These Travel Posters Advertise a World Ravaged by Climate Change

April 28th 2017

Mike Rothschild

In a play on classic travel style advertisements, the Boulder, CO advertising firm Walden Hyde created a series of posters that use classic American landmarks transformed by climate change to serve as eerie tourist destinations. For example, this mock ad depicts Nevada as a wind-swept coast, implying that everything west of Las Vegas is under water.

Walden Hyde Nevada

In honor of last week's March for Science―and certainly still relevant for this coming Saturday's People's Climate March―the agency re-released the previously-for-sale posters as free downloads on their website to be used as protest signs.

"Climate change can be a really scary topic,” agency co-founder Lucia Robinson told the Huffington Post. “It’s an issue that will increasingly impact every part of our lives both environmentally and socially.”

And the impact these posters show is truly disturbing ― iconic American destinations rendered either unrecognizable or inaccessible by rising water.  This poster shows the Lincoln Memorial as a destination for deep sea divers...

Walden Hyde Torch

...while Utah's Arches National Park is transformed from dusty desert into an obstacle for kayakers.

Walden Hyde Arches

While the posters potentially show a world that is still potentially centuries away from being realized, even a small rise in sea levels could swamp U.S. coastal cities and imperil millions of people. According to National Geographic, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates the bare minimum sea level rise the planet is facing is slightly less than a foot, with the worst estimates being as high as 23 feet.

A sea level rise that occurred to a degree in between those two estimates would put much of New York City, Boston, New Orleans, and large swaths of New Jersey and Florida under water. Walden Hyde's last poster reflects this worst case scenario having come to pass for New York City, showing the Statue of Liberty covered in water, with only the iconic torch still visible. 

Walden Hyde Torch

Unfortunately, the terrifying future put forth by Walden Hyde's posters is more relevant than ever, as the Trump administration continues to overturn Obama-era climate change provisions, including a possible withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. It also named Scott Pruitt, a climate science denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.