We hear these words every day – global warming, climate change, carbon emissions, greenhouse effect... Usually, they're accompanied by numbers, percentages, graphs, and whatnot, all very important, no doubt, but also rather complicated to understand if you're not exactly fluent in the environmentalist lingua.
But don't worry – we have something just as powerful for those who are not yet BFFs with statistics and choose to consume their information visually.
American photographer and digital artist Nick Pedersen has created a series of works that imagine the future of planet Earth if we do not acknowledge how severe the climate change problem really is. Pedersen's most recent project, Floating World, explores "the impacts of climate change on the planet, and the issues of sea level rise in coastal cities around the world."
Wall Street, New York City
Pedersen's digitally manipulated images see some of the greatest New York City landmarks – such as the Flatiron building or the Brooklyn Bridge – and main streets surrounding them submerged under water.
Yes, both 5th Avenue and Wall Street, which usually have tourists, shoppers and bankers trotting down their sidewalks, are overtaken by sea creatures: sharks, rays, jellyfish, etc.
Of course, it's just an artistic rendition... for now. According to New York Times' interactive map showing coastal and low-lying areas that would be permanently flooded if the sea levels rise at least 5 feet, 7% of New York City would be flooded possibly submerging the La Guardia airport and port complexes along the East River.
In the past century, New York's sea levels have already risen by at least a foot due to expansion of warming ocean water. So don't write off this Atlantis scenario just yet...
Flatiron, New York City
Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
But Floating World isn't the only series of artworks in which Pedersen has imagined us living in a post-apocalyptic future. His projects Ultima I, II and III all comment on the possible outcome for the planet if we don't change our exploitative, consumerist ways.
"Ultima is a body of work that is deeply rooted in environmentalism, showing my concern for the future by depicting the ways in which mankind’s creations have an impact on the planet."
In Ultima, Pedersen explores the contrast between contemporary and indigenous cultures. He imagines people in masks roaming the streets, gathering around abandoned buildings, power plants, underground subway platforms which have all been overtaken by nature.
As Pedersen puts it on his website, his goal is to "create striking juxtapositions between the ruins of modern civilization and a futuristic ecological utopia."
Check out more of his works below and be sure to follow Nick on Instagram.