Radioactive futures of environmental aesthetics


Environmental aesthetics
Nuclear waste


One extreme example of intergenerational environmental change is given by nuclear waste. The radiation from a typical nuclear waste assembly will remain fatal for humans for millennia, creating the problem of communicating a warning about hazardous repositories to people so far in the future that we cannot assume any common ground with them in terms of languages and cultural contexts. This poses limitations to solutions proposed in the context of semiotics. The need for communicating danger and for keeping future people away from certain sites may be tackled from a more sensorial and aesthetic perspective. Given the size of nuclear waste repositories, and the problem of keeping people at a distance, the dimension at which the problem must be tackled is environmental. This work argues for an exploration of what environmental aesthetics, despite and perhaps thanks to all the ongoing definitional and conceptual debates in the discipline, has to offer.