Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Clipperton Project - what Science & Art will tell us about climate change?

Imagine being stuck on a remote island...

Where would it be?
What would you do?
How would you survive?

If spotting boobies on the Île de la Passion conjures interesting imagery, read on!

An interesting experiment has just gotten underway a few hundred kilometres off Mexico in the tiny Pacific atoll known as Clipperton Island (or Isla de la Pasión in Spanish). The island is uninhabited except for some wildlife, though it's seen many a shipwrecked and has been influenced by human intervention in the past. At only 9km across and about 2m above sea level (except for the isolated Clipperton Rock a small volcanic outcrop standing almost 30m), it is under direct authority of the French Government and part of the EU, yet French citizens need a permit to visit the island.

At the beginning of March an expedition set off to investigate the effects of climate change, to observe these changes firsthand and upon returning to civilization to help spread awareness of environmental issues which have far reaching and very real consequences.  

Regular updates are up on the website of the experiences of the latest Clipperton expedition. Consisting of scientists and artists, the project director Jon Bofiglio proposal describes an experiment in which scientific information about environmental change is shared by employing different fields of research working together to change public perception and enact change. Podcasts featuring project participants, explore themes with social and environmental relevance. Photo galleries show  how wildlife has been affected by human impact. There are also some updates of field research.

At the end of the project, what will be achieved? No one really knows. It may just be a junket for some very adventurous creatives. It may fall short of it's goal to change public perception of environmental change. All anyone really knows is it's an experiment and as an experiment it needs objectivity, creativity and analysis to determine it's value. 

image from The Clipperton Project

 For more information contact: info@theclippertonproject.com or check out  the Clipperton Project

Curious facts about the island from the universe of Wikipedia
- named after a pirate
- nearest neighbour is almost 1000 km away
- surrounds freshwater lagoon which has drinkable but stagnant and acidic water
- no fish in lagoon
- width ranges from 45- 400m; on average:150m
- 2m above sea level, excluding solitary volcanic rock 29m
- low tide exposes reef
- birds are using plastic toys in their nests 
- don't eat the crabs -they're poisonous
- remains of US Navy buildings from WWI 
- was a British mining colony for guano in early 20th century
nice Boobie - not a pirate!