species with sanctuary and mitigating the eutrophication of the sea. Comparing this zone to the forests, Charles Darwin (1839, Voyages) observed on the sheer “number of living creatures of all Orders whose existence intimately depends on kelp”, and warned of the insurmountable effects should it perish (Filbee-Dexter et al. 2016, Filbee-Dexter and Wernberg 2018). Today, kelp forests and mussel beds are receding with the warming waters of climate change. They seem to in fact slowly perish however nutritious and beneficial they are for many species, including humans (Aksnes et al 2017). In dire times of environmental degradation, ocean acidification, and climate change, it is about time we turn our attention and appreciation to such low-trophic creatures and to the tidal zone of mariculture, as in this postdisciplinary arts and humanities project, submerged.
Sea Change at a glance
Sea Change is a postdisciplinary knowledge and capacity-building project on the potential of coastal mariculture aiming to connect marine sciences, natural history, cultural heritage and sustainability engineering with arts and environmental humanities research. The overall goal is to deepen ecological understanding and culturally contextualize scientific insight in eco-feminist theory, posthumanities and coastal communities so to stimulate society’s cultural imagination and invite a sea change of ethical responses to the state of sea life. In order to catalyse such change, this project will examine and unlock the transformational potential of eating, socializing and thinking with low tropic sea life and mariculture initiatives.
This project is a collaboration with KTH sustainability scientists, spatial practioners Cooking Sections, and Bonniers Konsthall. It involves the following researchers from The Posthumanities Hub: Cecilia Åsberg, Caroline Elgh Klingborg, Janna Holmstedt, and Marietta Radomska, and acknowledge the edible inspiration of the Lofoten International Art Festival 2019 and its Kelp Congress.