Survival 101

Krista Caballero

“Localized ecological systems are known to shift abruptly and irreversibly from one state to another when they are forced across critical thresholds… The plausibility of a planetary-scale ‘tipping point’ highlights the need to improve biological forecasting by detecting early warning signs of critical transitions on global as well as local scales...”


Necessities for any survival kit, mirrors are carried for both military and civilian use while in wilderness environments. In an emergency situation flashes of sunlight signal distress and have the ability to communicate across great distance. Depending upon weather conditions these flashes can be visible up to 50 miles away with the record rescue being 105 miles. These particular signal mirrors were collected from a variety of online sites and included everything from WWII military issued mirrors to wilderness survival and campfire mirrors. 

This session took an experimental approach -- exploring through discussion and collaborative action the constant state of emergency we find ourselves negotiating. Participants were introduced to basic signaling techniques as well as emergency Morse Code. Then, through group performance, these mirrors were employed to create our own early warning signals, exploring together ideas around agency, survival, and change.

Citation: “Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere.” By Anthony D. Barnosky, et al., Nature, Vol. 486, No. 7402, June 6, 2012.