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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Orieta

Slow the Rise: Student Campaign

ten people stand in a cirlce on a grassy area in front of a house on stilts, having a discussion. In the background there is a lake.
Gulf of Maine Field Studies Class Students. Photo credits: Slowtheriseme on Instagram

Around mid-February, we noticed a new player join the climate conversation on Instagram. Slow The Rise, a student-led campaign started by the Gulf of Maine Field Studies Class in Kennebunk High School, made a stark entrance with a shocking picture of a flooded bridge in Kennebunk, overlayed with an enthusiastic welcome to their audience. That first post laid the groundwork for what was to come: they intended the campaign as a space to share stories about local initiatives, changes, and science that affects the landscape around them. In the months that followed, they've condensed climate data, combined with the use of pictures, to tell a compelling story of risk and opportunity for their community.

As part of the campaign, a subgroup of students decided to create a podcast to "not only voice [their] opinions but also discuss the topic with other community members." The podcast, like the Instagram campaign, is meant to start a wider discussion with community members about the very real effects of Climate Change on the Kennebunks. The students submitted their first episode to the NPR youth podcast challenge, hoping to spread their message beyond their immediate community. In the episode, students not only shared their concerns about rising sea levels, but also interviewed Marine Geologist Peter Slovinsky, who works for the Maine Geological Survey. Slovinsky

is an expert in assessing the vulnerability of built and natural environments to various coastal hazards, including coastal erosion, storm surge, and sea-level rise.

You can listen to the podcast here, and learn more about the students behind it on Instagram here.

Students from the course also presented their findings and shared their sense of urgency with the U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree ( 1st District in Maine) and the Citizens Climate Lobby. Their presentation will be shared with their School Board, Kennebunk, and the Kennebunkport Rotaries, respectively. You can watch the recording below.

All in all, these students are doing an amazing job of identifying an issue that affects them, and finding ways to advocate for change in their community. Way to go Gulf of Maine Field Studies class!

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