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.

Update from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

We are nestled into the tropical marina here in La Cruz, a slice of civilization like we haven’t seen in quite a while. We are tucked into beautiful Banderas Bay, which is surrounded by tall, jungle clad mountains–a real treat after seeing only coastal plane for the past few months. There is a big sailing community here, and many sailors

Under the Surface of Sea Level Rise: the Fisherman’s Secret Plight

‘Its beauty has been compared with the Greek isles,’ the guidebook waxed—followed by the incongruous statement that Topolobampo is primarily a cargo port. “Sounds good to me,” Jon said with a grin as we sat around the table on Oleada, discussing our trip through 400-plus nautical miles of coastline mostly unexplored by sailors. Beginning from

The Echoes of Hurricanes

Last week, 195 nations meet in Paris to decide the fate of the systems that support life on earth. Again. Since 1995, a majority of the world’s countries has met every year but failed to reach a lasting agreement to figure out what to do about the warming planet. This annual event, which weighs heavier every year as the globe skids toward irreversible

The Sinister Effects of Warmer Water

“At night, it looked like another city,” Isabel tells me as she gestures out her office window toward the sea. “There were hundreds of lights. But now, what do you see?” she asks me. “Nada,” I reply. Isabel Soto Gonzalez runs the daily operations at the marina in Santa Rosalía. She tells me that the harbor (where we are docked to diagnose

It’s a Small Sea After All: La Paz to Puerto Escondido

No paved roads, no power lines, no fresh water. As we set the main sail and aim north, we travel into one of the most remote areas in North America. From above, this coast looks void of human influence. A typical US coastal square kilometer contains 200 people. On average, only two souls inhabit each kilometer along the coast we will sail. Over the

Hurricane Linda

We are still in Puerto Escondido, or more accurately Nopolo. We have been taken in by a couple I met when I drove from La Paz to San Diego to meet Josh and sail the coast. She and her husband retired here and they have been a literal port in the storm for us. Hurricane Linda blew by the past two days. Even though it was hundreds of miles away and off

Crime And Climate Change

Until the summer of 2014, La Paz had lived up to its name, which means ‘the peace.’ The coastal city on the Baja peninsula seemed immune from the drug trafficking violence of the mainland, which is estimated to have claimed 120,000 lives since 2006. But on July 31st, that bloodless exemption vanished. On the side of the road leaving La Paz, an incinerated

Update from Puerto Escondido

We arrived in Puerto Escondido last night, a large natural harbor. It was my first good night of sleep since leaving La Paz; even the lightning storm that cruised by in the night couldn’t keep me away. (This was our first night with no swell or wind waves to toss us around inside the boat while at anchor.) This cove is considered a “hurricane

Update from Agua Verde

We are anchored at Agua Verde, just 23 nautical miles south of Puerto Escondido. This place is called Agua Verde for its turquoise waters–but it must have been named in the winter, since the hot summer water seems to have made the bay truly green. We haven’t ventured to the tiny town yet, as we spent the day yesterday making sealable  screens