The hard, modernistic dividing lines formed by the Delta Works have in part removed the freedom of movement of the water, sand and other communities. As a consequence, the self-determination and options available to the sea and the delta to interact have been reduced.
Action groups calling for an open Oosterschelde have come up with a radically different answer to the problem of sea level rise: they wish to once again allow the sea to flow freely into Zeeland, and in that approach see more opportunities than threats for both the people of Zeeland and nature. Could sea level rise actually force us to re-establish the dialogue with natural processes and non-human populations?
The research team Future of the Delta, consisting of Professor in Bio-geomorphology of rivers and estuaries Maarten Kleinhans, sociologist Darko Lagunas and artist Theun Karelse is considering the question how we can best listen to the various delta communities and how we can enter into dialogue with non-humans. Via a series of reconnaissance operations and fieldwork on location, we hope to contribute to a more inclusive approach to spatial planning along the coastline.
Embassy of the North Sea
Diversity is in the interest of all life. Therefore, direct political representation of the sea and the life within it is necessary. Founded on the principle that the sea owns itself, the Embassy of the North Sea listens to and involves the voices of plants, animals, microbes, and people in and around the North Sea. We plotted a route through to 2030, firstly learning to listen to the sea before we learn to speak with it. Finally, we will negotiate on behalf of the North Sea and all the life that it encapsulates.
Today’s most pressing ecological and technological issues transcend borders and species, yet we mostly approach them from the nation-state perspective. For example, the largest mass extinction has been going on for 65 million years, but which country feels responsible for it? Countries are only accountable to one another, and their politicians only accountable to their electors, rather than to all life under threat. The Embassy of the North Sea highlights this crisis in our democracies – non-human lives are insufficiently and ineffectively represented, jeopardising the lives of future humans and non-humans alike.
The embassy listens to and acts on behalf of the sea to create a new, fully-fledged political player representing the sea in all its diversity. The North Sea owns itself, and we are investigating if it could be seen an independent legal entity.
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