Story at a glance

  • A new study was published on Monday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
  • It uses visualizations of images, videos and animations to show the devastating effects of climate change and sea level rise.
  • The study hopes the visualizations will resonate with the public to make a change.

A new study is using visualizations of images, videos and animations to show the devastating effects climate change and sea level rise could have worldwide if nothing is done to intervene.

“We wanted to highlight the big picture here,” Benjamin Strauss, CEO at the nonprofit organization Climate Central and the study’s lead author, told Fast Company, “and the hundreds of years of unremitting sea level rise that we set in motion depending on what we do.”

The study, published on Monday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, states that were the average global temperature to rise by 3 degrees Celsius on its current trajectory, the ice sheets will melt, releasing an amount of water capable of covering land that 10 percent of the global population inhabits.

“I think when we talk about climate change, we so often get wrapped up in abstractions,” Strauss said. “And this is a way to make it as simple as a poster. As simple as, you know, do you choose Door A or do you choose Door B? And here’s what they look like.”

Some places, including island nations such as the Bahamas, could need to be abandoned entirely.


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Strauss hopes the visualizations that accompany the study will resonate with the public to make a change to alter the outcome while they still can.

“I don’t believe there’s ever been a time in human history when people could understand that the actions they took across 10 years would have consequences for 1,000, or 10,000 years,” Strauss said. “If, on one hand, that’s a really heavy responsibility, and on the other hand, it’s a really huge opportunity to make a difference for so many generations of people all around the world. There’s a real choice here, and how we’re going to be remembered in the history books. People who are alive today.”


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Published on Oct 12, 2021