A local environmental group will mount 10 8 feet 4 inch wide poles along the boardwalk in Ventura from the pier to Surfer’s Point on June 29.
The poles, which will serve as an art demonstration titled the Sea Level Awareness Project, will show where the sea level will be according to scientific data if nothing is done to stop global warming and the Greenland icecap melts.
The group, Kids vs. Global Warming, is comprised of a mom-and-son team, along with 35 grammar and middle school students from Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education and the school Open Classroom.
“It’s my generation that is going to be affected by this, and we need to help stop it,” said Alec, 14, co-founder of Kid vs. Global Warming and an eighth-grader at Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education. “It is going to be our world, and we need to join the movement to help with solutions.”
Alec, who was 12 years old at the time, was inspired by the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, and decided there just wasn’t enough being done to stop global warming.
Alec wanted the public to see exactly what would happen if pollution continued to go out into the environment at the rate it is now.
The result: an 8 foot 4 inch pole representing the predicted sea level if the Greenland icecap melts, with information about what the rising sea level would do to Ventura, including the destruction of state beaches and Ventura’s wastewater treatment facility, inscribed into it.
The pole also has suggestions about how to reduce pollution, which includes riding bikes, recycling and planting trees.
“We are kinda dealing with what kind of changes we need to make and stuff,” Alec said.
Despite a similar global warming project in Santa Barbara being shot down by the residents last year, the Sea Level Awareness Project has been met with no opposition.
“The city has been extremely enthusiastic,” said Victoria Loorz, who co-founded the project last year with Alec, her son, who was then 12 years old. “We have raised the money ourselves, we gave the city the material and they agreed to install the poles.”
Not only did the group raise more than $3,000, they also received numerous donations from local citizens, including materials and their time to mentor the students and get the project off the ground.
But the Sea Level Awareness Project will be done on a much smaller scale, at least for now, than the proposed project in Santa Barbara.
The environmental activist group, Light Blue Line, planned to paint a 6-inch-wide blue line that would extend 68 blocks through the city of Santa Barbara, showing where the shoreline would be in 500 years if nothing was done to stop global warming.
Although the Santa Barbara City Council approved the project, the project came under much scrutiny by the community and the press.
The opposition said the line would separate communities and depreciate land values of those landowners whose property would be underwater.
Bruce Caron, a volunteer painter for Light Blue Line and advocate for Kids vs. Global Warming, said he was also misquoted with no retraction in the Santa Barbara Independent.
“They quoted me saying their property would be underwater in 10 years and they refused to retract it,” he said.
He said that was a ridiculous notion and knew global warming could never work that fast.
But the hoopla surrounding the proposed project created an awareness that even Caron didn’t count on. Even though the project has been derailed indefinitely, he said the residents of Santa Barbara are much more aware of the damage pollution can cause than any blue line could have ever created.
Caron said he hopes to undertake other projects in the future but likes the fact the Sea Level Awareness Project is moving forward.
Alec said he plans on mounting more than 120 poles around the city to shed light on the eminent danger of global warming to Ventura’s coastal communities, but he will need to help of locals to facilitate his vision.
He said he would need to mount the poles on people’s property to complete the project.
Both Loorz’ said they have no set date to do any more poles but will continue to check on their options.
For more information, go to www.kids-vs-global-warming.com.