Presentation of the SPP SeaLevel at the Nautical Association of Hamburg

On invitation by the chairman Captain Suhr and on behalf of the SPP SeaLevel B. Ratter presented the SPP SeaLevel program at the Nautical Association of Hamburg on 16 November 2021.

Since its foundation in 1868, the Nautical Association of Hamburg has pursued the goal of representing the national interests of the German maritime industry in a world-oriented context and to provide impulses for the maritime economy ( Under the title "Crisis on the coasts - sea level rise as a social challenge at the transition between land and sea", around 40 members and guests of this traditional association attended the event.

Already during the presentation of the research foci of the SPP SeaLevel, recent results of the IPCC, determination and composition of the global and impact factors of regional sea levels as well as especially the societal challenges that climate change poses to coastal and island societies, there were exciting discussions with the audience. The example of the project "DICES - Dealing with change: societal action and political reaction in sea level change adaptation in Small Island Developing States" was used to illustrate that future climate change impacts will present coastal societies with new challenges. Using the examples of the Maldives and East Frisia, it was shown that natural dynamics are essential for coastal protection as well as coastal conservation and that compound events in particular will increase in the future. The embedding of the Maldivians ("people of the sea") and the East Frisians ("God created the sea, the Frisians the coast") in their socio-cultural traditions and resilience in the coastal space stimulated numerous comments, queries and additions by the audience. What is true for the Maldives could also be applied to the Frisians. People are not rational, they are embedded in socio-cultural traditions and routines and have to deal with powerful political interests. For any form of socially supported climate adaptation, trust in the government is an important basis, but at the same time, exclusively ascribing responsibility to state institutions can become a handicap.

The question of whether societies will be able to deal with the new challenges in the future was hotly debated. The bottom line: it is worth taking a closer look - at the specific, local case and the specific socio-cultural and political situation. Coasts are not (only) in crisis due to rising sea levels. The responsibility for climate adaptation action does not lie with governments alone. Climate change adaptation is a task for society as a whole.

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