On Wednesday, July 9, the Exchange Club welcomed Dr. Phil Dustan, Professor of Biology at the College of Charleston to discuss the environmental challenges we face on John’s Island. Dr. Dustan showed how the continued building on John’s Island is having a serious impact on the ability of the island’s ecosystem to absorb rain and flood waters. “We live on an old beach,” he said, and until fairly recently most of the building on John’s Island was on prehistoric dunes well above the flood line. Now housing is being built in the lowest areas of the island and the process of building homes makes flooding more likely, which is a serious concern given increasingly intense storms and rising sea levels driven by climate change. Dr. Dustan believes that a moratorium on building is essential if the ecosystem of John’s Island is to be preserved.
Dr. Dunstan is a marine ecologist specializing in the ecology of coral reefs and the impact of humans on the biosphere. He has been a member of the College of Charleston faculty since 1981, and he helped design the South Carolina Aquarium. He was a member of the City of Charleston Green Committee and received Charleston’s first Green Award in 2012.
-Submitted by Thad Peterson