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Earth's Black Box

Remember the time when as kids the idea of planting a time capsule with our old memoirs that sung our achievements or wrapped our closest belongings, or perhaps even a letter to our future self, sounded so enticing! Except for this time, while scientists say that the planet should stay under 1.5 degrees to avoid the worst consequences of climate crises like water shortages, deadly heatwaves, and collapse of ecosystems, recent analysis shows that the world is on track to reach 2.4C increase in temperatures in comparison to pre-industrial levels. At this temperature, we are already seeing some gravely alarming consequences of climate change, from extreme weather and migration to famine.

To take account of every step that we take towards this catastrophe, all our actions, inactions, and interactions will be recorded by a device that, its creators claim, will hold enough evidence for the events that lead to the current state of our planet. This is the Earth’s Black Box. Located in an Australian island state off the south coast, Tasmania, known for its geopolitical and environmental safety, the monolith designed will be resilient against cyclones, earthquakes, and other disasters. The members of this project say that - if civilization as we know it comes to an end the box will survive with a complete record of data history.

Where did the term black box come from?

When an airplane crashes, investigators look into the black box which contains details about the plane so that any such future accidents can be avoided, the Earth’s Black Box is created with the same intent: providing access for future generations to learn from our mistakes through this data, and benefit from the information, though it is still hard to anticipate what or who will find the black box after the end of our time!

The box will be filled with mass storage devices and have internet connectivity powered by solar panels on the roof of the structure and batteries providing backup. It will record all the daily metrics including land and sea temperature changes, ocean acidification, energy consumption, military spending, policy changes, atmospheric CO2 concentration, and daily climate-related conversations like social media posts, major events, changes and hold our leaders and people of the planet accountable for their actions. The hard drives have already begun recording, beginning with the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November this year.

But what good is it to me now?

The device will have a complete recording of political and business leaders' actions on climate change that might have an impact right now. The database will be made available online once it gets activated, which can be proven beneficial in keeping a track of climate-related activities and projects.

The device is expected to be completed by next year. Currently, the developer’s team is still in the process of figuring out certain aspects like expanding its storage capacity and how visitors can access and retrieve information sealed inside the box when it’s the time to open it. It is also further noted that the project is yet to receive the local council’s planning approval. Nevertheless, if seen through, the box comes along with several mysterious avenues as well as some hope about the future at the same time. The intention of this invention is not to induce climate pessimism into our minds, but to awaken the leaders of our planet towards the impact of our deeds and derelictions.


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