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School of Politics and International Relations

Climate Change and Relocation, Enseada da Baleia, the voice of a community that resists

When: Thursday, October 26, 2023, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: QMUL Graduate Centre, Room 601, Mile End Road London E1 4NS, Mile End Campus

Speaker: Community leader, Tatiana Mendonça Cardoso

Tatiana, a dedicated Social Scientist, stands as a beacon of resilience and leadership within the caiçara community of Enseada da Baleia, nestled within the Ilha do Cardoso National Park on Brazil's southeastern coast. For generations, the community's elders have keenly observed the gradual but relentless encroachment of climate change—erosion, the ominous surge in storm frequency, and the relentless rise of sea levels—threatening their cherished village.

The turning point arrived in 2007, as storms grew fiercer, and high tides breached the village's boundaries. By 2016, the Civil Defense declared that the community must evacuate Enseada, leaving the specter of an involuntary urban relocation looming ominously.

"We had to abandon our homes in the old community where my family lived for 170 years because the sea would swallow everything. On one side, we had the sea. On the other, the river. Among them is an extensive strip of land. A terrible undertow reduced the distance between the seas to two meters. Getting out of there was urgent. We left the houses, the community centers, and our stories," Tatiana solemnly recounted in the poignant documentary "O Amanhã é Hoje."

Tatiana and her indomitable community banded together to forge a path forward, crafting a comprehensive relocation plan. With determination and resilience, they raised the necessary funds to undertake this monumental journey. Remarkably, it was the women of Enseada da Baleia who took the reins, ushering in a government rooted in a solidarity-based social economy.

They rekindled ancestral traditions such as drying fish and introduced community tourism to their new home, ensuring that the heart and soul of their culture persisted. Visitors to the community are regaled with tales of the remarkable women who spearheaded this transformation, illustrating the extraordinary power of female leadership.

Their story serves as an inspiring testament to confronting adversity with ancestral wisdom, tenacity, and a deep-seated connection to the land and sea. Despite the ongoing struggle against encroaching waters, Enseada da Baleia's resilient community celebrates the triumph of preserving life, echoing through their new location—a tribute to the enduring spirit of Tatiana and her fellow trailblazers.

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