How Virtual Reality Can Help People Better Understand Climate Change

How Virtual reality Can Help people to Better Understand climate change

As the communities plan for sea level rise, it is difficult to convince, the inhabitants of the dramatic changes in the store. A Californian scientists are testing a possible answer: virtual reality.


How do you want to show people and convince them of a future that never was? This is one of the biggest challenges for the climate-to provide scientists and communities the magnitude of the coming changes in the environment try. NPR’s Nathan Rott has

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: in the vicinity of the rear wall of the crowded South East of Baltimore auditorium, Monica Wimberly (ph) sits in a metal chair and slips a chunky grey headset over the eyes.

JULIANO CALIL: Is it too tight?

MONICA WIMBERLY: Oh, no, it is exactly the right thing.

CALIL: you will see a screen in front of you?


ROTT: It’s a virtual reality headset, the kind that you meet in General, you will not find at Best Buy, a community. And the man who can hear you is your help to Juliano Calil.

WIMBERLY: Click anywhere on the screen to continue.


ROTT: Calil is a climate researcher and Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. He is also the man who helped create the virtual reality program, the Wimberly is about the experience.

CALIL: If you feel a little dizzy, just close your eyes and take it and then I’ll come help you, OK?

WIMBERLY: Virtual Planet sea level – OK, that’s nice.

ROTT: Wimberly is always an immersive Google Earth-like view of a Park in your neighborhood as it looks today. It is a low-lying industrial area in the vicinity of the port. There is a coast, baseball diamonds, a senior center. Her gaze is like a bird hovering just off the coast are looking for domestic. But this program shows a future.

WIMBERLY: Then it tells me to push this. And then he says I can go to six feet.

ROTT: A future with rising seas.

WIMBERLY: Ooh, it was dark. Oh, my God. The water here is the bridge – oh, gee.

ROTT: Wimberly is now to see what could happen here when the sea level will rise. Here is Connie Monroe (ph) is the hue Galloway, Sr. (ph) and Michelle Gregory (ph-value) to the same.

CONNIE MONROE: Oh, Oh, the tide is coming in.

HUE GALLOWAY SR: Oh, shoot. It takes a lot of.

MICHELLE GREGORY: Wow. Yes. That is a lot of water.

ROTT: The ballparks are under water. The senior center is partially under water.

MONROE: Our home is under water. You know what? It is kind of scary, the fact that the water could come, the high.

ROTT: climate change and its effects are frightening. Sea levels could rise two to four feet in Maryland by the end of the century. Under a worst-case-scenario, researchers at the University of Maryland say it could go much higher. But for many people in the vicinity of the coast, sea level rise is not top of mind. Outside the community center, Jackie Specht, the coastal science program manager at The Nature Conservancy, says that’s partially because it is easy to fathom so hard for most people to.

JACKIE SPECHT: If you imagine it hard, it’s hard to face and to prioritize, especially when there are so many real problems they are facing on the day-to-day.

ROTT: That’s why The Nature Conservancy, together with Calil, the climate scientists we met earlhere, the virtual-reality program, the people – to bring a sense of immediacy and authenticity of the conversation, not only in Baltimore, but also thousands of miles away on the Golden Sands of the beaches of Long Beach, Calif.

CALIL: One thing that can help you with discovering the drone, so…

ROTT: Calil has made arrangements for these three virtual-reality-program so far – the one in Baltimore, the shores here in Long Beach and the other in his current hometown, Santa Cruz, all cities, already with the effects of the rise of the oceans. After the Start of his drone, Calil, explaining that these impacts will be different in any other place. After receiving these photos, Calil local survey data, tidal information and sea-level rise projections using site-specific renderings for what should be expected every place to see, with rising seas.

CALIL: The idea is to help the city, a tool to show people what some of the likely impacts are but also what could be some of the solutions look like.

ROTT: In the future versions of these programs, Calil, in the hope that solutions, which is part of the experience. So a person wearing the headset can’t just press a button and watch the sea levels rise, but you can also see on the other, how the city plans to change the adjustment.

CALIL: Maybe we should build a sea wall. So, what would that look like? And then we can project – show, the sea wall, and views of the impact on the beach. You have a sea wall, but in the course of time, you can lose the beach.

ROTT: the illustration of those trade-offs, by the people a way to see the changes, to make Calil hopes that people are better informed and committed as cities across the country begin planning for an uncertain future.


ROTT: Back in southeast Baltimore, Sharon Oliver (ph) spent a few minutes with the virtual reality program to shake when she starts.

SHARON OLIVER: Oh, my gracious. I’m not ready for this. How do I get out of here? I’m not ready for this.

CALIL: Just close your eyes. You close your eyes and take you.

ROTT: Oliver has a phobia of water. She lived through the flooding here caused by the rain. After she takes a beat, Isaac Hametz, a research architect who brings a proposed adaptation to the climate project here, you to a table with a topographic 3D-map of the area and what they do.

HAMETZ, ISAAC: OK. So you have just seen, the rise in the sea level.

OLIVER: that’s Right.

HAMETZ: OK. Well. You got that. So this is kind of what we are – the proposed design is to help prevent some of the flooding that you saw…

OLIVER: OK. So, what would that be?

ROTT: Oliver spends about 10 minutes at the table grilling Hametz with questions about how you want to prevent the floods – with what materials, who will pay for them, and on and on and on. Hametz is more than happy to answer any. Nathan Rott, NPR News.


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Released on Mon, 18 Nov 2019 10:01:00 +0000

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