The U.S. Geological Survey indicates sea levels are rising faster in Massachusetts and North Carolina than anywhere else in the world. Our waters have climbed between 2 and 3.7 millimeters per year since 1980, an oceanographer writes, compared to 0.6 to 1 mm globally.
Officials from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration tell us the Atlantic Ocean is rising 2.8 mm/year. Plot the numbers out over 20 years and we’ll see a 2.2-inch rise of sea water.
Residents want to talk about sea rise.
Three days ago, Newburyport resident Ron Martino posted a question to this Yahoo email group for the Greater Newburyport Eco Collaborative.
His message was simple:
Global warming will have lots of big effects like storms and droughts, here along the sea coast we will have to contend with sea rise.
How do seaside towns like Newburyport, Salisbury, Newbury, Ipswich prepare for sea rise? Do we “go Dutch” and build sea walls, dunes & dikes? Or do we slowly move buildings and maybe whole neighborhoods ‘uphill’ in a strategic retreat? Some of both?
Controversial stuff, but don’t we have to start thinking about possibilities and maybe even creatively end up with something great.
Ron’s passion reached other people — and, without being asked to do anything, they wanted to do something. They wanted to talk to each other about sea rise statistics and its impact on the greater Newburyport coast. People want to convene planning dialogues to inform neighbors and help set policies to improve the future.
Elizabeth Marcus and her colleagues at Transition Newburyport want to develop community awareness. Erika Spanger-Siegfried of the Union of Concerned Scientists is offering her expertise and contacts to leverage scientific facts. Alexas Kelly, Debra Shepard, John Harwood, Christin Walth — the list goes on and on.
Over 45 people joined a Facebook group committed to exploring sea rise together.
Over 15 people (and counting) are answering the call for service and sharing January evening availability to come to a meeting.
I don’t know where this group will go. But I applaud everyone for taking initiative.
Maybe you’d like to join the FB group and/or come to the first meeting?
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