ABSTRACT

We live in an era of ecological crisis. Climate change, plastic pollution, radiation drift—our most pressing environmental concerns are on a planetary scale. They are experienced everywhere and yet they are difficult, if not impossible, to see. An extraordinary amount of resources devoted to addressing ecological crises are spent simply trying to depict these crises and trying to teach people how to properly interpret the representations. The hope is that if only the general public and policy makers could see what is happening, they would better understand, and this understanding would lead to action. Scientists, activists, and policy makers advocate for higher resolution climate models and more complete descriptions of the locations and effects of ocean plastics, or radiation drift from Fukushima, or extreme weather. Bigger, better, clearer pictures are the key to informed action. They account for more variables, simulate more mechanisms, and inform the construction of better models that reflect our total understanding.