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Title: Sea-Level Rise on the Eastern Shore of Maryland: Vulnerability, Adaptation, Environmental Justice
Authors: Wiggins, Wesley
Advisors: Oppenheimer, Michael
Department: Geosciences
Certificate Program: Environmental Studies Program
Class Year: 2021
Abstract: The global sea level is rising at an accelerating rate. To protect coastal communities both adaptation and mitigation measures have to be taken. However, adaptation efforts in the past have either not considered or outright ignored the injustices and inequalities facing the most vulnerable populations which leads to these groups experiencing disproportionate harm to sea-level rise hazards. This study surveys several counties on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, and analyzes the effects of relative sea-level rise and the frequency of extreme sea-level events on a specific community in one of those counties. The purpose of this project is to describe the impacts of rising sea levels on the Eastern Shore, explain the population’s preferences for adaptation measures, and understand the extent to which African American communities are disproportionately vulnerable to the risks of sea-level rise. We believe that African American communities on the Eastern Shore experience increased vulnerability to sea level hazards compared to white communities, and the majority of individuals prefer to defend the coast or accommodate to rising sea levels. We found that there is a greater than 35% probability that sea levels will rise by 1 meter or more in Cambridge, MD regardless of emissions reductions. Regardless of risk, the majority of individuals surveyed prefer to defend their homes and communities rather than retreat from the coast.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Geosciences, 1929-2022

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