Michael Westthorp: HIGH TIDE

In a report published in March 2020, NASA1 estimate that the human activity is contributing to a sea level rise of 3.3 millimetres per year.


While this seems fairly insignificant, in less than 100 years high-tide will severely affect nearly 600 million people worldwide. With the majority of the world’s great cities by the coast, river or other major body of water, it seems like a good opportunity to remind people about this uncomfortable consequence and promote conversation about our impact on climate change.


Exhibiting a simple teak column showing the current HIGH TIDE and predictions for HIGH TIDE levels in 2120, viewers will  hopefully start to think of the wider implication to the city they live in and global climate change.

High Tide: Sink or Swim

The issue

Michael’s ‘High Tide’ provokes a conversation and inner conscious relating to rising sea levels as a result of global warming & the climate emergency. Rising sea levels are a severe impacts of climate change – threatening to inundate small-island nations and coastal regions by the end of the century and is one of the impacts with the largest uncertainties.


Across the globe, a number of the world’s cities and population lives near the cost, with 8 of the world’s largest cities near the coast (U.N. Atlas of the Oceans). Sea’s are rising as a result of two reasons:

Firstly, glaciers and ice sheets worldwide are melting as a result of increasing global temperatures, adding water into the ocean. Antarctic ice loss nearly quadrupled from 51 billion tons per year between 1992 – 2001 to 199 billion tons per year from 2012 – 2016

Secondly, rising global temperatures due to climate change, expand the volume of water particles in the ocean leading to a rising sea level.


Sea level rise visible today is the consequent of global warming that started from emissions released decades ago. There is a lag in changes to sea levels as these large bodies of water have a great heat capacity – warming up slowly and keeping the temperature for a long duration.


By the end of the century, global mean sea level is likely to rise at least one foot (0.3 meters) above 2000 levels, even if greenhouse gas emissions follow a relatively low pathway in coming decades


An estimated 90% of heat trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have been absorbed by the world’s seas. Further consequences of sea level rising due to climate change include loss of habitats, soil contamination with salt, wetland flooding, destructive erosion and more extreme weather events coinciding including dangerous hurricanes and typhoons.

The role of forests

There is a huge imperative not just to reduce and mitigate the most severe effects of climate change.


One cause of action is to reduce emissions, while also seeking to reduce and remove existing greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the atmosphere. Tropical reforestation can provide one of the best-value, most effective ways of capturing carbon, while protecting strained ecosystems and providing a nature-based solution to climate change.


“We do not protect the forests, the forests protect us”.


How far the oceans will rise depend on how we act and respond in the next few decades. Whether emissions can be restained and sharply reduced could mean the difference between manageable disruption and catastrophic inundation. Habitats including coastal wetlands, marshes and mangrove swamps are invaluable for slowing climate change. These habitats accumulate carbon forty times quicker per hectare than tropical forests. In the tropics, mangrove forests are cleared to grow crops or build aquaculture.


The EU FLEGT Action Plan

Through strengthening governance and enforcement, countries working toward FLEGT-licensing are activity protecting their forests from illegal logging and working to safeguard their forests. Engaging in responsible trade, ensuring that sustainable forest management is embedded into forestry practices and taking into account land rights and ownership, the FLEGT Action Plan plays a critical role in protecting one of our greatest carbon sequestration mechanisms.

TTF Member

Timber supplied through Mere Plantations Ltd. 

With support from the Plantations Division of Ghana Forestry Commission (GFC), Timber Industry Development Division and the Government of Ghana.

Tropical Hardwood

Timber for this project was plantation grown teak. 

VPA Country

The teak column is from Ghana. Ghana has ratified a VPA with the EU and is developing the systems needed to control, verify and license legal timber.
They are expected to be the second FLEGT-licensed country and the first African country to achieve FLEGT-status. 

Mere Plantations

Michael’s High Tide design was connected with TTF member Mere Plantations, growing teak on formally degraded land with a philosophy: “It is said we are the first generation to understand the damage we are causing to the planet. It is said we are the last generation that can do anything about it”. 


Tropical reforestation can provide one of the best-value, most effective ways of capturing carbon, protecting strained ecosystems and providing a nature-based solution to climate change. Mere’s teak is sustainably grown, under quantifiable governance, on UNclassified degraded forestland in Ghana. Mere are proud partners of GFC in this globally commercial operation.


More information on Mere Plantations including biodiversity, social responsibility, sustainable development, equal opportunities, carbon sequestration and commerciality can be found here