Global warming and climate change is an especially troublesome issue to envision. The perils it causes – can appear to be sufficiently distant to be shrouded in a cloudy impalpability, which prompts lack of care. Moreover, it’s human nature to not react to issues unless they’re right there in the face. Therefore, California’s Marin County government is introducing new device – OWL that will permits its residents to look into the future, to see definitely what it will look like when ocean level rises lands on their doorstep.

The revolutionary “Here-Now-Us” project is more of a futurist analysis. It is a partnership between Climate Access, a climate advocacy group, the Marin County and Owlized, a visualization solutions company, whose business is to help residents of the county to better see what’s to come in the next few decades. It is financed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency which is overseeing mapping of flood hit coastal areas and empowering engagement on impending flood risks, and will be managed by sociologist Dr. Susanne Moser.

Augmented Reality Binoculars

The aim of the project is to get community members engaged on climate change issues and to inspire civilians to embrace resiliency planning and forward thinking. Augmented reality sits at the core of the project, simulating a grave, climate changed future. Previously, Owlized had developed viewers that resembled old-fashioned coin-operated binoculars to help residents of a particular neighborhood see how climate change might look and feel. OWL is a better version developed specifically for the project that will enable residents to see a simulation of the dangerous impacts of global warming and climate change. Residents can simply stick heads into the device and witness what will happen when ocean levels rise.

The OWL displays a 360-degree view of the future. The viewer can see how rising sea level scenarios will flood the surrounding area, and look for a few concepts for infrastructure responses that neighborhood communities could embrace with a specific end goal to alleviate those effects. For the time being, this includes two responses – sea wall to keep the rushing waters out and a green infrastructure climate change response.

The project is soon will be extended to San Francisco, San Mateo County and Boston. It will help enhance the way civilians today understand the urgency of an issue as grave as climate change and help catalyze action.