The United States’ shellfish industry is an economic behemoth and the fastest-growing sector of agriculture in the country. It’s also an industry largely comprised of small, family-run businesses, many of whom have been making their living farming the sea for generations, and whose businesses form the backbone of their small-town coastal communities. Like most farmers, success for these shellfish growers rests heavily on the right growing conditions—and climate change has been disrupting those conditions. Anywhere there’s a shoreline, you can see the signs: sea level rise, ocean acidification, increased frequency and severity of storms. These are all impacts that are directly related to climate change and warming waters, and all impacts that put the viability of the broader shellfish industry—from grower to restauranteur—in jeopardy. To meet this challenge head-on, we need swift action and sound, scalable solutions.
And so, in what started as a partnership between seven U.S. shellfish growers and The Nature Conservancy, the Shellfish Growers Climate Coalition (SGCC) has now grown to include 150 shellfish farmers, hatchery operators, wholesalers, retailers, and restaurateurs across 20 U.S. states and Canada—all of whom are advocating for actionable climate policy that’ll help change course. How the Coalition has been doing this is simple: by sharing their personal stories—and during this year’s UN NY Climate Week, the SGCC invites supporters, as well as coastal residents and shellfish lovers everywhere, to speak up for climate action through personal stories and lived experiences.
With Heard on the Half Shell, an audio storytelling campaign, the SGCC aims to capitalize on the collective, climate-centric headspace during Climate Week to capture compelling, personal stories that fall near the intersection of climate, the shellfish industry, and the coastal experience. Throughout the duration of Climate Week, the Coalition will be sharing out members’ recorded stories and collecting as many more as we can in an effort to turn the tide on climate change. It's time to speak up for the environment and the waters we all rely on, inspiring action by letting policymakers know how climate impacts have touched you. Email us a recording via the voice recorder app on your iPhone or Android device or share your written story, sending all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.