Don’t Believe in Climate Change? See What Your House Will Look Like Submerged

The interactive World Under Water website uses Google Street View to show the effect of rising sea levels.
May 10, 2014·
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

If food becoming less nutritious because of rising CO2 levels and scientists trying to genetically engineer chickens to withstand hotter temps doesn’t convince you that climate change is real, maybe seeing what your house will look like after sea levels rise will do the trick. That’s the idea behind a simultaneously fascinating and horrifying interactive site, World Under Water.

As you can see in the above video, the apocalyptic site lets users type in any address. Then, through the magic of Google Street View, you can see what it will look like once sea levels rise because of polar ice cap melting. If your address isn’t visible through Street View, type in some of your local landmarks—or even some of the historical monuments that people all over the globe recognize, such as the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Given that Kivalina, Alaska, is on track to be completely submerged by 2025, the watery reality this project shows isn’t just idle speculation.

The idea is the brainchild of social enterprise and crowdfunding platform CarbonStory. The hope is that seeing what could happen to the planet will motivate viewers to acknowledge that climate change is real and then take action to reduce their carbon footprint. And maybe if, you know, politicians in Washington, D.C., type in “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” and see water submerging the West Wing, they’ll get on board and get serious too.