From a mediated to a filtered physical future
After moving to Spain, more than two years again I found that I was losing my sight. Even if my Ph.D. life is not helping me on that, the optometrist suggested me to use sunglasses while I’m outside. And to avoid to go out during summer mid-days. The solar radiation in the Mediterranean coast it really high, approaching the 9 points of a maximum of 10.
The lack of water and higher levels of calcium and other minerals force us to filter it (at least if you want to avoid buying water). My skin and hairs got dry and rough.
Today I found myself looking for biking masks and air filters for home. The Barcelona Ajuntament released a campaign regarding air quality, following to new restriction on traffic access to the city. I checked the actual measurements and I got scared.
The noise level in major cities is a hot topic for causing environmental problems and health issues. Especially in Barcelona there were many issues with uses of public spaces and noise pollution (you can see an example in Plaça del Sol)
Our life until now was mediated. We use shoes to walk better and more comfortable. We use sunglasses just to don’t get all the sunlight over our eyes. And also using clothes is a matter of protecting ourselves from temperature changes. All those things were adapted to cultural values, consume and trends. We adapted our selves and our material production to mediate with nature and environment.
I envision a future of filtered life. If human society growth to a level that everyone can get enough things to be protected in terms of temperature and other environmental issues. That bar now is rising to a level that, for survive, only those have access to certain filters will live properly and their life is not at risk.
In a filtered future with the physical world, we won’t mediate with our natural environment, but we will need to filter our interaction and contact with it.
We will need to cover our eyes from radiation, we will need to protect our skin as well. Air pollution will need to be addressed by HEPA filters in forms of masks, car filters, and mechanic filters to purify rooms. There is no way to protect our skin enough rather than using clothes. Drinking water will be an issue also, and so on.
The scenario can look like the Blade Runner movie (it doesn’t matter which version) but I believe that the environment won’t look like that in all the cities, but will harness our body and health. It will be invisible to our eyes but our life range will be reduced and the cost of health and insurances will raise.
Differently, from other kinds of issues that society is struggling with (hunger, diseases, etc), there is not much to do with this future. We are not able to “solve” unless we prevent massive polluted areas.
But pollution is rising faster than the policies and behavior that are meant to tackle it. Inequality will be the main factor since a lot of people won’t be able to afford to protect themselves (especially new technologies on clothes, glasses, and masks for filter all kind of polluted). States will have to spend more on health. In the meantime, capitalism will adapt itself to sell new kind of products with fancy trends and new technological gadget. Mineral extraction and energy consumption will also raise because of it.
Welcome to the filtered environment era and its new aesthetics!