‘World Under Water’ Uses StreetView to Visualize Flooding From Climate Change

Questionably accurate, but makes a dramatic point

If this week's news of a potentially disastrous Antarctic ice melt wasn't enough to give you a sinking feeling, then you might want to check out "World Under Water," an interactive initiative that lets people see what their neighborhoods might look like following floods caused by climate change.

BBDO and Proximity Singapore created the site for CarbonStory, a crowdfunding platform, ahead of World Environment Day on June 5. The site includes most areas on Earth catalogued by Google StreetView.

"This is an emotionally engaging consumer experience that we hope will change behaviors," says Ronald Ng, CCO of the agencies that crafted the work. The goal is to convince folks to calculate and offset their carbon footprint and hopefully slow global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps.

The campaign's timing is prescient, as NASA just determined that melting ice sheets in Antarctica could cause higher global sea levels than previously anticipated. Luckily, that process should take a few centuries, so in the meantime we can use CarbonStory's tool to preview the potentially soggy world of our descendants.

At least one scientific researcher, Philip Orton of the Stevens Institute of Technology, says World Under Water's approach is all wet. Interviewed by Mashable, he dismisses the campaign as an "information-less thing that just demonstrates what it looks like to have water on your block (be it Denver or Charleston). It has very little actual information content."

Typing in my location generates an image of waves rushing down the street, covering cars and lapping at second-story windows. But with all the rain we get here in Boston, it always kind of looks like that anyway.

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