OMG it’s time for King Tides!

King Tide in Victoria - by Luton on Flickr

King Tide in Victoria – by Luton on Flickr

My exclamation on this  is one part excitement, two parts terror.

The King Tides Photo Initiative came to BC four years ago when my colleague Tina Neale (@elaen_anit) spotted the Australian effort to engage the public and catalogue images of extreme high tides on their coastline. Down under, the Green Cross mobilizes the initiative as part of their effort to “Help people adapt to our changing climate.”

We thought, “what a great way to raise awareness of the threat to our coastal infrastructure and ecosystems from seal level rise due to climate change!” And so the LiveSmart BC King Tides Photo Initiative was born (…or cloned). Thanks to the magic of social media, anyone in BC with internet connection can participate in the photo initiative on Flickr, which you can learn all about here.

After we got the go ahead, the next logical step was to bring along some friends. So we called up our partners in climate action across the border in Washington State, and then they called their friends in Oregon, and California… and before we knew it, we had a North American-wide King Tides movement including New Jersey and Florida! We now have an international working group that includes friends at NOAA and Green Cross Australia, and we share best practices and new ideas for improving our collective efforts.

So, I’m excited about the opportunity to work with these passionate, caring individuals from around the planet. These are people who wish to help their fellow citizens plan for a safe future where sea levels are much higher, storm surges are stronger… and people had the forethought to adapt.

At the same time, we’re not working on marketing the next trend in cell phone covers or even bicycle seat warmers: we’re talking property, ecosystems and lives here. And as much as we focus on setting our home turfs up for minimal impact, we will still witness some major losers. Especially in the early days.

And we’re in the early days.

As the predictions for Hurricane Sandy’s trajectory grow increasingly worrisome as she heads towards a collision with a North Easter and a strong cold front from the West DURING KING TIDES… I can’t help but think “geez, a perfect opportunity for people to witness and photograph the impacts of king tides… if they weren’t seriously getting ready to batten down the hatches!”

Now we’re still half a week away, and the computer models could be wrong, but if Sandy really is a “perfect,” “there’s no comparison on record,” “Franken-storm“, I’m more terrified for friends on the East Coast than excited. Especially as this is the kind of extreme weather we can expect to experience given a warmer, more energetic global atmosphere.

The point of this initiative is to raise awareness of these kinds of future impacts BEFORE they happen… enabling us to prepare.

I hope we have a good turn out in BC. (Pssst: tell your friends!)



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