Documentary film maker Miriam Hauertmann tells the story of the growing effects of climate change on Europe's west coast and what we stand to lose if no action is taken.
Globally, over 300 million people are at risk of being displaced due to rising sea levels.
A fact that, on its own, seems too overwhelming to grasp. Perhaps even too uncertain or too broad to worry about in the first place. Like white noise in the background, news about the climate crisis accumulates on every media platform daily, with so much information available that it becomes challenging to know where to start or what to believe.
Sea level rise, in particular, is probably one of the most addressed subjects linked to global warming. At the same time, it might just be one of the most unpredictable threats when it comes to the direct impacts of climate change on the present landscape.
Given the current Covid-19 pandemic, it is easy to lose sight of such broader issues like sea-level rise, as it takes place at a much slower and subtler level. Especially as Europe's west coast might not feel like it’s in any imminent danger from the sea, as other more direct challenges are making headlines.
Ashore is a short documentary piece filmed alongside the Dutch and German coastline in the spring of 2020, when Europe's lockdown was just around the corner. Instead of focusing on the breaking news of a pandemic or residents of those seaside towns however, it captures the scenic everyday views of the coastline. The landscape itself is put into the foreground and human presence is only hinted at through existing architecture.
Historically, the Wadden Sea's coastline has largely been affected by floods which have caused many fatalities. As a result, multiple dams have been built making the area one of the most human-altered habitats on the planet. On the other hand, large parts haven’t been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list due to its high biological diversity.
This documentary should highlight what we stand to lose if society continues failing to address the climate crisis adequately. It acts as a visual record of our current coastline and raises the question of how this landscape will change and what role sea-level rise will play towards it.
Overall, I aimed to produce a thought-provoking piece that addresses global warming through a landscape lens. Additionally, this documentary should act as a humbling reminder that the human species is equally subject to natures evolution as any other creature residing on this planet. Even though humanity might be able to adapt quickly to external circumstances, ultimately, nature itself will determine life on earth.