Courtesy Atlantic RisingAtlantic Rising is a new charity backed by Britain’s Royal Geographical Society. We are a three-person team creating a network between schools around the Atlantic coastline to raise awareness about the effects of sea level rise on coastal communities.
The network is being launched with an expedition around the Atlantic rim tracing the 1-meter contour line — the Atlantic coastline as it will look in 100 years if sea levels rise as predicted. Along the way I and my colleagues — Will Lorimer and Lynn Morris — will be visiting schools and blogging on Grist from communities confronting sea level rise and its attendant threats of coastal erosion, flooding and salinity.
Our work will take us to places where sea level rise is already having a profound effect on people’s lives. We will meet the residents of the Kroo Bay slum in Sierra Leone whose homes and cattle are perennially swept into the sea by storm surges. We will also be looking at what local communities are doing to adapt to the effects — meeting people like the Sandlanders soccer team in Ghana who have set themselves the goal of reinvigorating their displaced community through league success. Stateside, we will see how business is booming for the house movers transporting buildings back from the encroaching waves of Chesapeake Bay and Key West.
We are also connecting 50 English speaking secondary schools in low lying communities around the Atlantic’s rim. We have already visited 11 schools in Scotland, England and Wales and the most common question students asked is, “Why should I care about climate change?”
We hope to answer this question by putting these children in touch with their peers around the Atlantic who have very real experiences of climate change. And once they have made friendships across the ocean they will not just understand the issues but care enough to act. We are not embarking upon a lecturing tour, but are creating an Atlantic-wide partnership of schools that are enabled to work collaboratively on classroom projects within an online community.
We set out from Britain on September 1 and will be spending our first night under canvas near Mont Saint-Michel in France where the large tidal range is predicted to exacerbate local sea level rise.
You can find out more about our project at www.atlanticrising.org and we’ll document the trip on this website over the coming months.