Climate change explorations by Shoreham traveller

Ed the Bear taking his turn on the tiller of the Moondancer
Ed the Bear taking his turn on the tiller of the Moondancer

SHOREHAM children will be learning first-hand about climate change from the town’s own travelling trouper.

Ed the Bear, part of the Shoreham Beach Nature Reserve education programme, is currently braving the Atlantic Ocean on the schooner Moondancer.

The creation of educator Stephen Savage, Ed will return to Shoreham in the new year to share the new things they have learned on their travels at local schools and events.

Stephen said: “A major focus of the adventures of Ed the Bear has been to look at how global issues such as climate change might impact Shoreham Beach.

“This latest trip is very timely, following the ground-breaking COP21 Climate Summit and the global agreement to tackle climate change.”

Ed has previously visited the Pacific Gyre, known to many as Trash Island, to investigate plastic pollution.

Joining Ed on this latest project is Moving Sounds, a group of musicians, storytellers, filmmakers, educators and environmentalists.

They are visiting the Atlantic Gyre, a large ocean system of rotating current that traps man-made debris, especially plastics.

They plan to work on various projects along the way, running workshops and training, playing concerts and conducting environmental research.

The aim is to help explain how temperature plays a key part in the natural cycles of the planet and how even a one degree rise can have a huge knock-on effect.

Stephen explained: “A rise of one degree does not sound much but it can lead to an increase in moisture in the air and can trigger more tropical storms, which can impact our local weather and increase coastal erosion.

“Sea temperature rise is bad news for marine life as well. A one degree rise will further impact coral reefs like the one Ed helped restore last year with Youth Dive with Purpose and closer to home, cold water fish such as cod are moving further north and are being replaced by red mullet, john dory and hake.

“One degree is a massive rise globally with the impacts are relevant to Shoreham, from coastal erosion and flooding to the effect on marine life.”

Ed’s adventures started in 2009 to explore the ocean and discover what impact climate change and other issues might have on Shoreham Beach. Many scientists have since worked with Ed to help educate others.

On his current adventure, Ed has discovered much more about the ocean and how it affects weather and climate.

Stephen explained: “Warm air rises off the ocean and wind is created by the cooler air as it rushes in to replace it – the same wind that fills the sails and powers the Moondancer.

“While sailing towards Finnistere on the Spanish coast, the Moondancer was enshrouded in a thick sea mist. A sea mist forms when mild air travels over the colder seawater, causing the moisture in the air to condense into water droplets.”

Ed the Bear also works with eco schools programmes

Stephen said: “Schools are achieving some fantastic work on making their schools more sustainable and we have been visiting schools to help explain the part that oceans play in creating our climate and weather as well as the potential for it to provide renewable energy from wind and wave power.”

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