VCPC Students Learn the Three Factors of Sea Level Rise

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VCPC Students Learn the Three Factors of Sea Level Rise

Data indicates that average sea level at Sewells Point in southeastern Virginia has increased since 1930. ©Sydney MaHan/VASG

Data indicates that average sea level at Sewells Point in southeastern Virginia has increased since 1930. ©Sydney MaHan/VASG

By Sydney MaHan, Student Correspondent

From editorial cartoons to policy initiatives, climate change and sea level rise are a political conundrum for many says Carl Hershner, Director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management. Hershner visited the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) as a guest speaker on September 3.

Carl Hershner. ©Sydney  MaHan/VASG

Carl Hershner. ©Sydney MaHan/VASG

Sharing with students the science, politics, and legal ramifications of climate change, Hershner emphasized the short and long-term effects sea level rise is having on coastal Virginia.

“What you’re supposed to remember, your cheat sheet when you’re talking with your friends and relatives, are three basic processes: more water, sinking land, and moving water in the oceans,” Hershner told the VCPC class.

“It was interesting to learn the three main factors of sea level rise because I hadn’t heard that before,” says Jessica Lung, a second year law student in the VCPC. “After hearing Dr. Hershner’s presentation, I can better explain to people why the sea level is rising in Virginia”

Having majored in environmental science and environmental technology & management as an undergraduate, second year law student Alexa Pecht noted that a lot of the information presented echoed what she had learned previously. But the focus on Virginia specifically intrigued her.

“It was interesting to see the depictions of how this is going to impact the Norfolk and Hampton Roads area,” says Pecht. “It’s no surprise that there are still people denying that this is going to happen, and I think that’s definitely going to take a toll on how the area responds.”

An extension partner of Virginia Sea Grant, VCPC at William & Mary Law School provides policy and legal analysis to its partners on coastal resource and community issues in its mission to educate and train the future lawyers and leaders of tomorrow.