About the Author

In a first for ICWA, Jessica and her partner Josh Moman will conduct a seafaring Fellowship, exploring adaption to climate change in coastal communities in México, Central America and the Caribbean. Sailing the Pacific coast through the Panama canal and into the Caribbean on her 39-foot sailboat Oleada, Jessica will focus on how communities experience climate change impacts. Hazards such as erosion, storm surge, and the spread of disease can be consequences of sea level rise and sea temperature change, and Jessica will examine how these changes tear or build the social fabric. With her background as a research scientist, she has worked as a field biologist at the largest thermal solar plant in the world, mapped renewable energy development for 23 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa with the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, supported satellite-based forest mapping in the Andes-Amazon Region with the Carnegie Institution for Science, and authored multiple reports and user guides to translate science into digestible instruction. With a desire to better connect the science of climate change with stories on-the-ground, she plans to use her mapping experience to build vulnerability maps of the coast while gathering accounts of change and adaptation. Jessica was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to document climate impacts in México; she holds an Ecology degree from Brown University and an interdisciplinary MS from the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at UC Berkeley, where she also studied video journalism. By harnessing wind and sun to travel, Jessica hopes to access remote locations, share the ocean-bound experience of local communities, and listen to and document the stories of climate adaptation with words, images, and video.

A Coast with No Water

All I can see are breaking waves. I stand up on the lazarette and lean onto the dodger to steady the binoculars. There is supposed to be a channel clearly marked with lighted buoys, our first entrance to Nicaragua. We left Honduras early and had a favorable current pushing us south from the Gulf of Fonseca, but we had planned to arrive at dark and use

Honduras and the Hurricane

Under full sail, we enter the only bay in the world shared by three countries. It’s first light, and a stiff breeze disperses the overnight storms. A thunderstorm guarded the mouth of the bay last night, flashing and stomping but breaking up with the sunrise wind. When I take the helm and Josh goes below for some well-deserved sleep, the air cuts

Jessica Reilly: Live from the Panama Canal

Sailing Fellow Jessica Reilly and her husband Josh Moman will be passing through the Panama Canal this morning on their sailboat, the Oleada.  Follow her live through the canal cameras! Miraflores High Resolution Camera: https://www.pancanal.com/common/multimedia/webcams/viewer-flash/cam-miraflores-hi.html Gatun Locks Camera: https://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html?cam=Gatun

The Brewing Storm: Coffee Steeped in Climate Change

I walk into the cabin and have to suppress a gasp. My friend Jon sits on the bed, his entire body covered in lumpy, bright red hives. “My lips feel weird. They’re all swollen.” “I gave him the allergy pill already,” Shannon, his partner, is unnecessarily tidying, something I have noticed she does when she is trying to demonstrate that she

Wings to Nowhere — Birds, Land Use, and Climate

Luis whips his head around so quickly that a droplet of water flies out of his nose. He’s mid-sentence, walking through the heavy sand and talking about community-based management for his town, when he stops abruptly. His eyes grow wide behind his square-ish glasses, and the skin on his thin face pushes back into an enormous smile. “Great Kiskadee.”

What Can a National Park Do?

“Mexico has many good laws.” Professor Martín Soto leans back from behind a clump of papers on his desk and sighs. “It’s the enforcement that lacks.” I’m sitting in Martin’s office on the second story of the Marine Science and Limnology Institute in Mazatlán, Mexico. The building hangs on the edge of a cliff above the turquoise water,

Update from Puerto Chiapas

We just crossed the dreaded Gulf of Tehuantepec: the southernmost gulf in Pacific Mexico, where winds funnel out of the Caribbean, howling down across land to gobble up sailboats in the Pacific with 20-30′ waves. We grabbed our weather window and raced Prism on a double overnight to Puerto Chiapas. A great adventure and test piece accomplished

Update from Zihuatanejo

We are about to depart from Zihuatanejo. We have spent the past two days exploring and reprovisioning here. The town is unlike any we have seen yet, it somehow has the humm of a busy city and the quaintness and relaxed vibe of a coastal town. The bay itself is beautiful; steep, jungle-clad hills (mostly brown from the dry season) tumble down to white

Finding Altata: the Slow Change for the Fishers

“Whatever you do, don’t go to Altata.” These were the last words we heard as we cast off our dock lines in Guaymas. We were about to sail 300 miles with limited charts but plentiful warnings—with the goal of getting to this near-mythical town protected by a bar that might as well have been filled with dragons. Before we could reach Altata’s