UNEP Releases Video on Sea Level Rise and How Nature Can Help Protect Coastal Communities

Video Part of Two Minutes on Oceans with Jim Toomey Series

United Nations Environment Programme
January 28, 2014

Washington, D.C. ­––The United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA), UNEP’s Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) and nationally-syndicated cartoonist Jim Toomey announced today the release of  a new video on how communities can adapt to sea level rise. This production is part of a series of six innovative ocean awareness videos entitled Two Minutes on Oceans with Jim Toomey.

The video will be launched at a panel discussion at the National Council for Science and Environment (NCSE) National Conference on Building Climate Solutions. The discussion, sponsored by UNEP and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), will deal with what makes a climate-smart city and how we can build them.

The video demonstrates how coastal communities can adapt to sea level rise by restoring nature’s resilience. New research shows that sea level could rise between 0.5 to 2 meters towards the end of this century - threatening low-lying regions with floods and storm surges. The health of many ecosystems, which traditionally were able to cope with shifts in sea levels have been weakened, leaving them less able to protect coastal communities from these impacts. The video also offers ways to restore natural flood barriers, like coral reefs and mangroves, to protect vulnerable regions from sea level rise.

Keith Alverson, Coordinator of UNEP’s Climate Change and Adaption Programme in DEPI, shares the video’s hopeful message when he says that "Unlike the intractable problems that keep stalling progress on reducing greenhouse gasses, getting started on adaptation does not require any intergovernmental agreements at UN summits, nor does it depend on enormous global sums of money. By preserving and restoring coastal ecosystems, and harnessing their innate resilience to sea level change, any coastal community can dramatically decrease their vulnerability to climate change today."

 "What I like about this video is the fact that it offers concrete and economical approaches to mitigating the effects of sea level rise that just about any community anywhere in the world can adopt with success,” said Toomey. “It's a video that packs a lot of practical advice to a very urgent problem."

Using animation and humor, the six videos in the Toomey series, provide in clear and simple language, information about cutting-edge science and policy issues regarding our oceans, their importance to human well-being and the challenges facing our oceans. They address a wide range of ocean topics including: blue carbon, the true value of our oceans, the impacts of climate change, as well as threats such as marine litter. 

Each video ends with a call to action for individuals, decision-makers and organizations across North America – inviting them to do their part. The videos are released using web based marketing tools and are free for all those who want to show or air them.

You can watch this video, as well as the previous ones at:, or find us on Facebook at:

To help UNEP promote this ocean-awareness initiative, please share it with your networks or post it to your webpage. For more information about the series please contact:




UNEP’s Regional Office for North America (RONA)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading authority on the environment within the United Nations system.  RONA’s mission is to build support in the region for UNEP’s work, to promote effective responses to international environmental challenges and to foster cooperation on environmental issues between North America and the broader international community.  To achieve this mission, RONA’s strategy is to promote collaboration between UNEP and all sectors of North American society, including U.S. and Canadian governmental institutions, the private sector, non-governmental organizations and other civil society groups.