Please Use These Realistic Photos To Teach About Climate Change

It’s hard to educate people about climate change. Aside from a few cartoons of drowning polar bears and some scary bar graphs, there are not enough shocking photographs that really capture the urgency of climate change. Until now.

There is a new exhibit at the Museum of London that you have to see. If you can’t make it to London, you can check out the haunting photos below. London Futures contrasts present day London with potential outcomes if climate change happens on the scale that is being predicted. The artists, Didier Madoc-Jones and Robert Graves, are showcasing 14 digitally-created images printed on large back-lit transparencies. As part of the artists’  Postcards From The Future series, the project was first started in response to the 2008 G8 summit, which focused on climate change. Graves and Madoc-Jones realized that the idea of climate change was hard for people to understand in a concrete way, so they decided to craft very real images of what iconic picturesque locations in London could look like in a future left to the whim of climate change.

According to the Huffington Post, they didn’t want to show only the destructive possibilities, but also offer hope through the promise of new technology that can be harnessed to mitigate climate change’s effects. “We researched different possible scientific projections and combining these with London’s postcard views told a different climate change story with each picture,” Madoc-Jones says.

View the images from London Futures here and check out a few more on their website,
London Futures is on display at the Museum Of London from October 1, 2010 until March 6, 2011.

Source: via the Huffington Post

London has become uninhabitable. Every year spring tides surge through the Thames Barrier, making London the new Venice. But whereas the city of gondolas has come to terms with water, London is overwhelmed. This image shows the impact of 6-metre flooding, the level required to breach the Thames Barrier. Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones. Background photography © Jason Hawkes

Traditional rituals have altered beyond recognition, along with the climate. Here, on Horse Guards Parade, horses have been replaced by camels – animals that can withstand the heat of the parade ground. The change was controversial but the London Tourist Board argued strongly in favour. Tourism remains important for London’s economy. Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones

As the Gulf Stream slows a mini ice-age brings temporary relief to heat-weary Londoners. Winter skating becomes London’s most popular sport and Tower Bridge is a favourite spot. The scene harks back to the 17th century when artists loved to paint London’s Frost Fairs. Then, the Thames froze over because the river flowed sluggishly. Now, the river flows quickly but every winter the temperature falls to new lows. Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones. Background photography © Jason Hawkes

This view across Parliament Square shows paddy fields running up to the walls of the Palace of Westminster. The land that once housed political protest is now part of the city’s food production effort. In this scenario London has adapted to rising water tables in radical ways. Managed flooding is now the name of the game, as is self-sufficiency in food. Central London is a network of rice paddies – and Londoners’ diet is largely rice-based. Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones.

The iconic City office tower is now high-rise housing. Originally converted into luxury flats, the block soon slid down the social scale to become a high-density, multi-occupation tower block. The Gherkin now worries the authorities as a potential slum. Refugees from equatorial lands have moved north in search of food. They make their homes in the buildings that once drove world finance – before the collapse of the global economy. Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones.

The river remains a focus of power generation, just as it was for the great coal-powered power stations of old. Around the old Thames Barrier a number of new tidal power stations are using the tidal flows up and down the Thames to generate electricity for thousands of London businesses and homes. Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones.

The sunset over Kew Gardens catches London’s brand new nuclear power station on the banks of the Thames. Nuclear power is now widely accepted as the only viable alternative to fossil fuels. Expert opinion confirms that new power stations are best located near the populations they serve and architects strive to create new ‘harmonious’ landmarks. This is nothing new for London, which has a tradition of siting its power stations in its middle: Battersea, for example. Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones.

The climate refugee crisis reaches epic proportions. The vast shanty town that stretches across London’s centre leaves historic buildings marooned, including Buckingham Palace. The Royal family is surrounded in their London home. Everybody is on the move and the flooded city centre is now uninhabitable and empty – apart from the thousands of shanty-dwellers. But should empty buildings and land be opened up to climate refugees? Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones. Background photography © Jason Hawkes

Nelson looks down on a shanty town of climate refugees. As the equatorial belt becomes uninhabitable, so people are driven north in search of food and security. People settle wherever they can and many reach London. This is the political dilemma of the day for all European countries. The numbers are overwhelming. London’s strategy is to cluster the new arrivals in the historic centre, rather than spread them through the suburbs, where most Londoners now live. Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones

That archetypical British driveway The Mall, has become a wind-farm. Wind turbines tower over flags, as the desperate quest for renewable energy takes precedence over any remaining notions of Britishness. Cars? Now what on earth were they? Wind farms are usually associated with bleak moors, distant hillsides or faraway patches of sea. But will we see more in our own back yards, even royal ones? Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones.

‘Postcards From The Future’ on display at the Museum Of London. Photo Credit: Alan Williams


  1. Robin Peacock

    November 6, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Hardly realistic if you jump from flood to drought to ice age to tropical paddy fields, all in a future London. Make up your mind where 'Climate Change' is headed. All this is, is a bunch of cleverly photo-shopped pics which go nowhere.

    • EduDemic

      November 6, 2010 at 3:06 pm

      It's hopefully not realistic! If any of these actually came close to coming true we'd be in deep trouble.

  2. Fitness

    March 1, 2011 at 3:46 am

    Good morning to everyone. As a proud editor of a community magazine I would like to subscribe the newsletter. Which one is the direct link? Thanks a lot, Loise.