The Writing on the Sea-Wall: High Water Line

As science communicators, we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to translate the ramblings of the ivory tower into a relatable and accessible public dialogue. In my experience, our strongest ally in this endeavor lies in the artists, musicians, and storytellers within our communities. “The Writing on the Sea-Wall” series seeks to highlight the skilled, artisans and projects that help us in our ongoing mission to connect people to science through tangible and impacting messages.


As a result of anthropogenic climate change, sea level has risen approximate 7 inches in the past 100 years. With the combination of melting land ice and expansion of warmer seas, scientists conservatively predict a 1-4 foot rise by the year 2100. Effectively, sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the economy and environment of coastal regions.


To reinforce the urgency of this situation, New York based artist Eve Mosher, started to walk the line. Literally. Using a baseball field chalk marker, Mosher laid a 70 mile white line of chalk in 2007 across Manhattan and Brooklyn. The HighWaterLine as it was called, demarcated the areas that would be severely impacted by increased mega floods if climate change continued. The power of this public installment truly hit home ironically in 2012 when the flooding brought on by Hurricane Sandy surpassed the proverbial “chalk line.”

“Walking the line with the participants and hearing of their stories after the event provides concrete evidence of the power of transformation of HighWaterLine…I hope that in every instance, HighWaterLine is just the beginning of these communities working together to build resilience and transform their cities.” says Mosher.

Since the first exhibition of the HighWaterLine, the project has debuted in five different cities from Bristol to Miami, the most climate vulnerable U.S. city. Along with the art piece, the project is also accompanied by interactive workshops to get the community more involved in the climate conversation and provide tools to create a culture of change. Currently, the group is working on a Action Guide to mentor others in bringing the HighWaterLine project to groups around the world.

Alex Warneke (111 Posts)

Alex currently resides as a Science Communicator for the National Park Service, where she inspires thousands a year to love the watery world. Alex earned her Masters degree in chemical ecology from San Diego State University investigating the effects of heavy metal pollutants on the chemical communication between organisms. In her “free time,” Alex enjoys convincing the public that Ecology is indeed sexy. With that goal, she is a strong proponent of unconventional science communication and extending the broader impacts of science to the general public using the outlets of film and social media. When she is not busy busting a move or filming her next rap video, she can normally be found frolicking through the California kelp forest.