"O ye'll take the high road, and I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland a'fore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond."
From the Roman Empire to Easter Island, history is rife with societal collapse—and with the unavoidable truth that environmental destruction, poor resource management, and population problems can contribute to that collapse.
In 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring brought to public awareness the detrimental effects that human activity can create in our environment. The backlash that followed illustrated the extent to which corporate greed and shortsightedness can be harnessed to manipulate public opinion, as evidenced by the eight-year delay between the publication of her research and the establishment of the EPA in 1970.
1992 saw the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted internationally, accepting scientific conclusions and taking action with the stated objective of “stabiliz[ing] greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
In 1995, Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed illustrated the complex systems involved in the collapse of past civilizations and invited consideration of how collective decision-making within contemporary regional and global civilizations will influence own fate.
In 1999 Paul Hawken and Amory & L. Hunter Lovins proposed a framework for “the next Industrial Revolution” that would bring together business and environmental interests in a radical move toward sustainability.
In 2010 Barrow, Alaska was named “Ground Zero for Climate Change” by Bob Reiss, writing for Smithsonian Magazine on the decades of climate research and resident observation in the area.
And now in 2018, Greenland, Pakistan, Chad, Texas, “the Tropics,” California, and Miami are among the many locations claimed to possess that dubious honor.
The result of years of research and experimentation, Low Roads approaches climate change in Miami from the perspective of social impact, visualizing the role played by actors in the art community—benevolently or malignantly; naively or with intent—in climate gentrification & displacement.
This project twists together threads of technology and fear; progress and politics; economics and exploitation. It offers a prognosis at once bleak and hopeful; it urges action, and it begs the question:
Will we take the high road or the low road?