The documentary Connected is a story of a global challenge facing the human race. Sea level change is a story that has received little attention in the broader climate change discourse. But this is indeed the story of the century. After 5,000 years of stability, we have entered a new era of rising seas. Our shorelines are moving inland, slowly, inevitably, building into an unstoppable and disruptive force. We have passed a tipping point and are now in a new era of change.
Coastal zones have always attracted the human race because of its rich resources and for obvious logistical reasons. About 40% of the world's population lives within 100 km (about 63 miles) of the sea. Already, sea level rise coupled with extreme tides and severe storms are causing enormous loss of land and coastal infrastructure. As seawater reaches farther inland, it can cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination, and lost habitat for fish, birds, and plants. With each passing year, the rate of rising accelerates, as does the potential for economic devastation. Miami, New Orleans, Venice, Hamburg, Amsterdam are just some of our great cities facing an unprecedented challenge due to sea level rise. Furthermore, rapidly rising sea levels are threatening the safety and future of at least 52 countries around the world, with a total population of around 62 million. The Maldives, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau are just some of the island nations that could soon disappear due to global climate change.
Connected is a proposed feature-length documentary that explores the seismic and historic impact of sea level rise upon the sustainability of coastal communities. The title stipulates that this is an issue concerning us all. The rich and poor, developed and undeveloped. A total of a billion people worldwide now live within 20 metres of sea level on land measuring about 8 million square kilometres. This is roughly equivalent to the area of Brazil.
The focus of our documentary is the societal and financial impacts of sea level rise. We will see how coastal cities deal with sea level rise and what are their future plans. We will delve into the new and exciting field of new technologies and emerging industries in the field of water management and sea level rise. We will explore the question of real estate markets and how it is influenced by the rising waters. We will learn about the new and frightening concept of climate refugees, which is becoming a reality to a growing number of people throughout the world.
We will talk to environmentalists, decision-makers, economists, city planners, real estate professionals, insurance agents etc. One of them is John Englander *, oceanographer, author, consultant and a leading expert on sea level rise.
We have passed the tipping point. Yet the damage could be lessened significantly if we have the vision and guidance to plan for this profound change. By acting today, we can leave a solid foundation for future generations, while creating tremendous opportunities for economic growth.
Participant: Slaviša Majstorović - Slovenia