Visualizing ‘Slow Violence’

by Matt Ball on June 30, 2011

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a thought-provoking piece by Rob Nixon about the need, and the difficulty, of visualizing and communicating the impacts of slowly evolving crises. He outlines the challenge of conveying the impacts of climate change, deforestation, oil spills, ocean acidification and a host of other slowly evolving issues of global impact that confront us. He contends the media is ill equipped to quantify and report on these large-scale and long-term issues as they don’t provide the ‘concentrated visibility’ that is deemed newsworthy.

This issue puts into light the compelling need for long-term monitoring and spatio-temporal visualization in order to bring these issues to light. Mapping is media, and is ideally suited to become a channel unto itself for such long-term issues of global change.

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