Sunday, May 18, 2008
Deng Cheng-hong interviewed by CNA in Taiwan
Following up on the Dot Earth blog post in the New York Times on March 30, the Central News Agency, CNA, a semi-government-funded news agency in Taiwan, ran a story today, May 18, by CNA reporter Rachel Chan, in which she interviewed the artist, Deng Cheng-hong, who did the illustrations of the polar cities concepts. Here is the link:
Life in polar cities, a foreseeable future or fiction?
Virtual polar city causes concern about climate changes on Internet
By Rachel Chan CNA staff reporter
Taipei, May 18 (CNA) -- Not a conjecture or a theory, climate change is with us. With the future unfolding before our eyes, more humans could end up living in polar regions as they might be a last resort with tolerable temperatures should there be a mass human die-off due to the impact of global warming.
Although to most people it is no more based on fact than a sci-fi movie synopsis, one Taiwanese artist and an American teaching English in Taiwan have teamed up to visualize the idea of a possible future world -- "polar cities" or " sustainable polar retreats (SPRs) " -- in three-dimensional illustrations, to call for the public's attention to the issue.
After two months of pondering over the SPR idea, Deng Cheng-hong, a visual designer living in Chiayi, southern Taiwan, put American expatriate Dan Bloom's imagination into a series of three-dimensional illustrations using computer software.
One 26-year-old man in Tahiti blogged on the polar cities Web site set up by Bloom, saying that he was so touched by the pictures that he wants to work harder to stop global warming, starting now.
Deng, who is "the first person in the world" to make these images about what the future might look like, said that as global warming is an "inconvenient truth" that humans are forced to face, he hopes his illustrations can serve as an alarm bell.
"The idea is so clear that it actually only took me one week to come up with the illustrations, " Deng said. "I hope this will give people a clearer idea of what polar cities could be and get their attention to do something about global warming."
Working with Deng, Bloom has been blogging on the Internet about the concept of polar cities for a year. He said the idea of polar cities are a possible adaptation strategy for survivors of global warming in the far distant future -- perhaps the year 2500, according to him.
Bloom said his "crazy idea" was inspired by acclaimed British scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock, who has done pioneering work on global warming issues.
Writing in the British newspaper The Independent in January 2006, Lovelock argued that as a result of global warming "billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable" by the end of the 21st Century.
Bloom said polar cities are designed to house humans in the future, in the event that global warming causes the central and middle regions of the Earth to become uninhabitable for a long period of time.
"I feel this is a wake up call about today rather than the future," he said.
Bloom admitted that his proposal is no more than a "what if" scenario, but said he wanted to make people aware of the issue of global warming.
"I'm not talking about the end of the world and I don't want young people to feel hopeless, " he said. "I'm talking about in case of emergency, people can survive in polar cities and maybe come back to live in other parts of the Earth later."
Describing Deng as "a genius" for putting his concepts into visual illustrations, Bloom said he was energized by Deng's work, which has become his tool to communicate around the world.
"I do not want to scare people. They might well call this science fiction, but they can look at the pictures and make up their minds slowly, " he said, adding that polar cities are an idea of emergency shelter that can be built anywhere in the world -- such as England, Iceland, Greenland or Norway -- and not necessarily in polar regions.
"...we are trying to do something to help people in the future work to make a better world, " according to Bloom, who added that this is also a long-term work that takes everyone's effort to push it further.
"I hope to attract a team of designers and scientists to continue work on the idea for generations, " Bloom said, urging anyone interested in the concept to visit a Web site he created for Deng.
Deng said that "many people know that global warming is true and I think my illustrations of the polar cities can help to them to do something."
Posted by DANIELBLOOM at 6:13 PM