Transatlantic Solutions to Sea Level Rise Adaptation:
Moving Beyond the Threat

October 30-31, 2013; Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Panel 2: Political, Psychological/Health and Ethical Challenges to Adaptation: Risk Communication, Education and Community Engagement

ODU Coordinators: Glen Sussman (moderator, Political Science), Burton St. John (Communications/Theater Arts), Jesse Richman (Political Science), Robyn Bluhm (Philosophy/Religious Studies), Wie Yusuf (Business/Public Administration), Joyce Hoffman (English), Jenifer Alonzo (Communications/Theater Arts)
EU Invitee(s): Eelco van Beek, Integrated Water Resource Management, Deltares, The Netherlands
Karen Lewis, George Ewart Center for Storytelling, University of South Wales.

A warming of the planet and changing climate patterns have become major global environmental problems in the twenty-first century. One issue resulting from a changing climate is sea level rise. Rising seas pose a threat to business, industrial, educational, and residential coastal communities as well as military installations in the United States and the EU. Addressing the challenge of sea-level rise will depend on effectively communicating risks, understanding and meeting people’s information needs, and building a broad partnership of scientists, local decision makers, other stakeholders, and the public.

Two major problems associated with the consequences of a warming planet are political and psychological challenges to adapting to rising seas.  Psychologically, knowledge and risk perception among citizens appear to be important factors regarding the public response to sea level rise. Psychology, ideology, partisanship and economics tend to mediate responses to scientific evidence when policy decisions are being made.