Chalk line

In 2007, artist Eve Mosher drew a 70-mile chalk line on the ground in New York City. Snaking past nursing homes, schools, playgrounds, and housing projects near the waterfront, it outlined the areas scientists said were threatened by coastal flooding and storm surge.

The line itself was temporary, but was intended to inspire long-term conversations about climate change, and help people see that it’s not just a distant threat.

Mosher: “It’s also about the neighborhoods where we live, where we work, and where we play.”

Five years later Superstorm Sandy flooded many of the very same areas where Mosher had drawn her line.

Over the past decade, Mosher’s project has expanded to Miami, Philadelphia, and other cities. But now, instead of being a single artist’s work, it’s a community undertaking. Mapping and drawing the line is just one part.

Mosher: “The communities themselves meet with their scientists, they learn about vulnerabilities, they learn about a variety of solutions.”

Mosher says the project gets people talking about how climate change will affect their neighborhoods, and what they can do about it.

Mosher: “These things continue after the drawing of the line.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image credit: Eve Mosher “HighWaterLine” video screen capture.

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...