Looking out the window of his Ford truck, Bob Fitzgerald sees large, undesirable plants growing in the fields. Visitors to his neighborhood in Princess Anne, Maryland mainly see dying forests and empty farmland. Fitzgerald says the land has been in his family since the 17th century.
"İ'd say in the next 20 years, you're going to lose a very high percentage of that land, that's going to be unfit to farm." The land around the Chesapeake Bay has been sinking for hundreds of years. But climate change is making things worse. As sea levels rise, salt water is entering rivers and other waterways. As a result, the ground is becoming too salty for crops to grow.
Maryland's Eastern Shore is home to some of the oldest farms in North America. Fitzgerald's dates back to 1666. He says he has seen big changes during his life. "You just can't believe how it's taking things over in the last 15 or 20 years. I can show you land around here that people raised tomatoes on when I was a little boy. And now it's gone."
Around the world, scientists warn that coastal farms are under threat from rising seas and salt water. A World Bank report estimates that rice production in coastal areas of Bangladesh may fall by 15 percent by the year 2050. Another study found that hundreds of millions of people will be forced to move inland because of rising waters.
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