Mumbai swimming pool illustrates climate change, foreshadows 2008 banking disaster

The city of Mumbai sits in a precarious position to sea level rise, much of it on landfill between its original seven major islands once separated by shallow water.  In 1784, the islands were first linked by causeway, making it a single landform that would undergo subsequent land reclamation projects, allowing it to become the most populous city in India.  Its population is only rivaled by Istanbul, Karachi, and Shanghai as 0f 2010, though its population density is much greater than those cities.

This “global warming” pool was created by international advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather and commissioned by British multinational bank HBSC to promote their campaign to raise awareness about climate change.  Swimming over the sunken skyline of New York is a striking image, though a dramatic enhancement of possible sea level rise.  Showing a major United States city in India speaks to the vulnerability of even highly economically developed countries.  It is not Mumbai that is displayed beneath the water, a city would fare much worse if the possibility presented in the pool becomes reality.

The Indian Express reported in their article published on November 28, 2008: “The pool has been so successful that HSBC, the world’s first bank to turn carbon neutral, is considering building more of them in cities worldwide.”  The pool was built before the subprime crisis, and in March 2009, HBSC announced that it would shut down its Finance arm in the US.  HBSC Finance was one of the largest lenders of subprime mortgages in the US, according to this Financial Times blog article and article.  HBSC truly did put US buildings underwater.

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