They met ten years ago at university, now at age 29, Tim Bromfield, Lynn Morris and Will Lorimer are driving overland along the Atlantic coast line, tracing what could be the new coastline in 100 years.
They started in London, drove around the coast of West Africa to Ghana and crossed the Atlantic to Brazil for their American stage.
Here follows a summary of their journey over the past six and a half months written and sent over to ExplorersWeb by Lynn Morris
March 21, 2010
Atlantic Rising is an overland expedition tracing what could be the new coastline of the Atlantic in 100 years. The three-person team is following the one-meter contour line, the level to which seas are predicted to rise in the next century, around edge of the ocean.
Their unique journey takes them to places, peoples and cultures all threatened by the rising tide. Along the way they are documenting what they find through writing, video and photographs.
The expedition, which is supported by the Royal Geographical Society, left the UK on September 1, 2009 and drove around the coast of West Africa to Ghana. This leg of the journey included passing through the Sahara desert, visiting slums in Freetown and Monrovia and meeting rebels in Cote dIvoire.
They crossed the ocean by container ship and have now arrived in Brazil.
By this halfway point they have driven more than 12,000miles through 16 countries. The journey continues northwards up the Atlantic coast of the Americas to Canada
Team member Tim Bromfield explained their aim, We are trying to highlight how climate change is affecting people around the ocean in very different ways but that it is happening now.
It can no longer be thought of as a problem for the future but it is something millions of people are experiencing on a daily basis. This is frighteningly under reported in the UK at least.
We are researching and sharing the innovative means communities are using to mitigate or adapt to rising sea levels.
Network of schools
Atlantic Rising is also establishing a network of schools in low lying communities around the oceans rim, putting students in touch with their peers and creating climate change projects on which they can collaborate through a specially developed social networking site for schools.
Tim said, We want students to share their different experiences of climate change but we also want them to make friends in different places.
The expedition started with visits to schools in the UK talking to students about climate change and how it could affect their local environment and wider world.
Tim added, Children in the UK see climate change as a problem that is likely to affect their grandchildren rather than themselves. We hope by directly communicating with children who are already feeling the effects students will gain a sense of urgency with regards to climate change.
Through rebel held territory
The Atlantic Rising team set off for France on a ferry on a blustery September day. Driving through Europe and Morocco was fairly straight forward it was in Mauritania that the team first experienced problems.
Tim explained, We had one exciting evening when we got the car stuck in the mud in an estuary with the tide coming in. It took several hours of slightly worried digging and winching to free the vehicle.
There were also some interesting moments on the crossing between Liberia and Cote dIvoire. There was a bridge down on the main track so we had to follow motorbike paths through the forest, crossing rickety log bridges not much wider than the wheel span of the Land Rover.
When we eventually arrived in Cote dIvoire we realized we were in rebel held territory and had to pick up a rebel as an escort. It would have been fine but he was carrying a cooked monkey in a plastic bag to give as a present to his boss and it did not smell good.
The team has explored many fragile environments on the front line of climate change.
In Mauritania they visited the Banc dArguin a wetland habitat of vital importance for migratory birds. It is an extremely flat low lying area where the Sahara meets the Atlantic and a sea level rise of a meter would completely change the area and affect the migration paths of millions of birds from Europe.
Tim said, We saw how the reproduction of spoonbills is less successful year on year because their nests are getting washed away. It is an example of how interconnected Atlantic ecosystems are. There is no point in conservation efforts in say the Wash in England if the Banc dArguin is set to disappear.
They found urban environments are often equally vulnerable to rising sea levels and visited slum communities in Freetown and Sierra Leone where poor communities had built homes on sandbars and beaches and suffered regular floods.
Mangrove replanting project
But the picture is not always bleak and they have met some extraordinary people engaged in innovative projects. In Senegal, Atlantic Rising visited communities taking part in the worlds biggest mangrove replanting effort.
Non-governmental organization Oceanium is running a successful environmental education project aiming to replant 30 million mangroves. The point is not just to protect the coastline and create valuable mangrove habitats but also to educate people about conservation and using resources sustainable.
Football team project
In Ghana, the team went to Keta, a town that has been dramatically eroded over the last 100 years. They learnt how the local football team is using the Internet to sell shares in the club and put the money back into community projects, including rebuilding the town.
Individual and international co-operation
Tim said, We have also visited some inspirational schools, Educaid in Sierra Leone was one, where the students are intelligent, motivated and engaged with environmental issues.
We really have seen it is possible to do something about global problems if people both on an individual level and internationally can work together.
Next stage through the America
The team is now planning the next stage of the expedition in the Americas.
Tim said, There are plenty of adventures still to come. We have yet to find a way to get across the Amazon.
If anyone has any suggestions for places or projects we should visit along the Atlantic coast of the Americas we would be very keen to hear from you.
Please get in touch through our website www.atlanticrising.org.
Atlantic Rising won the Royal Geographical Societys Go Beyond Bursary in 2009 and the vehicle was leant to the team by Land Rover. Tim Bromfield, Lynn Morris and Will Lorimer, all 29, met ten years ago at Cambridge University. They established Atlantic Rising as an educational charity in Spring 2009. The expedition began on September 1, 2009 and they expect to return to the UK in November 2010.
For more the story of their expedition and videos, photographs and articles about the places they visit see the expedition website in the links section below the images.
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