Living in tide: the climate of the urban sea

Also on Teams.

How do fishers and scientists read the uncertain terrain of the city in the sea? What stories does the urban sea hold for the futures of the city? I begin this talk by examining how fishers in Mumbai read the sea for fish, the warming waters of climate change and urban coastal pollution in their everyday work. By orienting their daily practices around the arts of noticing sea color, wind, tide and time, fishers generate their livelihoods in uncertain waterscape. Next, I focus on the work of scientists that eagerly walk and work the city’s urban seas to apprehend the movement of contaminants, marine life, climate warmed currents and cyclones. Where citizen scientists working in intertidal regions orient their research around tides, oceanographers working with models and remote sensing images see the climate crisis in ongoing algal blooms, rising seas and eutrophication events that occur at different temporal and spatial scales. Dwelling in the ways that fishers and scientists read the urban sea, I argue that the ongoing rhythms of coastal pollution, infrastructure construction, and colonial property-making constitute the climate of the urban sea in Mumbai; a climate that continues to be made by the colonial expropriation of lifeworlds through the relentless making of property and real estate in the city.