4 Miles of Blue: Climate Change Comes to Campus

If a Hurricane-Sandy-strength storm strikes again in 2050, flood levels at MIT, enhanced by global warming, could reach heights marked by the BLUE LINE.


By allowing fossil fuel companies to continue business as usual, we could be locking ourselves into over 5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100.

Fossil Free MIT is calling on MIT to DIVEST its $11 billion endowment from fossil fuel companies. Join the 2,500 MIT voices calling for climate change action by signing our petition.




What’s this BLUE LINE all about?…Gimme the science!

The BLUE LINE is four miles of blue caution tape, bearing the words, “Global Warming Flood Level – Tell MIT: Divest From Fossil Fuels”. Organized by student group Fossil Free MIT (that’s us!), in coordination with the 2014 MIT Sustainability Summit, the BLUE LINE spans buildings and landscaping across the campus at a height of 1-5 feet above ground level.


The BLUE LINE demonstrates the immediacy of flood risks to the Boston area from disasters such as Superstorm Sandy because of global-warming-induced sea level rise. According to a report from The Boston Harbor Association1, the 5-foot storm surge experienced by the Boston area during Sandy, when added to projected sea level rise by 2050, would be enough to overtop the Charles River dam and put vast areas of Cambridge and Boston under several feet of water. Paul Kirshen MS ‘72 PhD ‘75, a professor of civil engineering at the University of New Hampshire and MIT alum, was a lead author of the report.

The objective of this climate change demonstration is to inspire more energetic debate about MIT’s responsibilities and opportunities for leadership and action in the face of the burgeoning climate crisis, by highlighting one local impact of global warming.


  1. Douglas, E., Kirshen, P., Li, V., Watson, C., Wormser, J. Preparing for the Rising Tide, The Boston Harbor Association (February 2013). [link] []
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