Introducing Swati Purushothaman's "My Fantasy Environment: A Narrative Cartography Project"

Oil Spilled into Oceans My first step in the brainstorming process was to research the different routes that the oil cargo ships use to transport oil to different countries. I found that there are too many routes that oil ships use that I needed to narrow down the search and only look at one part of the ocean. To finalize which ocean that I was going to use, I researched about whales and what their migration patterns were. The reasoning behind using a whale migration map instead of any other animal migrations is because a whale is the next closest marine mammal to a mermaid. Mermaids can be identified as half human and half fish, so one can assume that a mermaid is a mammal. After some research, I found that humpback whales migrate in the Atlantic Ocean and I noticed that a couple of oil cargo ships went through the Atlantic Ocean. The research that I did was to give me an idea of where the whale migration and the routes of oil ships intersected. I want my map to be specific so I only drew the North Atlantic Ocean with parts of North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Greenland to give a better picture of the land surrounding f the ocean. After drawing out the continents, I colored on the oceans/ seas light blue and the landmasses green. I added dashes to represent the routes that the ships carry oil, a black blob to signify oil spills, and a solid bronze line that connects two solid dots to the migrations of mermaids. Then I added some representations of different types of sea life: silver v’s to show birds, pink dots to show shellfish, purple x’s to show dead sea life, blue curved arrows to show whales and dolphins passing, red upside-down v’s to show sharks, and lastly a gold star to show schools of fish. My final step is to draw in the legend to clearly understand the map and also to label all the continents and countries to fully comprehend the maps that I created.

In this map, I show the different routes that oil cargo ships take and the different migration patterns of different families of mermaids. In this map, one can see that the oil ship that caused the oil spill and mermaid migrations cross paths. It is important to understand that if one of those oil cargo ships were to sink, it would leak oil into the ocean. This would affect the many families of mermaids that travel through those waters and other marine life and birds too. This requires the attention of everyone, specifically those who pilot the ships but also environmentalists and head companies CEO’s that import and export oil to talk about the issues that the oil that is being leaked cause. They need to figure out a way to reduce the amount of oil that is being leaked into the oceans. One ship, alone, carries a ton of gallons of oil and if more ships continue to sink and leak oil there will be more issues with marine life not being able to survive in their own homes.

My map focuses on multi-species because the map shows the families of mermaids traveling every year for migration due to cols water and how different types of marine life can be affected if large amounts of oil are to be spilled into the oceans. This map enables the reader to think in a bigger picture because those oil spills and mermaid migration only show the North Atlantic Ocean and that is only a small part of our world's ocean. If there are only 10 different routes for ships on the Atlantic, it means that there are probably ten times that in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific ocean, and all the seas as well. My map shows one type of marine life that can be affected by oil spills. Imagine hundreds of thousands of marine species that are also affected by oil spills every year. To make a difference, we either have to find a way to protect marine life by finding technology that better cleans up oils or better machinery to build huge cargo ships that hold gallons of oil without leaking it in the ocean or when harmful things might happen to the ship itself.

My map addresses the concept of the environment differently because this map is based upon a mythical creature. Most environmental studies are based on facts and actual problems that are seen as a huge problem on earth. This map is different because it focuses on a mythical creature and how it can be affected by oil ships that leak oil into the oceans. My map is to show on a broader scale that if mythical creatures can be affected by oil spills then actual marine life can be heavily impacted too.


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Home, 3 Mar. 2020,

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