What will be the big shapeshifters of our world in 2021?

BY Robert Fox | tweet robfox45   /  29 December 2020

A giant iceberg the size of Greater London has split in two apparently – but it could still wreak terrible damage to life systems and habitats in an around the island of South Georgia. It could change the existence of millions of different forms of marine life, penguins, seals, sea lions and the largest beasts of all, blue whales.

Drifting under an anonymous code name, A68A, with its annex A68D, the icebergs threaten to change the shape of the whole natural world around them. In its way, the eco system of South Georgia is as complete and unique as that of the Galapagos Islands.

The change of shapes and patterns could also impact much further than this section of the South Atlantic, perched on the edge of the Antarctic region. Not for nothing is it known as the Antarctic zone’s “banana belt” for the richness of its flora fauna. Who knows what the melt of such a huge mass of frozen water could mean for thousands of miles of ocean beyond?

The great iceberg collision crisis in South Georgia seems a fitting metaphor for the way the shape of our world, our physical and mental horizons, have been bent by the Covid-19 crisis. By most calculations we are barely halfway through the run of this pathogen. It is the pandemic long feared, and equally long discounted, with preparations postponed. But like the marauding monster iceberg A68A, it is quickly changing the shape of the world. Already it is possible some major items are clear for crisis management in 2021 – be the agenda local, national or global.

The brilliant visionary physicist, Carlo Rovelli, told Reaction that he thought the Covid pandemic was as big a challenge and leap into the unknown for human social understanding as the challenge of Black Holes. He also compared the crisis, for human scientific knowledge, as vast as the inquiry into the origins of the cosmos, time, and life.


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