Laurel Papworth at the microphone about to talk about Metaverse and Tuvalu and Ozymandias
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Tuvalu in the Metaverse – Ozymandias – Climate Change

As Tuvalu vanishes below the waves of climate change and into the Metaverse, Ozymandias looks on.

With rising sea levels, Tuvalu have announced they are archiving their Soon-To-Be-Lost culture in the Metaverse. The Eternity Generation (every moment from cradle to grave documented on Instagram for future generations to fall over) becomes the Eternity Culture. Ozymandias would approve!

Laurel Papworth talking about Metaverse and Tuvalu

Transcript of Metaverse and Tuvalu Climate Change Lecture

I Met a Traveller from an Antique Land. Hello, my name is Laurel Papworth and today I want to talk about Tuvalu. [00:00:01.370]

I have an idea. Let’s go get SilkCharm. Let’s put SilkCharm to work. Hey, Silk, wanna play? I need you to go to Zoram Strand, to the beach area and shoot some footage of the ruins on the beach. Can you do that for me? I’m not paying you. OK, you can have some coins for the auction house. See you soon. [00:00:08.890]

Tuvalu is an island country and it’s midway between Hawaii and Australia. The rising sea levels mean that this Pacific nation island has decided to move its culture into the Metaverse. Tuvalu’s Foreign Minister, Simon Kofe said that it’s necessary to do this in order to retain archive and keep the island’s history and culture alive. Let’s just have a listen to him speaking at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. [00:00:44.750]

As our land disappears, we have no choice but to become the world’s first digital nation. Our land, our ocean, our culture are the most precious assets of our people and to keep them safe from harm, no matter what happens in the physical world, we’ll move them to the cloud. Only considered global effort can ensure that Tuvalu does not move permanently online. But we have not stepped up to the challenge. We must start doing so today. Otherwise, within a lifetime, Tuvalu will only exist here. Fafta elastic Tuvalu Matatua. [00:01:17.740]

I think when we’re looking at local socio cultural degradation, typically we’re talking about migration, we’re talking about the removal of community spaces, and there’s a range of reasons why our culture goes into decline. Climate, interestingly, has played a big part throughout the whole of human evolution. The Maya, the Khmer, Eastern islands, there’s like six or seven different cultures that I know, specifically, climate changes impacted how that culture works. Tuvalu is working with Accenture Song the Monkeys Collider different agencies and groups to take language, history, culture and put it up into the Metaverse. And if you go to Tuvalu.TV, you’ll see that they’re listing their Tuvalu recipes for something to do with chilli and volleyball scores and a dictionary of phrases and local language terms. And the whole thing is very clever and also terrifying. It’s an interesting way of looking at climate. I’m really hoping they’re actually going to pursue this and place just like Barbados, just like Seoul, just like some of the other nations that are moving into the Metaverse. They’re actually going to put Tuvalu into a virtual space, a traversable virtual space, obviously, if it’s metaverse, rather than this being some kind of a ploy or a gimmick to raise awareness on climate change and what’s happening in this particular island nation. [00:02:02.580]

Now, I’m not averse to this sort of I call it #TrollMarketing. That billionaire that buried his Rolls Royce and it caused a furore, but it was actually a message to say, well, we bury bodies and we don’t donate our organs, so we might as well be burying with ourselves with our cars. But it was a great way of putting a message across for organ donation by comparing our bodies to a Rolls Royce. So if we were to compare Tuvalu, the nation, to a virtual land in a virtual world, for me, historically, it means that we can create more worlds that are based on culture and history and language and things like that. [00:03:34.820]


There was a great one years ago where we, the players, we the users, would go in and rebuild ancient Egypt stone by stone. It was a very interesting concept and I believe it’s still growing. It’s been developed in chapters throughout ancient Egypt’s history, and a great way, maybe, for students to learn about ancient cultures. And just like Percy Byce Shelley’s, OZYMANDIAS. Which, by the way, is the Greek name for rameses 2, Ramesis the second from Egypt but it actually is based on, apparently, Napoleon, just like that poem it indicates that the legacy of an individual, the legacy of a group, of a culture, of a zeitgeist/volksgeist, may not continue in a form that’s recognisable. But one of the things we can do with the Metaverse is traverse time and space to create a continuum rather than experiencing time in a linear way. [00:04:13.900]

