The future of the New England market

The Washington Post reported on the lobster and fish market of New England with their “Gone in a Generation.” Because the change in sea temperatures, lobster is moving northward from Rhode Island and whelk is moving in their stead, according to the Washington Post.

“The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, dramatically disrupting fishery patterns and creating new winners — and losers,” Washington Post said.

Over time, the lobster population has decreased in Rhode Island. The lobster population has not increased by 3 million since 2005 and it did not increase over 2 million in 2017 off the coast of Rhode Island, according to the Washington Post.

For Rhode Island’s lobsterman to stay afloat, they catch whelk and sea bass as well as lobster, the Washington Post reported.

While Rhode Island had less lobster, Maine had more lobster. Due to the change in sea temperatures, researchers have found that lobster is moving northward, Washington Post said.

Happy Earth Day to the Children Who Will Inherit the Earth

The younger generation – the generation that will inherit the Earth have spoken out about climate change and how they feel about the lack of responsibility the older generation has taken regarding global warming.

“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.”

Nobel Prize nominee Greta Thunberg in her 2018 TED talk.

Climate change solutions are feasible according to BBC Future. We can solve issues such as sea level rise and the loss of natural resources if we tried.

Here is Greta Thunberg.

Transcript of the Above Video

“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden.I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now. Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.”

“You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.”

“Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few. The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act.”

“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself. We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you.”

The problem is that we do not listen to young people. Luckily, we have
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who speaks out about injustice including the climate change injustice.

Unfortunately, people who live in poverty are more likely to suffer the most from climate change, according to BBC Future. Even if the climate is changing, most people are not aware of it.

Here are some small ways you can tackle climate change:

  • eat perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables
  • use reusable bags when you shop
  • teach children how to recycle and compost
  • take the bus and/or encourage other people to take the bus
  • purchase a hybrid or electric car, if you can
  • use a heat pump, if you can
  • use solar panels, if you can
  • reduce your consumption of meat, if you can

Remember you can pick one or two if you cannot do everything on the list. Any little act helps the next generation.

Maine’s emission goals

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s actions against climate change is the law to reduce greenhouse emissions in 2020, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Maine records greenhouse emissions from 1990 to 2015, according to the state of Maine Environmental Protection webpage.

Maine’s long term goal of reducing greenhouse emissions is to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80 percent below the levels of the year 2003, according to the Maine legislature.

In 2003, Maine generated about 10 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e)* from transportation and about 26 MTCO2e overall, according to Maine’s Environmental Protection Department.

There is hope for Maine.

“[F]ighting climate change is one of my top priorities as governor, and it is why I will work with the Legislature to welcome renewable energy to Maine and invest in innovative technologies that will create jobs, cut costs and reduce emissions,” said Janet Mills, the Governor of Maine, according to Bangor Daily News.

Governor Mills wants to “encourage decentralized energy production and widespread solarization” according to Janet Mills’ website.

*MTCO2e refers to a unit measure of carbon dioxide that researchers use to compare carbon emissions to different greenhouse emissions.

The Casco Bay Plan

CASCO BAY, Maine — The members of the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership are working together through the Casco Bay Plan to protect the natural beauty and resources of Casco Bay from climate change since 2016, according to the Casco Bay Plan 2016 – 2021.

The Casco Bay Plan will help eliminate combined sewer overflows, reduce storm-water pollution, improve urban waterways, keep waters safe for swimming, monitor water quality, and reduce according to the Casco Bay Plan.

In Casco Bay, ocean-related businesses in 2012 provided 9.5 percent of the total jobs in Cumberland County, according to the Casco Bay Plan.

Casco Bay has lost its eelgrass beds due to climate change, according to the Casco Bay Plan 2016 to 2021. Eelgrass beds provide critical habitats for the organisms who live in the estuary as well as provide good water quality.

Casco Bay fisheries and agriculture suffered because of climate change the Casco Bay plan reported.

“Aquaculture operations in Casco Bay are growing in number while once abundant species like cod are increasingly rare,” the Casco Bay Plan said.

Maine experienced a rise in air temperatures, intense rainfall, warming ocean temperatures, acidifying coastal waters, and rising seas, according to the Casco Bay Plan 2016 to 2021.

“A 2013 ‘rapid assessment’ by scientists at two Casco Bay locations found that between one-fifth and one-third of all identified marine species were not natives,” the Casco Bay Plan said.

