Day 6

"It's happening": Climate change is putting a way of life at risk on P.E.I.'s Lennox Island

Day 6 kicks off our fall season with a special series profiling five communities facing serious threats from climate change, right now. We begin in Lennox Island, a small First Nations community in Prince Edward Island that's already beginning to disappear amidst the rising waters of the Atlantic.
Chief Matilda Ramjattan surveys the water in Lennox Island P.E.I. (Laura Chapin / CBC)

For the small First Nations community of Lennox Island, P.E.I., the changing climate is already putting their ancestral home at risk.

The community is being featured in "Facing the Change," a special Day 6 series about the impact climate change is having right now in cities and towns across the country.

Battered by rising seas and increasingly powerful storm surges, Lennox Island is in danger. The island is composed mainly of sandstone, and its shoreline is eroding twice as fast as the rest of Prince Edward Island.

In a single generation, Lennox Island has already lost nearly 1 square kilometre of land. In another fifty years, with a sea level rise of 3 metres, half the island could be gone. The community is working hard to adapt, but the future of their island remains uncertain.

We speak to Dr. Adam Fenech, the director of the Climate Research Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island, who has been working with Lennox Island First Nation for years.

We also hear from Gilbert Sark, a local elder who worries about cultural artifacts being swept away by the waves; Lennox Island resident and property manager Dave Haley, whose own backyard is eroding before his eyes; and Matilda Ramjattan, Chief of the Lennox Island First Nation, who is concerned about the threat that extreme storms could have on her community's infrastructure.

*Updated, Oct. 11, 2016: A previous version of this story described Dr. Adam Fenech as a Nobel Prize-winning climate scientist. In fact, he contributed to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.