If that sounds confusing, you’re absolutely right, it is. I guess what I’m saying is, in the same way that we can step back in time with books, we’ll be able to or step across time with books, we’ll be able to step across time with the Metaverse for a more immersive experience than books or TV or films can give us. Although I do like me some Bridgerton. But how awesome would it be to dress up your avatar and swan around a Bridgerton style environment in a 3D, virtual world or augmented world? I’ll take either at this stage, anything that’s not jumping around, hitting flying circles for fitness. Really, pretty dresses all the way for me. If you know of any other projects for modern countries, whole countries, to go into the Metaverse, I would love to hear it. I mentioned Seoul, Barbados, but Tuvalu is definitely up there with them, or any historical, historically accurate worlds being developed. [00:05:22.130]

I think Google has a good shot at doing this because of the amount of work they’ve done with compiling shots, images. I think they’ve got one of a street corner in New York that you can go to any day in the past, and it’s collated and curated automatically using an object identification photo recognition programme to say, this is what this street corner look like. It’s a specific street corner in 1920, February the 10th, or this is the November the 20th in 1945. And anywhere they can find that image through object recognition. And then you can see over time how much that corner has changed or what’s been happening, what the shops are doing and things like that. It’s a really interesting project. If I can find it, I will put it on the resources on my website or the links tend to go on there. Any downloadables anything like that is on my website, so be my guest. On a personal note, I remember travelling through Cambodia. I went to Angkor. Wat? In the usual places, and then took a very exciting trip to Ta Prohm. There was no road at the time. They said they were building it, but there was no road. [00:06:21.050]

And Ta Prohm is the overgrown temple that you see Lara Croft climbing around in. And for me, it was a very peaceful, very spiritual place. But also I also got that Ozymandias sense of if we’re not careful, we lose things that should be a legacy for us. The guide told me that the government leaves Ta Prohm in its overgrown state instead of restoring it like Angkor Wat because it’s a really fruitful lesson on what happens if we don’t tend the things that are important to us and make every attempt to save cultures and countries that are at risk because of actions that others are taking in the world. And that’s all I’m going to say on that topic. So my name is Laurel Papworth and I will see you in the next video. Thank you. [00:07:38.670]

I met a traveller from an antique land who said Two vast and trunkless legs of stone stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown and wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command tell that its sculptor well those passions read which yet survive. Stamped on these lifeless things the hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: my name is Ozymandias, King of Kings. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair, and nothing beside remains round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare. The lone and level sands stretch far away. [00:08:36.240]

Resources for Tuvalu in the Metaverse and Ozymandias poem lecture

  • 12 months to build Ancient Egypt with A Tale in The Desert (ATITD) https://www.desert-nomad.com/
  • Tuvalu TV website – the First Digital Nation and Climate Change https://www.tuvalu.tv/
  • Pexels Ta Prohm photo (mine are up on top of a cupboard ;p) James Wheeler https://www.pexels.com/photo/building-with-tree-1534057/
  • Any NYC Corner https://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org/blog/how-find-photos-any-nyc-street-corner-oldnyc
  • Not a Rolls Royce but a Bentley. Oh well. https://www.irishtimes.com/business/media-and-marketing/grotesque-burying-of-bentley-proves-winner-at-ad-oscars-1.1842354
  • Barbados in the Metaverse https://diplomatmagazine.eu/2022/08/30/barbados-to-establish-the-world-first-embassy-in-the-metavesre/
  • Seoul in the Metaverse https://cities-today.com/early-version-of-seouls-metaverse-revealed/
  • COP27 speech – Simon Kofe – Tuvalu
  • How to Use Google StreetView for historical images of a street

Am I missing any?

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