West Norfolk resident and climate activist Dr Charlie Gardner is setting off on Sunday (24 September) to walk 180 miles from Cambridge to Norwich… almost entirely on land that is threatened by rising sea levels.
The walk, which will last 15 days, to the 8 October, will take Dr Gardner from Cambridge through the Fens to King’s Lynn, round the coast to Great Yarmouth, and then through the Norfolk Broads to Norwich.
Sea levels are expected to rise significantly over the coming decades as a result of climate change, and could rise by one metre or more before the end of the century, inundating vast inland areas like the Fens and the Broads, and accelerating erosion on Europe’s fastest-retreating coastline around Happisburgh in Norfolk. This would leave tens of thousands of people at risk of losing their homes in the region.
However, while the threat to coastal communities from sea level rise is widely known, Dr Gardner is concerned that few people are aware that the flood risk stretches into the heart of low-lying inland cities such as Cambridge and Norwich.
He warns: “In other words, the landscapes of eastern England that we’re so familiar with could be completely transformed, within the lifetimes of people already born, unless serious and urgent action is taken on climate change.”
Dr Gardner hopes that his walk will help raise awareness of this critical threat amongst people living in vulnerable areas, and encourage communities along Britain’s threatened coastline areas to take action to help save their homes and other much loved places.
The walk’s website, walkinginwater.com, contains a number of resources to help concerned residents take action themselves, such as by talking about the threat with their friends and family, reducing their own carbon footprints, transforming their workplaces, and campaigning for urgent government action.
“Our homes and many of the places we love are threatened by climate change,” says Dr Gardner, “yet the government is ignoring the urgent warnings of the global scientific community.
“We know what needs to be done to keep us safe, we need to stop burning fossil fuels, yet the government is still allowing new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, opening new coal mines, and holding us back from moving on to a better, safer ways of doing things.”
“I feel like we’ve been abandoned by the people who are in charge of keeping us safe, but there is lots we can all do in our own lives to turn the situation around. That starts by recognising the threat and talking about it, so I hope my walk will help start a few conversations,” he adds.
The Ashwicken, West Norfolk resident, who is an associate senior lecturer at the University of Kent, will be joined on the walk by local residents and campaigners, as well as several councillors on Norfolk County Council.
Journalists are invited to walk any stretch of the walk, or to meet Dr Gardner and other walkers at pre-arranged points along the route.
For further information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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