Friday, May 29, 2009

What’s another foot or two?

In terms of sea levels around coastal New England – and the Sakonnet area in particular -- it could mean a lot.

Imagine our little coastline redefined in significant ways by 2100: The loss of our beaches and other waterfront properties where the land slope is small; the potential need to re-route Main Road down by Grinnell’s Beach; living history being swallowed by the sea. Imagine our own little bit of environmental refugee action as people and families need to abandon their “ships” for higher ground.

This New York Times article is a quick synopsis of new research coming out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research warning that an accelerated melting of Greenland’s ice sheet could have a more profound effect on the sea levels of the northeast U.S. and Maritime Canada. Of course, while these climate models are based on current and historical data, they are just models. That means they could be wrong. Or right. Or somewhere in the middle.

While it’s just one of many possible scenarios based on a plethora of variables, it would behoove us not to care, not to pause and consider those worse case scenarios and use them to light that fire of action; of caring about what such impacts might have on us or our families in our later years. The first step in figuring out how to solve a problem is acknowledging that both the problem AND the potential impacts exist. From there it’s about working together to find solutions – big and small -- and putting them into action.

I’m on board. How about you? Each one of us continues to have a roll to play in our everyday lives to help our little neck of the woods stay vibrant and inviting not only in the short-term but that seemingly far off (but not really) future.

Call me crazy, but I like to think that my great-grandchildren might some day stroll along Fogland Beach and hold one of the same small, round, smooth stones that I might have held and tossed into the river myself, throwing it back to the water to ride the waves and tides once again.

[Photo Credit: Sara Gerlach]

No comments: