A "Black Box" To Hold World Accountable For Climate Crisis

A "Black Box" To Hold World Accountable For Climate Crisis

Soon, a hulking steel black box will be placed in the center of Tasmania. The purpose? To record, for the sake of future generations, the mistakes that led to climate change. Earth Black Box is a part art installation, part political statement, part practical utility, and is the collaboration of several groups who were inspired by the concept of an airplane's black box. After a plane crash, the black box is often all that's left for investigators to understand what led to disaster.

Why This Matters

So too could be true for this black box, which may have an important role to play as the planet creeps closer to the critical 2.7 degree Fahrenheit warming threshold scientists warn we must avoid. The box contains a solar-powered hard drive that's collecting not only climatic data, but climate headlines, around events like COP26. Jim Curtis, one of the project's creators, says this is, so it will "record every step humanity takes towards or away from the impending climate catastrophe...so whoever's left, or whoever finds it afterwards, learns from our mistakes."

Another artist involved in the project, Jonathan Kneebone, says that his real hope is that the box steers us away from crisis: "When people know they're being recorded, it does have an influence on what they do and say. That’s our role if anything, to be in the back of everyone's mind."

Built to Outlast

Whether the worst happens or not, creators have designed the project to survive the most extreme circumstances. The outer walls are composed of three-inch-thick steel built to withstand impact and the elements. Besides situating the box in a remote location, the creators are still exploring strategies to prevent humans from tampering with the box in the meantime. In any case, for whoever finds it, getting to its contents will be no easy feat.

The Economist: See what three degrees of global warming looks like, October 30, 2021.

BBC Earth: The Tipping Point | Climate Change - The Facts, November 13, 2021.