Climate activists partially sink model row home in DC’s Tidal Basin

Drivers near D.C.’s Tidal Basin might have glimpsed an unusual sight early Wednesday: A half-submerged row home poking out of the water near the Jefferson Memorial.

Climate activists with the local Extinction Rebellion chapter floated a wooden structure, styled after a brick row house, not far from the Ohio Drive bridge along with a banner reading “It’s Do or Die” at around 8 a.m. Their intention was to draw attention to climate change by simulating rising sea levels, as Congress returns from its August recess.

“The sinking house will serve as a warning to us all: unless we act now, sea level rise will be catastrophic,” the group said in a news release. “The budget reconciliation bill may be our last chance to build the clean energy infrastructure we need to slow global heating and keep our city, our country and the world habitable.”

A swimmer who helped pull the float into the middle of the basin was arrested soon after by U.S. Park Police officers. He was charged with operating a vessel in a park area without a permit.

Extinction Rebellion — a decentralized, global movement with roots in the U.K. — seeks to spur action on climate change and against fossil fuels through disruptive protest. The group said it believes “it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their government.”

XRDC spokeswoman Reilly Polka said the group sought to symbolize the impact of rising sea levels on the D.C. region.

“We spent quite a bit of time finding exactly what row house we wanted to emulate, but tried to go for the most classic D.C. style,” Polka said. “You’ll see red, brick rowhouses with white trim all over, especially in areas that are going to be hit by flooding.”

News2Share’s Ford Fischer captured these images of the sinking model row home:

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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