Confronting temperature in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine — Spring is arriving earlier, according to this report from the state of Maine. The climate in Maine is changing where summers have gotten hotter, and winters “becoming warmer and less snowy” according to the report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The changing climate in Maine will impact its agriculture. Warmer temperatures create heat stress on “economically important crops,” according to UCS.

Fishing for cod will get harder for Maine’s fishermen. Warming Gulf of Maine will decrease cod stock, according to UCS. Additionally, Atlantic salmon will have many challenges getting upstream due to short-term droughts, the report said.

Recreation in Maine will also take a hit. Maine will no longer have long ski seasons due to climate change in Maine the report said. Snowmobiling will also get cut short as the winter warms up.

Climate change in Maine will also challenge logging and forestry. “Mud season” will last longer making logging difficult, according to the report.

The air quality will decrease and diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks will increase, UCS said.

While the sea level rise, Maine plans accordingly

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Law, Maine State Planning Office, and Maine Geographical Society prepared a plan called Anticipatory Planning for Sea-Level Rise Along the Coast of Maine on how Maine can prepare for the erosion of shoreline due to rising sea levels.

The plan deals with possible scenarios of climate change for the Maine people. Maine’s soft coasts such as coastal sand dunes, coastal wetlands, and coastal eroding bluffs are in danger of erosion due to high sea levels, according to the plan.

“For beaches and coastal wetlands, that erosion and inundation would be exacerbated by an accelerated rate of sea-level rise associated with global climate change,” wrote researchers in the plan. Researchers projected that climate change will significantly eat away sand beaches in coastal Maine.

The report goes into ways in which the state of Maine can avoid these dangers by following a few possible adaptive strategies, planning and regulatory policies, and education.

Possible strategic plans for Maine were anticipatory actions such as finding a cost-effective design in the change position of the coastline and extreme weather patterns, dissuade plans to make buildings on possible places of erosion, increase the number of publicly owned or controlled buildings by waterfront and develop nature preserves by the coastal wetlands, according to the plan.

“The earlier that the public is on notice of the likelihood of rising sea level and the policy choice of a retreat strategy, the more likely the regulations are to withstand legal challenge,” wrote the researchers of the plan.

The plan projected change in shoreline by the year 2100. If the sea levels rise by half of a meter, the projected shoreline will degrade by 3 to 35 meters, according to the plan.

Old Orchard Beach will lose up to 80 acres of land due to a sea level rise of 50 centimeters, according to the plan.

“Since 1991, about $3.9 million has been channeled into public improvements in waterfront and downtown areas which are potentially at risk,” wrote researchers of the plan.

In a projection of climate change effects on Maine’s wetlands is approximately 10 to 350 feet of wetland coastline loss, according to the plan.

“There are more than 5,000 acres of salt marsh in the combined Casco and Saco Bay regions; they comprise roughly 20% of the regions’ coastline,” wrote researchers in the plan.

If Maine plans accordingly to projections, we may have a chance on saving our economy and our coastlines.

Scarborough’s food waste program

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Scarborough’s solid waste pilot program did not work for the residents of Pleasant Hill Road based on their feedback sent in September 2017, but the program was not a waste of time, according to the town Scarborough.

The Scarborough town council will make a decision on the next steps for the town’s waste removal after Scarborough’s sustainability coordinator, Kerry Grantham, presents the results of both Scarborough and South Portland food waste pilot programs to them in January 2018. The town council will review feedback from residents who participated in both programs.

Normally, Scarborough’s trash collectors, Pine Tree Wastes, collected both trash and recycling every week. In Scarborough’s food waste pilot program, Pine Tree Wastes collected food waste weekly, but alternated recycling and trash collection every week for the 260 residents of Pleasant Hill Road.

The program began in May and was set to end in January 2018. The program discontinued in September after Pleasant Hill residents sent back their surveys.

Many of the residents of Pleasant Hill Road reported that waiting for trash collectors to pick up the recycling for two weeks was problematic because, after an extra week, they had an overflow of recycling.

“Everyone vocalized that they preferred not to alternate trash and recycling,” said Grantham. “We learned that for a lot of families, Amazon purchases are convenient.”

Some residents threw away recycling in the trash.

“Over time, the amount of contamination of recycling and of trash was much higher than normal,” said University of Southern Maine professor, Travis Wagner, who worked with Scarborough and South Portland on their food waste programs.

Some of the residents had a positive response to the program. Some families wrote in their surveys that the food waste disposal was hard at first, but as soon as they changed their habits, it was easy.

“Families were examining their waste behaviors,” said Grantham.

The Scarborough town council will also review feedback from South Portland’s residents who participated in the South Portland food waste program.

