Project Abby 2100 is an outgrowth of Professor Tom Mullikin’s Global Climate Change class the Unviersidad San Francisco de Quito, Galapagos Island Campus, in the Spring of 2015.
Starting in the spring of 2015, the project sought to shift the discussion on climate change from its focus on the extent of anthropogenic interference to nuanced multi-disciplinary understanding. Students spent time examining the best peer-reviewed science regarding what the island will look like in 2100. Then, to bolster this scientific analysis, students conducted ethnographic interviews with local elders to determine how the climate had changed throughout their lifetime. Students then framed the predicted effect of climate change on the local environment relative to “Baby Abby,” a theoretical child born in 2015.
By humanizing the impact of an ever-evolving climate through interviews and the projected life of Abby, the project continues to engage individuals and policymakers in search of a lasting solution.
In order to move the debate beyond the extent of anthropogenic interference, students in Professor Tom Mullikin's Global Climate Change class at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Galapagos Islands campus, examined the likely reality on the island in the year 2100 based upon the best peer-reviewed science. To bolster the analysis, interviews were conducted with local elders to determine how climate has changed throughout their lifetime. Furthermore, the reality of the island in 2100 was framed by plotting climate changes that would occur alongside life moments of a baby named Abby who was born during the course in Spring 2015. Through humanizing the changes of an ever evolving climate, the students were able to engage in appropriate and well considered policy solutions.
Professor Tom Mullikin
Having led environmental expeditions to every continent, Tom Mullikin brings a unique blend of first-hand experience, critical legal analysis, and community and stakeholder involvement to the leadership of Project Abby 2100. His extensive travel, including multiple trips to the Arctic and Antarctic, provide context to his work as a senior environmental attorney. Tom presently serves as a Research Professor at Coastal Carolina University where he has used his environmental expertise to synthesize solutions to real-world problems with his students.
In April 2015, Tom led a course on global climate change and environmental Policy at Universidad de San Fraciscos' satellite campus on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos. Tom soon realized the threat global climate change posed to this small island and decided to make a difference with his class of six students. Project Abby 2100 will humanize climate change for the inhabitants of San Cristobal over the life span of their elders and the projected life span of a newborn, Abby.
Bryan grew up in the Sonoran desert and had few interactions with marine life; despite these rare occurrences they still greatly influenced his career. Upon enrolling at the University of Arizona for his BSc, he pursed internships that exposed him to large marine fishes. He spent a summer at the Bimini Biological Field Station studying a variety of sharks. He returned to Bimini the following two years where he conducted research for his MSc thesis on the social behavior of lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) while enrolled at Coastal Carolina University. At CCU he has continued research on topics including the physiology of deep-sea sharks and the spatial ecology and feeding preferences of sharks in Winyah Bay.
In addition to his interests in marine ecology, Bryan is also fascinated by global climate change and how policy implementation can impact citizens around the world. As a TA for the class in the Galapagos, Bryan had a wonderful opportunity to assist with Project Abby 2100.
Kaitlyn is a senior undergraduate student at Ithaca College. In May of 2016 she will receive her Bachelors of Science degree in Communications Management and Design with a focus on Corporate Communication. Throughout her studies, she has also focused on environmental science and volunteers at the Paleontological Research Institute helping identify Devonian fossils. She continues her research in waste management for Tompkins County and concepts of sustainability within organizations. Upon graduation she will be working in science communications and expanding on environmental policy.
Bethany is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Rochester. She will receive her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science in May of 2016. Her research interests include various components of climate change and sustainability. Upon graduation she hopes to gain further experience in sustainability based research before continuing her education in graduate school.
Isabel Villarruel Oviedo
Isabel is currently studying in the Galápagos Islands. She received a bachelor degree at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Biology while investigating the snails of San Cristobal Island. Her team we found two species of invasive snails.
Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Ecology and would like to continue her research on snails in the Galapagos Islands, specifically in San Cristobal. For her team's final project, she will determine if there is any type of competition between introduced and native species. She is also very interested in learning how to mitigate the impacts that humans cause to nature and understanding the dynamics that nature goes through.
San Cristobal (Galapagos Islands) is susceptible to the extreme consequences of global climate change. Possible impacts include sea level rise and land loss, coral bleaching, loss of biodiversity and also a hit to the tourist based economy of the islands. In order to move the debate beyond the extent of anthropogenic interference, we examined the likely reality on the island in the year 2100 based upon the best peer-reviewed science.
For closer a examination on this issue, our class reached out to locals to gain first hand knowledge of previous environmental and economic changes so that we may compare what we learned in class about future projections of climate change in the Galapagos Archipelago and the small community of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal. According to our interviews and class lectures, some loss of biodiversity has already occurred within the already stressed ecosystems due to overfishing, tourism and invasive species. Without a progressive change, future losses may be accelerated by the increasing impact of climate change. Further stresses on the complex and invaluable ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands could be devastating and irreversible.
Given the small populations located in the Galapagos Islands, our study will offer only modest reductions of global greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, it is crucial that we take a closer look at the vulnerability and resilience of the Galapagos ecosystems and also the ability to adapt within the local communities. Addressing the needs of the Galapagos Islands through a comprehensive study on both the health of the local communities and the health of the ecosystems will promote greater awareness of global climate change issues on all fronts.
INTERVIEWS WITH ELDERS
Abby was born on April 28th, 2015, during the class led by Tom Mullikin on Global Climate Change at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Galapagos Islands campus. Project Abby was then created to examine the likely reality on the island throughout the lifetime of Abby. Project Abby 2100 therefore documents climate projections throughout the young child's lifetime. These projections were made using the best available climate models and are summarized in a 20-page technical summary where Tom Mullikin's students detail the threats to San Cristobal and the associated mitigatory techniques and how these impacts will alter the life of Abby throughout her lifetime.
Email - ProjectAbby2100@gmail.com