I am terrified of Global Warming, moreover our collective denial globally about it and refusal to act deterministically and immediately to end the swell of apocalypse by not reversing our global emissions nearly to the degree that it will take to stop the cataclysmic events we have been experience progressively over the last decades and years, and for us to wake up and immediately make extensive steps to stop what could be the end of the planet as we know it.
How to show this but as the intense, gargantuan monsters of hurricanes that have repeatably our shores? I was inspired by the satellite view of Hurricane Florence, a devastating disaster that landed in the Carolina’s on Friday, September 14, 2018. I’ve also always been inspired by Da Vinci, and one of his obsessions in the last years of his life was to depict apocalyptic weather in drawings—the Deluge series, of which there are 10 drawings still in existence. Ever the Renaissance man, he was fascinated by nature, and how weather works, but also for this series Nature vs. Man and his ultimate humbling defeat. I’m also inspired always by the Kantian idea of the Sublime, which he attributes sometimes to nature, having such an experience the all-encompassing storms could lead to the Horrific Sublime—where one realizes their own subjectivity in an epiphany, in this case, by being encapsulated by such an enormous storm one might not be able completely comprehend in emotion or ideation the extent of it—like one might be humbled in a sublime way looking at an ocean, but by ferocious, dangerous huge storm instead. Turner took his turn rendering storms with this very much in mind—his romantic but frighteningly awesome Snow Storm, Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps, c. 1812 at the Tate Modern. Turner, too, was fascinated and informed by advancements by science to understand nature and would employ what he learned from scientists directly into his painting, including here how wind and storms work. What these masters couldn’t do, of course, is have high resolution photography to use as a source—much less, from a satellite, as this image is from, sourcing NASA space photography to capture the exactitude of the awesomeness.
And no generation before has had to deal with global warming—it’s been proven that the wrath of hurricanes has been greatly increased due to humankind’s abuse of the planet. And now nature is having its revenge. Hurricane Florence was a mighty storm, a long-lived Cape Verde hurricane, and was the first for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, it reached its peak intensity on Sept. 11 (!) that year, an unexpected eyewall replacement cycle and decreasing oceanic heat content caused a steady weakening trend; however, the storm grew at the same time. Early on September 14, Florence made landfall in the United States just south of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane. However the devastation was still horrible, by the time it finally dissipated September 18, there were 24 direct and 30 indirect fatalities and over 24.34 billion worth of damage, affecting West Africa, Cape Verde Bermuda, East Coast of the United States (especially the Carolinas), and Atlantic Canada.
Until we do something about Global Warming in comprehensive waves and do this fast, we won’t protect our planet from Nature’s wrath. What is intense and amazing to me, beyond all the micro-managed moments of seeing how nature works from this fantastic height and high resolution exactitude is that the eye of a hurricane actually really does look like an anthropomorphized real eye—as if Nature was able to assemble itself in to a strange, giant corporeal body that has agency—whipping mankind like a God to remind them of their deep abuse, and to get rid of our species that has, like a parasite or a cancer, brought the globe to disaster.