Climate Change,

Climate Change Threatens Gullah Geechee Community And Culture

Environmental activists are working with government agencies to help combat the negative impact of climate change on the coastal land.

The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of enslaved people living in southeastern coastal islands which span from southern North Carolina to north Florida. Isolation from the mainland allowed the Gullah Geechee people to preserve many West African traditions, including language, food, art, and spiritual practices.

Marquetta “Queen Quet” Goodwine is a historian, environmental justice advocate, and Chieftess of The Gullah Geechee Nation.  In 2019, Queen Quet testified before Congress about how climate change jeopardizes the preservation of Gullah Geechee traditions, which include the lucrative fishing, crabbing, and farming industries. She asked members of Congress to supply funding to build infrastructures to protect the shorelines from erosion. 

“Every part of what we’re doing is to ensure our survival as native Gullah Geechees and the survival of our traditions,” Queen Quet told NBC News.

Tia Clark is the owner of Casual Crabbing with Tia in Charleston, South Carolina. She said that warmer temperatures have resulted in habitat loss for crabs. According to The South Carolina Department Of Natural Resources, the state reported a record-low number of blue crabs in 2023. 

“It’s scary for me to think about our resources not being here because of climate change,” Clark toldNBC News.

In 2023, the Biden administration allocated $15.5 million in funding to help preserve more than 41 million acres of lands and waters located in the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor. 

The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to uplift projects that support diverse and underrepresented populations impacted most by climate change,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a press conference

The NOAA will allocate $536,000 to hire new staff to help build relationships between restoration organizations and the Gullah Geechee society. These federal programs will help combat climate change which will help protect and preserve the rich history and culture of the Gullah Geechee community.

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