Main Street flooded.
Go back 3 spaces. Lose $5,000.

Flooding from Climate Change education

The likelihood of flooding from climate change is increasing dramatically across the country. You can help your neighbors – and your town officials – wake up and see the costs they face. And the many ways of safeguarding against them! How well town leadership does this could make the difference between residents staying around or slowly migrating to a dryer and less costly hometown.

Old-fashioned they may seem, but table games are a really good way to teach cause and effect. A year ago we highlighted a method of teaching kids about stormwater runoff. Now comes the Game of Floods. Play it in your community and people will experience the loss or deterioration of homes, community facilities, roads, agricultural land, beaches, wetlands, lagoons, and other resources. Within an hour or two they can get a good understanding of the impacts of flooding from climate change, specifically from sea level rise and growing storm impacts.

Beyond understanding flood risks, you can test out various ways to control the flooding. These include hard structures like levees and sea walls, plus green infrastructure approaches including wetland restorations, beach nourishment, and policy/zoning changes. Finding this game particularly effective, the City of Baltimore developed a special version for training their local town officials. You can download The Game of Floods free to see if it might raise consciousness in your town.

If, before playing the game, you need to see what flooding from climate change in your area is going to be like as the decades roll on, take a look at these aerial-views. This sort of simulation is becoming so common that you might find one for your area. Just add your town and state to the search string in the link above. An alternative is to look at your local FEMA flood map or NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer, but these do not take into account sea level rise and just aren’t scary enough to stimulate good long-range thinking.

Emriver simulates flooding from climate change on your communityGame of Floods is mostly about coastal flooding. To assess the effects of rivers on natural areas, Emriver lets users play in a big sandbox with water and fake dirt to realistically simulate changes to floodplains, deltas, groundwater, and sediment transport.

Leadership in many towns is blissfully unaware of the dangers ahead. Here are fun ways to help your community actually see the effects of flooding from climate change – and the opportunities to dodge them.