Massive Flooding Drowns Online World

<p>To raise awareness of global warming, a massive sea level change was staged in the online virtual reality world "Second Life" that flooded areas such as London and Tokyo -- similar to what scientists predict could occur within this century.</p>
April 6, 2007, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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"A rolling flood temporarily swamped several areas of the online world as part of a campaign to illustrate the potential environmental and financial impacts of climate change."

"'Our message was, You may have a second life, but [you still need to] offset your second life in real life,' said David de Rothschild, a London-based environmentalist and adventurer whose nonprofit Adventure Ecology helped stage today's flood."

"De Rothschild noted that because of the computer equipment required to power Second Life, people's online personas, or avatars, consume as much energy as the average real-world Brazilian."

"The group sent floodwaters cascading into the virtual equivalents of London's Knightsbridge neighborhood, the Netherlands, the Spanish island of Ibiza, and other regions."

"These are among the same low-lying areas in the real world that could be swamped by rising sea levels."

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Published on Wednesday, April 4, 2007 in National Geographic News
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