BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

If you want to write a dystopia start with this map…

Britain in the futureThis fictional map shows what the British Isles might look like in 2100 if sea levels rise and are 100 meters higher than they were in 2000. The artist/cartographer Jay Simons imagines that as London and Dublin have gone the new capitals would be Birmingham, Glasgow and Belfast, although I suspect Cork and Edinburgh might have something to say about that….
To my surprise Brighton survives as an island so Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s have gone but the Pavilion survives and I would guess the city would be as car-free as Venice. Yorkshire becomes the heart of England while Scotland and Wales to my uneducated eye remain essentially the same. Ireland though is further away from England than ever with the widening of the Irish Sea and as a second generation Kerry woman I am worried that we won’t have anyone to compete against in the Gaelic football championships.
What if…? is perhaps the most important question for writers and this map is a glorious starting place if your sights are fixed on the future.
I found out about Jay Simons through Her.ie – the website for Irish women – and his work can be found at Deviant Art where you can buy posters of this map and the new face of the rest of Europe and the USA if the water rises. You can also see his most famous work – the internet map of the world.

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16 comments on “If you want to write a dystopia start with this map…

  1. The Silver Voice
    February 10, 2014

    Bridget – since when is the Republic of Ireland in the British Isles?

    • E A M Harris
      February 10, 2014

      As I understand it ‘British Isles’ is a geographical feature not a political one. No doubt it has a different name in Gaelic.

      • The Silver Voice
        February 10, 2014

        The Republic of Ireland is not in the British Isles geographically nor is it acknowledged as such by the government of Ireland. Ireland in Irish ( not Gaelic!) is Eire. The usual and accepted term for Ireland, England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland plus any relevant islands, is Great Britain and Ireland.

    • bridget whelan
      February 10, 2014

      Thanks for picking me up on this – I do get confused and I have no excuse. I actually studied Irish geography at university for a term (although all I seem to have retained is that Ireland had two glaciers – one large one covering most of the island and a small one just for Kerry).

      • The Silver Voice
        February 11, 2014

        Some of us get tetchy when we are classed as British anything and usually it is not an intentional thing. I know where that glacier was in Kerry – the O’Connor Pass has a beautiful ‘u’ shaped valley on the Dingle side. Maybe Ireland will get flooded too!

      • bridget whelan
        February 11, 2014

        Words matter, Silver Voice. And there are many that make me squirm (such as when in Ireland talking about Britain as the mainland – when we are both small islands off the mainland of Eurasia). So I don’t mind a bit you mentioning it. I know the Connor Pass well and in fact will be spending my summer holidays in Dingle this year!

  2. E A M Harris
    February 10, 2014

    An interesting but scary picture. What would also be interesting is a population distribution on this map. I think it would show unbearable crowding.

    • bridget whelan
      February 10, 2014

      Populations would shift and I wonder if attitudes would as well. Would Cornwall feel part of England? Where would the economic power lie? So many questions (and stories to be written).

  3. guyportman
    February 10, 2014

    I hope I don’t live to see the day when Birmingham is our capital, no offence to any Brummies intended.

    • bridget whelan
      February 10, 2014

      Ah, no comment but maybe all the Londoners would have moved there…

      • guyportman
        February 10, 2014

        Not this one, if he survives until then that is.

  4. jackiered
    February 10, 2014

    Surely Cardiff would make a better capital, it’s more central and already has more than enough government buildings!! :)

  5. cathum
    February 10, 2014

    Great find. Thanks Bridget, very apt. Today we waded through parts of our morning dog walk, and we’re the lucky ones.

    • bridget whelan
      February 10, 2014

      Horribly appropriate right now and I almost didn’t post it in case it upset anyone who was facing very real water problems with high tides, rivers breaking their banks, rising ground water levels and the rain, the ceaseless rain…

  6. Pingback: How the UK might look by 2100 | The Proof Angel

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