‘Earth’s Black Box’ installation will record climate change data for future generations

    A steel structure known as “Earth’s Black Box” will soon record rising temperature trends as well as other information related to climate change from a remote Australian island. 

    The “black box,” similar to one on a plane, will document events that can contribute to climate change like pollution and actions by politicians. 

    The company’s website says its purpose is to give an “unbiased account of the events that led to the demise of the planet, hold accountability for future generations, and inspire urgent action.”

    “How the story ends is completely up to us,” the website says. 

    “If civilization does crash, this box will survive with a completely objective data story,” said Jim Curtis, an advertising executive who is involved with the project, according to The New York Times. 

    Hundreds of climate protesters walk from Times Square to New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s office to demand more action against climate change on on November 13, 2021 in New York City.
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    Australian advertising company Clemenger BBDO is collaborating on the project with researchers from Tasmania University as well as others, according to ABC News Australia. 

    He said he hopes the black box never has to be opened. “I’m on the plane; I don’t want it to crash,” he said. “I really hope that it’s not too late.”

    The box, which will be 33 feet long, is being built in Tasmania and is expected to be completed sometime next year. 

    The technology inside its 3-inch steel walls will have the ability to collect information for the next 50 years, according to the Times. 

    As well as temperature changes, it will record ocean acidification, CO2 in the atmosphere, energy consumption, military spending and news events related to climate change, such as climate summits, by scanning the internet, according to ABC

    One of the project's creators says he hopes the black box never has to be opened.
    One of the project’s creators says he hopes the black box never has to be opened.
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    Some critics have questioned the box’s efficacy. 

    “It’s not easily accessible or comprehensible to most people,” Yale historian Daniel Kevles said, according to the Times. Though it may have some merit as a document for the future, he added, “I’m not all that impressed with regard to its consequential impact for warning us.”

    It’s also unclear what future generations would make of the box or how they would retrieve its data. 

    “Obviously it’s really a powerful concept when you say to someone, ‘Earth’s got a black box’. Because they’re like, ‘Why does it need a black box?’” Curtis added, according to the Times. “But first and foremost, it’s a tool.”


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