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article imageUK journalist returns after 28,000 mile expedition Special

By Jane Fazackarley     Dec 8, 2010 in Environment
Lynn Morris, a former reporter from the Bournemouth Echo, has returned home after a 28,000 mile expedition across the Atlantic. The journey started on September 1 last year and came to an end this month.
Lynn left her job at the Press Association in London to go on the expedition and was joined by two university friends Will Lorimer and Tim Bromfield.
The team set up a charity called Atlantic Rising. During the expedition the team travelled along the edges of the Atlantic Ocean along the one metre contour line, this is the same level that scientists forecast that sea levels could rise to in 100 years time.
The Atlantic Rising team set out to find what would be lost if sea levels do rise by the one metre level that has been predicted.
Plans for the expedition started with an application to the Royal Geographical Society's 'Go Beyond' bursary last year which offered £10,000 and the use of a Land Rover Defender to use for the length of the project.
In an email interview Lynn told me about the idea behind the expedition:
"We decided to focus on climate change because we think it is one of the biggest problems facing the world today. At the time we were planning there were plenty of new papers on sea level rise indicating that this was likely to be worse than scientists first thought. We thought that it would be interesting to explore what stands to be lost around the edge of the Atlantic if sea levels do rise. And we wanted to discover if rising sea levels were already affecting people around the edge of the ocean. The three of us had been friends since university 10 years ago. We were working in different jobs - Will was a documentary film maker, Tim a management consultant and I am a journalist. We were all interested in this topic from slightly different angles but it made sense to come together on the project."
Atlantic Rising in the Sahara from L to R Will
Lorimer  Lynn Morris and Tim Bromfield
Atlantic Rising in the Sahara from L to R Will Lorimer, Lynn Morris and Tim Bromfield
Copyright:Lynn Morris
The Atlantic Rising team visited 21 countries in total including France, Spain, Africa, south and central America and the United States. Lynn tells me that there has been many experiences during the 15 month journey that she'll never forget and she shared some of them with me:
"To mention a few -In the UK we visited schools and spoke to teenagers about climate change, most of them thought it was a problem for their grandchildren rather than themselves. When we arrived in West Africa we were presented with a very different situation. Students there tell you about how climate change is affecting them today. It is not a problem for the future but one for now. It is frightening to realise how little capacity some of these countries have to deal with the problems of climate change and countries have to deal with the problems of climate change and sobering to realise that they are reliant on mitigation from the developed world."
"By far the best thing about the expedition has been the really amazing generous people we have met a long the way - these range from a caipirinia drinking, windsurfing ecologist in the Amazon to a dedicated teaching running the only free school in Freetown, Sierra Leone."
During the expedition the team have been stuck in mud in the Sahara Desert, shipwrecked in Guinea Bissau, encountered rattle snakes in the United States, traveled the Amazon and they even fell into rebel hands while in Cote d’Ivoire.
The expedition had its highs and lows, one of the lows was when Lynn contracted Dengue fever when they were in Venezuela. Lynn told me about some of the highlights:
"One of the high points was crossing the ocean by container ship - a surprisingly relaxing way to travel. A low point of this was the crossing the line ceremony at the equator. We were locked in a loo for three hours then made to confess our crimes before 'King Neptune' (an engine room cadet in an extraordinary outfit) and forced to drink some horrible concoction then have kitchen slops poured down the back of our boiler suits."
"Another highlight was travelling up the Amazon River in Brazil by boat. It was a three day journey in hammocks watching the river banks go by. But then we arrived in Santarem and were shocked to see the rate of deforestation. People from all over Brazil have moved to the area to grow soya since a new grain terminal opened in the port which exports soya directly to Europe to use as animal feed."
"Guyana was a very interesting country to visit especially as they are doing so much in terms of climate change. The government of Guyana is busy negotiating deals with developed countries to ensure that Guyana will benefit financially from conserving its rain forests. It is an interesting approach and we were fascinated to learn more about it."
L to R Tim Bromfield  30  from London and Will
Lorimer  29 from Scotland at the tropic of cancer in...
L to R Tim Bromfield, 30, from London and Will Lorimer, 29 from Scotland at the tropic of cancer in Morocco.
Copyright: Lynn Morris
As part of the expedition the team created a network between 5,000 students in schools that are in the low lying communities close to the edge of the Atlantic. Lynn told me more about this and some of their other achievements.
"We hope that by putting students in touch with their peers they can gain a greater understanding of different environments and a better appreciation of what is unique about their local environment. We also hope that by fostering relationships across the ocean young people are more likely to care how their actions affect the planet. We have already seen the eco-committees of schools in different countries working together to help make environmentally sound improvements to their schools. This is very encouraging. We have also been writing about various climate change issues for our website and for other news outlets so we are hoping to raise awareness of how sea level rise is already affecting people."
"Personally I have been left with a real sense of how small and interconnected the world is. And a belief that how we live our lives and spend our money can have a direct impact on the lives of people on the other side of the ocean."
More about the work of Atlantic Rising can be found on the website and details of their school project can be found here
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