An Extraordinary Journey with Atlantic Rising

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I've got one of the most important stories we've ever featured on our site to share with you today. Atlantic Rising is a project that seeks to educate about global warming, by following the Atlantic overland along the 1m contour line. Atlantic Rising is funded by the Royal Geographical Society, and works with schools around the world to interact, educate, and create a conversation about global warming. I am so very impressed by the work of Atlantic Rising. By making global connections, with people who are concerned about global warming and the Atlantic Rising, this project is key to changing the way we think about our world. Atlantic Rising has a network of over 15,000 students - creating change for the future.

 

Atlantic Rising

 

We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Lynn Morris, one of the founders of Atlantic Rising, about the project, creating an educational network, the voyage of the buoy (message in a bottle), and more. Here's what she had to say...

 

 

WE: Please tell us about Atlantic Rising...

LM: Atlantic Rising is an environmental education project creating a network of schools in low lying communities around the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. We are also creating multimedia classroom resources which encourage
collaboration between schools.

To launch the network the three directors of the charity Tim Bromfield, Will Lorimer and I (all 29) are travelling around the Atlantic overland along the one metre contour line - that is predicted to be the new coastline of the ocean in 100 years. The idea behind the journey is that it is an exploration of what could be lost if sea levels continue to rise. It is also an investigation into the innovative ways communities have adapted to the effects of climate change.

Along the way we are visiting all the schools in our network and talking to climate change experts and visiting environmental projects along the coast. This research is used to create the lesson plans and also to write articles, take photos and make films for our website and elsewhere.

We devised the project in September 2008 and left the UK a year later. Since then we have travelled through Europe and West Africa and crossed the Atlantic by container ship. We are now in Brazil travelling northwards along the Atlantic coast of the Americas to Canada.

 

Atlantic Rising

our vehicle on a ferry in Sierra Leone

 

fish market in brazil

The fishermen may spend 3-4 days out at sea.  They fish from tiny rafts which have a small sail, but no cabin.  They use only the stars and sun to navigate.

 

 

WE: What was the genesis of your site?

LM: We designed the website to promote our education project and our journalism. We wanted people to be able to follow the progress of our journey and it is also a way to make resources available to teachers.

 

sierra leone, educaid school

Sierra Leone, Educaid school

 

Brazil

Brazil - Hugh and Helena put us up in their beautiful house on the beach and sent us on our way laden with coconuts and bread fresh from the oven.

 

 

WE: What is the 1m countour line?

LM: The one metre contour line is predicted by scientist to be the new coastline of the ocean in 100 years if sea levels continue to rise. In some cases it is right by the coast in others it is very far in land. In Mauritania we were 50miles into the Sahara and still on the contour line and in the Amazon we are going to be about 300 miles in land and still on the contour line.

 

Crossing the Atlantic

Lynn drives Beatrice into her new home for the next two months

 

Ghana

Will films some of the eroded buildings at Keta.  The waves had encroached 700m over the last 100 years.

 

 

WE: How are you creating an educational network through your travels?

LM: We contacted most of the schools before we left the UK because we wanted to get them involved from the beginning of the project - although we have collected a few more on the way. We are putting them in touch with each other via a social networking site for schools called Rafiki. This allowed teachers and student to directly communicate with each other. We are creating lesson resources based on our research during the journey and these are available to all teachers. We are also visiting all the schools spending a day with each talking to the students about climate change and about our experiences. We are encouraging students to share their experiences of climate change.

 

We spent a second night camping in a cocoa plantation somewhere in the middle of Cote d'Ivoire

We spent a second night camping in a cocoa plantation somewhere in the middle of Cote d'Ivoire

 

West point, Monrovia

West point, Monrovia- The only place to build now is on the beachfront where houses are build on sewage and regularly washed away by storm tides.

 

 

WE:  Please tell us about the voyage of your buoy...

LM: All the way down the east coast of the Atlantic we were asking students to write a 'message in a bottle' letter. We collected these and put them into a giant specially designed buoy which we launched just south of the equator from our container ship on the way from Africa to Brazil. The buoy was floating for five weeks and travelled almost 1,000 miles before it was picked up by fishermen off the coast of Fortaleza, Brazil.

 

Staff from the Golden Tulip arrive after we had contacted them telling them the buoy was in front of the hotel.

Staff from the Golden Tulip arrive after we had contacted them telling them the buoy was in front of the hotel.

 

The buoy contained a tracker so we could see where it was in the ocean and we noticed that it had arrived on land. We tracked it down to the Golden Tulip Hotel, Fortaleza and phoned the receptionist and asked him to go and have a look for our buoy. He did eventually find it on the beach where it had been brought in by fishermen. We are now going to encourage students in Fortaleza to write back to the children on the other side of the Atlantic who put messages in the bottle. 

 

 

 

WE:  Who is involved in Atlantic Rising? What are your backgrounds and interests in this area?

LM: I am a journalist, Will is a documentary film maker and Tim used to be a management consultant. We are all 29 and we met at university about 10 years ago. We think climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and we were eager to do something to highlight that it is a problem for now, not just problems for the future.

 

Tim Bromfield, Lynn Morris and Will Lorimer

Tim Bromfield, Lynn Morris and Will Lorimer

 

 

WE:  How is Atlantic Rising educating about climate change?

LM: In several ways. Firstly when we visit schools in our network we are talking with students about climate change. We are also encouraging them to share their experiences of climate change with other students around the
ocean.

We are also doing research along the way. This is used for two things. To produce classroom materials which will help teachers explain issues relating to climate change and the places we have visited.

We are also writing articles on various environmental issues for magazines and websites so we hope that through this we are raising awareness of climate change more broadly.

 

West Point, Monrovia

West Point, Monrovia - There are no sanitation facilities in West Point.  Which translates as 'everybody poops in the sea'.  With horrendous consequences for community health.

 

kroo bay, sierra leone

Dawn brings out the small boys to wash their water bottles and collect water for the day.

 

Fishermen turn to the east for midday prayers in the waters off the village of Iwik, in central Banc D'Arguin.

 

 

WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

LM: You can follow the progress of our expedition through our website atlanticrising.org, through Facebook or Twitter. We welcome suggestions of places to go, people to meet or projects to see anywhere along the Atlantic coastline so please get in touch.

 

People line up in their hundreds, hoping to catch a bargain as fishermen unload their boats.

People line up in their hundreds, hoping to catch a bargain as fishermen unload their boats.

 

Children play amongst the fishing nets on the beach at Iwik.  Life seemed to happen on the beach, with houses often built on the high tide mark.

Children play amongst the fishing nets on the beach at Iwik.  Life seemed to happen on the beach, with houses often built on the high tide mark.
 

 

WE: Thanks so very much, Lynn. Atlantic Rising is an extraordinary project - we highly recommend following your journey to our readers!

Again, for more information, please see:

www.atlanticrising.org

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Atlantic Rising

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