Here’s the big conundrum with climate change: most countries acknowledge it’s happening, but prefer to point the finger at other nations to take the lead. Would it be different if we were all part of the same giant continent?
That’s the question posed by Jonathan Keats, an artist and experimental philosopher who has created a vision for a new geoengineered supercontinent — a single giant landmass, designed by humans, that ensures humanity will succeed or fail as one.
“Treaties get signed and ignored, and each country works in their own self-interest as if they were alone in the world,” he says. “I wanted to create some sort of incentive, a genuine sense of interest. If we had only been around 250 million years ago we would have had that quite literally through the Pangaea supercontinent.”
Keats has an elaborate plan involving nuclear reactors that plug into systems deep in the ocean to cool magma in some locations and heat it in others. The end goal is to shift continents around so that they all fuse into one.
This is more of a thought experiment than anything else, but Keats plans to talk to scientists to at least get his idea out there.
“People can play with these ideas at the level of how do we come to some psychological state of thinking of ourselves as a single entity instead of nations in opposition to each other. And how do we think about the relationship between climate, technology, and our future?,” he says.
Later this month, Keats will bring his project to San Francisco’s Modernism Gallery, where visitors will be able to view maps of his supercontinent, as well as his ideas of how to make it happen. Keats also envisions creating a “supercontinental instruction kit,” allowing visitors to mark a blow-up globe with Sharpies to create their own visions for a unified continent.
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