Climate change is the most urgent issue of our time, but because it’s happening gradually, it’s difficult to understand how it relates to our lives and future. A new project called World Under Water aims to overcome this mental barrier by using a modified version of Google Street View to show what the world will look like if sea levels continue to rise as climate scientists predict. The result is a shocking wake up call that shows everything we have to lose if we fail to embrace a clean energy economy. Keep reading to learn more about what your neighborhood looks like on climate change, and what you can do about it.
The picture above may look like a peaceful forest lake, but it’s not. It’s an estimation of what my apartment–the place where I’m currently writing these words–could look like if sea level rise can’t be stopped or mitigated. Scary right?
To create the startling effect, Carbon Story (a carbon offset company) partnered with BBDO and Proximity Singapore in honor of the UN’s World Environment Day, which occurs on June 5th. The World Under Water campaign rolled out under the slogan ‘Raise your voice, not the sea levels.’ It seeks to inspire people to reduce their carbon footprints and offset what is left by supporting climate change mitigation projects around the world.
As some savvy geeks have already pointed out, the World Under Water tool isn’t perfect. “The site uses the same effect for every location and the sea level doesn’t change depending on your geography. Even so, it’s an admirable idea and the illusion is fairly believable,” explains The Next Web. It’s also worth noting that not every location will be affected in the same way. Here in the Colorado Rockies, flooding is less likely to affect my neighborhood than drought and the ecosystem effects that come along with it, but as the World Under Water site explains in small, rotating factoids–what affects one part of the world affects us all.
“We all know that greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide being one of the main offenders, contribute to global warming. In 2013, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide passed 400 ppm for the first time in human history. World famous climatologist Dr. James Hansen noted that this will eventually lead to sea level rise of about 25 meters” said Andreas Birnik, co-founder of CarbonStory in a press release. “There is strong consensus in the scientific community that we need to act now on a massive scale or we will be the generation responsible for creating a World Under Water”.
Once you’ve scraped your jaw off the floor, the interactive mapping tool allows you to share your ‘Street View Under Water’ with neighbors and family members via social media–instantly spreading the message that climate change is a real danger that’s quickly becoming inevitable. The site also offers advice about how to reduce your carbon footprint, and offset what you can’t reduce.
All images are screenshots from World Under Water