Why BRACE

While there is a great deal of literature and press on climate change and sea-level rise, the response is limited to talk of resilience and mitigation.  That is, building sea-walls, houses on stilts and other short-term solutions. These are important but they are not enough. Many low-lying islands are going under water and whole communities will have to move in the next five years.  There have been many individual climate refugees over the past few years, individuals and families that have relocated as their islands shrink and their relatives in the US provide them with support here on arrival.  The people who live on these islands all depend on the sea for their livelihood.  Fish, seals, whales, shrimp and other marine industries are their lives.  Most of these people also lack experience with the more complicated world of proposal writing, grant management, and city planning.  In response to this need, individuals from some of the islands approached Heartlands International and asked that we form a non-profit that would act on their behalf to raise funds and report to donors so they can focus on their livelihood and the community discussions that are involved in relocation.  Some communities such Isle de Jean Charles (Choctaw) and the Quinault have already designed their dream communities but do not have the resources to leverage funds for relocation.  If they want to start a new town, infrastructure such as roads, sewers, and housing will cost several hundred million dollars.  If they move far enough from the coast to be relatively safe for a few years, they will have to learn new skills such as greenhouse agriculture, fish farming and other new types of income generation.  BRACE is the only organization that is responding to this need.  Relocation is a multi-sectoral issue as it involves housing, government restructuring, economic development, city management and much more.  BRACE has the full resources of a major university to assist with technical issues as we move ahead. 

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