Retreat to the Metaverse?

The other night a friend told me about the island state Tuvalu creating a second version of itself online. The story had escaped me and when I heard it from him, it sounded reasonable enough. Having read about managed retreat and communities seeking drastic measures to adapt to climate change so much lately, it seemed like just another, if somewhat desperate, attempt in adaptation. After all, a time of massive transformation challenges is also a time for imposters, megalomaniacs and alot of human hybris.

Instead, the beautifully done and cleverly minimalist website is a very poetic critique of these kind of techno-topias. And it is a striking example of a digital mourning site, a very sad and moving yet also sharp commentary on failure and loss. The upload queue is really heartbraking: everything we are, all the culture, all the memories, the customs, the sites and rituals, all uploaded one by one, as if it was just cargo on some ship. Not even a proper ark!

If more nation states had ministries of justice like Tuvalu does, who seem to actually understand something about the value of belonging and identity, and that are able to speak so eloquently about it, we wouldn’t be in he mess we’re in. We urgently have to integrate sentiments of loss, belonging and identity in climate politics, not to instrumentalize or exploit them, but to do justice to what essentially makes humans humans. Otherwise, we will be saving lives but loosing ourselves.

Thanks to Rainer Schweigkoffer for the lead!

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