This is the story of a New Jersey town that faces the grim reality of climate change. After being devastated by Hurricane Sandy, the townspeople of Sea Bright, a relatively affluent barrier island along the Jersey shore must cope with dire sea level rise projections. It's likely that their homes will be under water in the next 50 years.
This documentary asks some tough questions: should they stay or should they go? Will adaptation work? Or is it foolish to challenge Mother Nature?
New Jersey has undertaken beach nourishment projects to protect the shore. These projects involve unnaturally sustaining the shore by pumping sand onto the beaches. They are extremely expensive, and only preserve the shoreline for 10 to 50 years.
Other ways that they attempt to protect the shore include raising shore houses, building sea walls, and planting dunes along the beach. These solutions are also highly contentious, stop-gap solutions.
Interviews with scientists, politicians, the Army Corps of Engineers, and New Jersey shore residents put the decision to protect the shoreline into question. With no clear vision of the future, every step to protect communities are faced with severe criticism from scientists, and politicians. This leaves shoreline residents to consider if it is even right to continue living along the coast
In direct opposition to their views are engineers from the Army Corps who have begun replenishing the shoreline using federal, taxpayer money. Many people are angry that they are using this money to protect an area that scientist say is not safe.
The shore people love their homes, and don’t want to live anywhere else. However, their lifestyle choice has thrown these average citizens into a scientific, political debate that they never expected to be a part of. Their stories allow the viewer to put themselves in the resident’s shoes. What would you do if someone said you should move due to an environmental factor?