A trio of young adventurers impressed students at Ware Academy last fall, both with their intrepidness and their environmental mission. The group had laid out the Atlantic Rising project and won a 2009 Royal Geographical Society grant to circumnavigate the Atlantic overland along the one meter contour line.
The group had three main goals—to create an educational network among the thousands of students living in low-lying coastal areas, to document what will be lost to the rising seas, and to help young people understand their responsibility to each other to build a sustainable future.
Making their way up the U.S. Atlantic coast, the group stopped to spend time with students at Ware Academy. That stop came about because one of the three, Will Lorimer, has a friend who resides in Ware Neck. At Ware Academy, the visitors worked most closely with eighth graders.
Part of the group’s program with the students included a live link up that allowed the Ware eighth graders to talk with school children their age in Mexico and Ghana. The Atlantic Rising group had visited the foreign schools as part of their journey the previous year.
After the visitors departed, some of the Ware eighth graders discussed what they learned through their contact with Atlantic Rising. "They were mostly showing us about how the whole world is connected and how everything we do affects everyone all over the world," said eighth grader Jack Elkin.
Elkin said the group also showed the students how much of the rising sea level is due to natural causes such as glacial uplifting as well as glacial melting. He said the group additionally stressed the need for more recycling.
The video chats with his peers in Mexico and Ghana were Elkin’s favorite part of the visitors’ program. The students discussed their respective lifestyles along with what they were doing to help the environment. "In Mexico they had a lot of recycling, they were really into it," said Elkin. "They were a lot like us but they had a really green school. In Ghana, they really wanted to do a lot of things but they don’t have recycling plants there. They seemed really eco-friendly but they just did not have the resources. They would like to get grants to help their environmental efforts."
Elkin said the visit led the eighth graders to start a Green Committee at the school to find ways to conserve energy and resources on campus. The committee also plans to talk to younger students about the importance of such measures. "I just hope we can see them again," Elkin said of the visiting trio.
Eighth grader Courtney Jenkins said she would also like to see the Atlantic Rising group return. "It was very enlightening and there were very interesting and fun to be around," she said. Jenkins said one concept that stood out to her was the idea of meat-free Mondays. The idea is, she explained, that one day without meat consumption can help cut down on the deforestation that occurs to plant crops to feed cattle.
"They really made us feel more connected and showed us how everything impacts something else. They talked about how important it is to take care of the environment and to just be more conscientious about what you do. Every little thing you can do makes a difference, and all the little things can add up," said Jenkins.
The Atlantic Rising project was headed to Washington, D.C., after their stop at Ware. There, the trio planned to meet with representatives of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Jenkins said she and her classmates were going to work on questions for their visitors to pass along to the government agency.