Here's the London Underground After Nine More Decades of Climate Change. Don't Forget Your Goggles


Image courtesy of Practical Action

Ninety years from now, your London-going grandchildren may be jealous that you didn't have to strap on a snorkel to visit Big Ben, Parliament, London Bridge, and Canary Wharf. That's the forecast from Practical Action, the development charity behind the London Underground Map 2100. Any area in blue is predicted to be underwater by the end of the century.The global rise of sea levels is a predicted result of climate change, and never mind 2100: it's already a problem. 15 million east coast Americans are coping with threatened drinking water supplies, and tigers in India and Bangladesh are facing the loss of 96% of their remaining habitat. Now, it looks like London is next.

Practical Action focuses on developing skills and technology to help disadvantaged populations overcome the challenges they face, including environmental degradation, natural disasters, unfair markets, and unevenly allocated services. The group works in Latin America, East Africa, Southern Africa and South Asia.

So why the focus on the London Underground, whose current, official map is one of the world's most impressive? Margaret Gardner, director of Practical Action, explains that the goal of the prescient subway map is to make people think about communities that are less equipped to fight climate change:

If no action is taken against the temperature and sea levels rise as predicted, large areas of London could be underwater by the end of the century - a frightening thought. But what's more frightening are the effects that will be felt in developing countries where people are already living on the front line of climate change and experiencing the worst effects of floods, droughts and extreme temperatures.

In London we have an insurance industry and the necessary capital to do something about increased flooding risk. We can build barriers and do whatever is necessary. But in Dhaka and other cities in the developing world, there isn't the spare cash to just invest in infrastructure to help people to adapt to climate change. So the answer has to be to avoid climate change in the first place.

The flooded areas shown on the London Underground Map 2100 follow the route of the Thames River, a body of water that in the last fifty years has made a remarkable comeback from a biological dead zone to a resurgent ecological powerhouse. But now, Practical Action warns us, the trick is keeping the Thames to its current size, and keeping your grandchildren snorkel-free.

To help, join Practical Action's Face Up campaign.

More on the threat of rising sea levels:
Sea Level Rise Forces Panama Islanders to Relocate
Sea Walls, Dikes, Evacuation: US Cities Must Cope With Rising Sea Levels
Flood Maps: View Sea Level Rise
First Official Climate Change Refugees Evacuate Their Island Homes for Good

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