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In a world increasingly challenged by the effects of climate change, interactive and experiential design plays a pivotal role in fostering understanding and driving meaningful action. Visitor attractions should look to work with agencies that harness the power of design, using behavioural insights and advanced measurement techniques to optimise audience engagement and learning.

Educational institutions seeking to create environments that facilitate learning, inspire action and foster a greater understanding of critical issues, should consider the pressing issue of sea level rise as a direct consequence of climate change.

Whilst its ongoing impact is viewed as unstoppable and irreversible, slowing the momentum of climate change can certainly be achieved by reducing over-consumptive lifestyles.

Understanding Sea Level Rise and Its Consequences

Sea level rise, an unavoidable consequence of climate change, is accelerating due to the melting of land-based ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic, coupled with the expansion of ocean waters from heating. According to the latest IPCC report, we are already committed to nearly 30 cm of sea level rise by 2050, with more to follow. This phenomenon threatens to significantly impact everyday life and infrastructure worldwide.

The Urgency of Adaptation

The IPCC emphasizes that the scale of climate change impacts is greater than previously estimated and outpaces current adaptation efforts. We need to transform these efforts from a slow walk into a sprint. This sentiment is echoed by climate activists who warn of ‘irreversible climate breakdown.’ Both humanity and other species are at serious risk.

Impacts on Infrastructure and Populations

Sea level rise, combined with increased storm surges from extreme weather events, threatens to:

  • Damage infrastructure and critical facilities
  • Disrupt energy networks and transportation systems
  • Flood wastewater and stormwater systems
  • Inundate residential areas, forcing relocations

By 2050, nearly one billion people will be at greater risk of flooding and other impacts due to sea level rise. Populations in low-lying countries and small island states are particularly vulnerable. The Maldives, Tuvalu, Fiji, Kiribati, and the Marshall Islands may become uninhabitable.

Protecting Natural Barriers

Natural barriers like sand dunes, wetlands, salt marshes, and mangrove forests are crucial in protecting against storm surges and high tides. Conserving these barriers is vital, but they are increasingly vulnerable due to sea level rise and human interference.

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies

To address sea level rise, both preventive measures and mitigation actions are necessary:

  1. Conserve Natural Barriers: Protect sand dunes, wetlands, and mangrove forests.
  2. Protect Infrastructure: Use seawalls, levees, and surge barriers.
  3. Relocate Infrastructure: Move at-risk structures inland when protection is impractical.
  4. Mindful Development: Avoid further development in low-lying areas and consider ‘unbuilding’ in vulnerable zones.
  5. Support Relocation: Assist at-risk populations in moving to safer areas.
  6. Promote Green Policies: Back policymakers who support climate resilience and adaptation.
  7. Community Engagement: Encourage and support community groups working on sea level rise mitigation.

formula D_ ‘s commitment to Sustainability

formula D_ identifies strongly with these issues and is actively involved in developing interactive displays and multimedia experiences that highlight the threats posed by sea level rise and the actions that individuals can take to mitigate their impact. The company’s values include “We think and act for sustainability” and preference is given to projects that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and promote greener lifestyles.

By transforming the way visitors interact with and understand these complex matters, educational institutions are empowered to lead the charge in climate education and action. Interactive designs do not just drive engagement; they’re about inspiring real-world solutions and fostering a sustainable future. Join this vital mission to educate, engage, and empower.