Photo Series: Scary Light-Lines Of Scottish Coast – How Artists Are Warning About The Worst Of Climate Change

Image Credits: Pekka Niittyvirta

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The picturesque islands of Outer Hebrides lie near the West Coast of Scotland, surrounded by the calm Arctic Ocean and district mountains. The population is sparse; quaint stone cottages scattered throughout the beautiful landscape. If you visit the islands now, you will notice something unusual. As evening sets in, a line of bright light cuts through the houses, beaches and grasslands. Outwardly, it might seem to be a mesmerising sight, until you learn the reality behind it.

Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise

Lines, an art installation project by Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho, uses sensors to record and cumulate the data of rising sea level during tidal changes and helps predict how far the landscape would submerge in near future, thanks to climate change.

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– Anne Frank

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About the project

Interacting with Efforts For Good, Pekka informs about the project, located at the coordinates 57° 59 ́N, 7° 16 ́W.

“By the use of sensors, the installation interacts with the rising tidal changes, activating three synchronized light lines by the high tide. The work helps us to imagine the future sea level rise in an undefined period of time, depending on our actions towards climate warming.

The installation explores the catastrophic impact of our relationship with nature and its long term effects. The work provokes a dialogue on how the rising sea levels will affect coastal areas, its inhabitants and land usage in the future.

This is specifically relevant in the low lying island archipelagos like the of Uist in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland, and in particular to Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre in Lochmaddy where the installation is situated. The centre cannot develop on its existing site due to predicted storm surge sea.”

Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise

 

Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Lines Scotland Sea Level Rise


Efforts For Good take

The visualisation of the project is well beyond what meets the eye. It is powerful and scary at the same time, serving as a warning to mankind to act upon climate change, now. Most of the world is aware of rising sea levels due to melting polar caps from global warming. It is high time humanity comes together to stall an impending apocalypse.

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

MyStory: “Two Months After I Joined IIT For My PhD I Was Diagnosed With TB”

Image Credits: Pekka Niittyvirta

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A person suffering from Tuberculosis (TB) not only battles the ‘Mycobacterium tuberculosis’ bacteria inside his lungs but also from the stigma attached to the disease. It weakens the patients in many different ways in their fight against the dreaded disease.  

My fight with TB was also filled with stigma. I joined IIT Kharagpur for my PhD in January 2015. Two months later, in March 2015, I was diagnosed with TB. I had to take sick leave from March 2015 that eventually lasted till June 2016. Initially, I did not respond well to medication. Further tests revealed that I had multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB). This meant that the type of TB I had was resistant to two or more of the antitubercular medication I was taking.

About a year after the intensive phase of my treatment, I felt better and applied for readmission to IIT in July 2016. A prerequisite for rejoining was that my faculty members had to verify my application. With the formalities completed, I resumed my education, but I felt that something was amiss. 

My guide indicated that he did not want his work to suffer on account of my illness. I also heard from a senior colleague that my guide had said that I would spread the disease like an ‘infested animal’. I was disheartened at being subjected to this indignity by my supposed mentor.

However, my primary concern was defeating TB, so I didn’t dwell on it. Today, as I reflect on it, I realise the reasons behind the stigma were ignorance as well as fear.

Even among the educated, there are misconceptions about TB. People think all forms of TB are contagious. Others believe the patient is infectious for the entire length of the treatment. Some even believe that TB spreads through touch. This breeds the fear of contracting the illness.

As we know, people stigmatise and discriminate when they fear. I felt the impact of the stigma on two levels – in my professional life and my personal life.

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Professionally, the reluctance of my supervisor to mentor me and his discouragement affected me. I could not decide whether I should wait for the IIT authorities to tell me to leave or drop out. That decision was made for me by luck when I found out that my CSIR grant application was never processed. 

This meant that I would have to pay for my education. Given the expenditure on my treatment, this was unaffordable for me. This was the final nail in the coffin. I was forced to drop out and could not go back to completing my PhD.

What I faced was not technically illegal. I was discouraged from doing my PhD, but it was still a form of stigma. The external stigma I faced led to depression and isolation. 

Eventually, I realised I had to fight. The treatment for TB is difficult, requiring strict compliance and the management of side effects, and these demands resolve. I began motivating myself. I began following a proper diet and completing my treatment to ensure I could recover. I also turned to books as they transported me to other worlds and helped with my isolation. I also focused on reviving my old relationships.

Gradually, things improved. I could not proceed on my desired career path, but I am an educator now. I constantly realise that I have a role to play in shaping young minds. 

Workplace stigma has tangible consequences. It affects an individual’s career, financial opportunities and their right to work with dignity. So what can we do to address this stigma? 

First, we need to sensitise people by educating them about TB, and the impact stigma has on patients.

Another measure is group counselling involving the patient, the employer and the immediate supervisor. Informal versions of these sessions happen in the workplace in the context of illnesses like cancer. Why should it be any different for TB? 

The goal of this session would be to ensure that the patient is in a supportive environment. 

Finally, at a systemic level, there needs to be a workplace policy on stigma mitigation and a mechanism where the patients can anonymously register their concerns about stigma at the workplace.

A person’s career or job is often their calling and a provider of financial security. Workplace stigma creates a hostile work environment, affecting a person’s ability to do their job and their financial security. Financial insecurity and stigma make it harder for the patient to fight TB both in terms of means and motivation. Therefore, addressing stigma in the workplace is critical to patient well-being and recovery but also to their right to work with dignity.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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