Home > Development, Foreign Relations, Guyana > Atlantic Rising update: Driving the coastlines of Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela

Atlantic Rising update: Driving the coastlines of Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela

SOUTH AMERICA –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. Along the South American leg they observed the damage done to the Amazon and the big challenge that the global sea level rise poses for the small country of Guyana.

They have covered Brazil and Guyana and are currently in Caracas, Venezuela, heading towards Columbia.

Strange people in hammocks

In Brazil the team took a boat up the Amazon and also visited Manaus. While on the boat for 72 hours they were sleeping in hammocks and met some strange characters as fellow passengers.

“The man from God. Raul is 84. He is travelling all the way up the river to Peru, to have heart surgery. He is a missionary with a hatred of alcohol and an addiction to cards. Every night he joins us on the top deck to shuffle and watch as we while the night away. He is also fond of punching us in the kidneys from his hammock, strung below ours. A kindly soul, with a lot of strength left in his arms.”

“Edwan and Valeria. Edwan wanted to be in the French foreign legion. But he faces a problem. He is currently banned from French Guyane for ten years after being caught people smuggling. So he is biding his time, doing a bit of street fighting and selling perfume. After three days he offered us a couple of sample bottles of Amazon Spice and a promise that he could help us out if we ever got in trouble.”

“Valeria is 14 years his junior and the greenest eyes of anybody we have met. Edwan said it was because her mother was black. We aren´t going to argue.”

“The guitar man. A photographer’s dream. He came onboard one night and pitched his hammock in the 5cm of space between ours. He never said a word, but carried with him a guitar and a ukulele. And throughout the days he would sit on the top deck and play with who ever wanted to play.”

Lynn also reported about the dramatic change in landscape of the Amazon. “Rainforest around Santarém has been replaced with fields over the last five years thanks to the advent of soya farming in the area.”

Guyana

Lynn writes on their blog that the residents of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana, live their lives below sea level. “The rising sea is an immediate threat and the city only survives thanks to a sea wall.”

“Luckily, the President sees climate change as a business opportunity,” she added, “and is busy persuading Norway to hand over millions of dollars in return for promises to halt deforestation. This is not a popular strategy among gold and diamond miners and logging companies worried about the future of their industries. But it might mean the forest, which covers much of the country, is preserved.”

“Currently, Guyana is not short of timber and most of the buildings in Georgetown are beautiful, airy, wooden structures. There is even the world’s biggest wooden church. It’s a very attractive city but small for a capital and the streets feel almost empty.”

Tim reported, “Global sea level rise poses a big challenge for the small country of Guyana. The 320km coastal zone, a fertile agricultural belt, where 90% of Guyana’s 800,000 population live already lies between 50cm and 1metre below sea level. And between 1955 and 2005 Guyana recorded a rise in relative sea level of 17cm, approximately twice the global average.”

No Costa Rica

Will says when they get to Columbia they somehow have to find a way of crossing into Central America without passing through Costa Rica. Costa Rica banned all right hand drive cars like theirs.

Tim Bromfield, Lynn Morris and Will Lorimer (Expedition Atlantic Rising) are driving overland along the Atlantic coast line, tracing what could be the new coastline in 100 years. The 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. They are trying to highlight how climate change is affecting people around the ocean in very different ways but that it is happening now.

Atlantic Rising is also establishing a network of schools in low lying communities around the ocean’s 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.

The team started in London, drove around the coast of West Africa to Ghana and crossed the Atlantic to Brazil for their South America and North America stages.

Atlantic Rising won the Royal Geographical Society’s 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.

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