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Mt. Rushmore Underwater

Posted by Phil on August 18th, 2007

What if we continue with business as usual, or even increase our greenhouse gas emissions throughout the century? What if freak tropical storms and hurricanes increased in intensity and frequency? What if the nearby Missouri and Snake rivers overflowed their banks, engulfing the Black Hills, and turning the great plains once again to a great inland sea?

Artist Alexis Rockman explores the scarier side of human impacts on nature in his post-apocalyptic paintings of our built environments. From a moss-covered Capitol building in Washington D.C. to a decomposing "Hollywood" sign in Los Angeles, his art, perhaps, can give us insight into both our penchant for building huge monuments to ourselves (humans), and the forces of nature, eternally breaking matter into elements and building biota and geologic features from them.

Check out some of his other art and an interview here.

Scientists would never predict South Dakota under ten feet of water--at least not in 2007. But, perhaps this painting of post-warming Mt. Rushmore, waves lapping George Washington's cheek, can give us a sense of the scale at which we are changing the Earth's climate. Rockman's mere suggestion that this scene is a possibility is shocking enough.

So, anybody want to host an action at Mt. Rushmore before Teddy Roosevelt's moustache becomes host to tadpoles and trout? He, an ardent conservationist, would have, at the very least, recognized the need for bold and comprehensive action on climate change long before it became too late.

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