Track 1: Effects of Climate Change in Warm Weather Coastal Regions
Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and Dan Rizza of Climate Central will present the work that the Gullah/Geechee Sustainability Think Tank is doing to insure that the cultural heritage of the Gullah/Geechee Nation will continue to exist in the face of climate change, sea level rise, and other on-going environmental harms including those that they have endured due to hurricanes. The Gullah/Geechee Nation exist on the Sea Islands in the Atlantic Ocean from Jacksonville, NC to Jacksonville, FL. This indigenous national ethnic and linguistic minority has not only had to combat the aforementioned things, they have also been in an on-going battle against seismic gun use and offshore drilling exploration of the waters in which they live.
Since they are a minority of a minority, Gullah/Geechees recognize that they are one of the extremely vulnerable groups that are on the front shoreline of these issues. To combat this, they formed their own think tank in order to create a sustainability plan that shows how their cultural traditions embodied resilience. Queen Quet has been asked to travel to a number of national and international events to model what she and her people have done and to insure that the voices of the cultural communities are incorporated in coastal adaptation planning. One of the presentation tools that Queen Quet and other Gullah/Geechee Nation leaders have used is Climate Central’s suite of free online tools -- available in both English and Spanish -- (http://sealevel.climatecentral.org/maps) which provides screening-level information and visuals on the risk that coastal flooding and sea level rise pose to populations and infrastructure. These tools can be used as a first step to help citizens, communities, policymakers, and leaders understand, respond to and communicate about the coastal threats. This session will demonstrate how users of these tools can easily access and download maps, sea-level projections, flood risk projections and detailed exposure analyses.
The loss of cultural heritage is not something that can be calculated and quantified mathematically. So, the capacity to maintain it has to be invested in while communities seek to invest in new building strategies and retreat plans. This session will focus on impacts to Gullah/Geechee and Hispanic coastal communities. Cultural heritage maintenance and sustainability investment only comes through educating people to be coastal stewards. Showing how traditional knowledge and cultural heritage can be incorporated into resilience and adaptation planning and education while using climate change projection tools and culturally relevant actions will be part of this trilingual-English, Gullah, and Spanish-interactive journey highlighting community based participatory research.