Under the sea: That’s where we’ll be
July 16, 2013
Kalyn Oyer, Charleston City Paper
There couldn’t have been a hotter July morning to talk about global warming. Charleston’s temperatures hit right around 90 degrees, but that didn’t stop the national “I Will Act On Climate” tour bus from stopping at the Battery to spread awareness about this global issue.
The S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the national campaign Tuesday morning to present information and speakers on the issue of rising sea levels. This event also acted as the debut of SCBARS, a.k.a. SC Businesses Acting on Rising Seas, a local movement designed to inform local businesses, residents, and tourists of the impact that global warming will have on the Lowcountry.
Lead speaker Scott Wolfrey first stepped up to the podium, surrounded by charts estimating the increase in water levels for the Charleston peninsula and Folly Beach by 2100. The prediction: 6 feet. That means that Folly Beach would lose around 95% of its landmass, and the edge of the Battery where everyone was standing would be underwater.
Wolfrey said the organization had approached more 100 local businesses with the information, and more than 50 percent gave positive feedback and were receptive to the group’s mission.
College of Charleston professor Dr. Mitchell Cogan then stepped forward to present the science behind the rising tides. There are three main reasons for sea level rise: the subsiding of land, thermal expansion (warming oceanic temperatures), and addition of water to the basin. The third can cause the greatest impact, and is applicable to the earth’s current situation, with an influx of water coming from melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica.
Since Charleston is a coastal town, we would be one of the first to feel a significant impact from the rise in water levels. To show just how high the water would rise, local organizations that have been approached on the subject can use blue tape to create a “watermark.” This way, customers can observe the damage a 6-foot increase in sea level would do to Charleston businesses.
Businesses can also display a window decal supporting the climate cause. Two local organizations that have participated so far are East Bay Deli and The Sale Loft on Market St.