Kiran Bhatti of Toronto leaps for a friend's photo next to Teacup Rock, a sandstone formation carved by water and wind, at Thunder Cove Beach on August 19, 2021. Teacup Rock was destroyed when post-tropical storm Fiona hit the island in September 2022.

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Intersection of Culture and Climate on Prince Edward Island

Angela Rowlings | Canada

Fiona was the worst storm ever to hit remote, rural PEI. Shoreline erosion has long been a concern, but Fiona’s devastation has underlined many existing issues by toppling beloved sandstone landmarks, washing away homes, and damaging local businesses in a place where most of the economy is seasonal and financial security is precarious. Fishers face restrictions due to whales passing through the waters, oyster farmers have seen changing river beds, and farmers are adapting to the changing climate by harvesting more drought resistant potatoes or adjusting their irrigation methods.

Having spent time on the island since childhood due to family ties, I’ve been documenting the intersection of culture and climate on PEI as it relates to its close-knit residents, including farmers, fishers, Indigenous peoples, new immigrants, and researchers seeking mitigations and adaptations for climate change.

Environment, immigration, and Indigenous rights, including the launch of the treaty protective fishery on Lennox Island First Nation, have been hot topics on the Island recently. Due to the majority of residents working the land or the sea, the people share a deep connection with the environment and each other.

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