Highlighting the climate threat


If you trust the polls, most of us believe in climate change and appreciate the threat from rising sea levels. Some others, however, might need some help understanding it.

Wartsila has taken a novel approach to driving home the seriousness of the problem. The Finnish marine and energy company unveiled a fictional product, a lifeboat for buildings, at a recent tech and startup conference in Helsinki.

Promotional images showed a New York City neighborhood lined with shops and apartment buildings. Orange enclosed lifeboats hung from the facade where balconies might otherwise be. The point was impossible to miss.

In its announcement, the company acknowledged the product wasn’t real, and was something that “should never see the light of day.” But it also highlighted the threat of inaction, particularly for coastal cities around the world.

“This hypothetical lifeboat is a way for Wartsila to amplify the critical need to move climate change discourse to action. In fact, the concept is not as unimaginable as we first think,” Wartsila’s chief digital officer Marco Ryan said in a statement.

“The boats would have been useful in the recent floods in Italy and Indonesia. We must act now, together. Or the unthinkable will happen, and this lifeboat will have to be built for real,” he continued.

The fictional product was intended to turn heads at Slush 2018, an event held in early December focused on innovation. Wartsila said it was looking for partners at the conference to find “smart solutions” to advance clean energy solutions.

“We simply cannot afford to wait for the marine and energy industries to improve at the current pace,” Wartsila’s President and CEO Jaakko Eskola said. “Climate change and scarcity of natural resources call for innovative and creative solutions that Wartsila is already developing, but we cannot deliver … without equally forward-looking partners.”

Here’s hoping they found some.

By Ocean Navigator