South Portland contracted Garbage-to-Garden to collect food waste, garbage, and recycling together weekly for 600 homes in the Knightville and Meetinghouse Hill neighborhoods for their food waste pilot program. The town of South Portland pays for the pilot program.

The majority of feedback reported on the South Portland pilot program were positive.

“We did a hauling contract for a year, so ours is continuing on. They [the pilot programs] were really just two different models. We haven’t had any problems yet,” said South Portland’s sustainability coordinator, Julie Rosenbach.

Researchers are not willing to release data before South Portland’s pilot program ends.

The Scarborough town council will consider the next steps for the town’s waste removal in January 2018. The Scarborough Energy Committee reported that Scarborough’s waste had 30 percent of food waste and recommended a food waste collection service. The Scarborough town council voted against the use of city-required trash bags to reduce waste collection costs.

Update 12/3/2018: As of now, Scarborough is not participating in a food waste program. Instead, there are Garbage-to-Garden compost bins set out in specific locations for residents to throw away their food waste.

Plan for the future, says climate change report

PORTLAND, Maine — We must plan for the future due to the climate change effects on Maine’s farming and fishery businesses, according to a climate change report sent from Climate Change Institute (CCI) and the University of Maine at Orono (UMO).

Since 1912 to the present, on average, there was an increase of rainfall by approximately 1 foot and an increase of sea levels by approximately 7 inches, according to the report. An increase of rainfall is not the only effects of climate change has on Maine.

On average, from January 1895 to the present, coastal Maine temperature increased by approximately 3 degrees Fahrenheit, said researchers in this climate report.

In 2012, the lobster in Maine changed due to the temperature change. The lobster population increased because of increased temperature and the cod population decreased because of over-fishing, according to the UMO and CCI researchers.

“Recent fluctuation of temperature in late winter and early spring may cause early crop growth before the last freeze,” wrote researchers.

Because of late frost, in 2012 and in 2016, the apple and other crops were affected in Maine, according to the report.

There was a positive effect of climate change on Maine’s farms in the report.

“Since the year 2000, the growing season has increased by about 2 weeks in comparison to the 20th century,” wrote researchers in the report.

Teaching climate change

PORTLAND, Maine — Lucille Benedict is an associate professor at the University of Southern Maine who teaches climate change education to her general chemistry students.

“In the general chemistry course, I focus on talking about climate change as much as I can,” said Benedict. “It allows the students to understand how the chemistry and climate change are so intertwined together.”

Chemistry allows an avenue into science communication that can give a student the understanding of how the properties of the world can influence each other, and in turn, explain those properties and the effects of those properties on our world. 

“It’s really about getting the information to the students around climate change,” said Benedict.

Scientists today tend not to clarify their studies to the general public so it is important that teachers such as Benedict instruct students on how to explain their climate change research clearly. 

“It is something I teach my students on it’s hard to take work that is so complex and distill it down,” said Benedict.

That said, Benedict does work with media studies teachers at the University of Southern Maine to explain climate change to the public. 

“I also [sic] work with other faculty in the university in communication and media studies, and in social work. I connect the story and the media perception and science of it all together because you don’t see disciplines coming together to tackle these important projects,” said Benedict.

Some of the ways people can do their part are to become a leader in their choices regarding climate change. Benedict takes the bus to work every day. By telling her students this, she becomes a leader of a small climate change movement. 

“You become the leader in these changes and you can make a bigger impact than just yourself,” said Benedict.

For students who want to communicate science to the general public, Benedict suggested that they take science classes. 

“Student who want to dive in and really do the research, I tell them that you need a really good science base,” said Benedict.

Teaching students how to educate other people about climate change science, taking the steps to become a leader of climate change action, and helping people learn about climate change are things that we can all do together. 

How climate change affected the Maine market

PORTLAND, Maine –The early arrival of spring may be a relief to the people of Portland, but for scientists, early spring means a rapidly changing ecosystem. According to the National Weather Service, in 2016, the average temperature in Portland was 48.4 degrees Fahrenheit, which was as high as it was in 2012.

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute’s Andrew Pershing and USM’s Karen Wilson observed that the change in Maine’s temperature affected Maine’s lobster, cod and herring populations, which have influenced the Maine market. Both scientists noted the change in Maine’s temperature in 2012 and its effect on life.

The change in temperature affected river herring spawning. Wilson said that, in 2012, at a spawning site, herring were aware of the temperature change because they arrived four weeks early.

According to Pershing, the lobster in 2012 mated a month early. The increase in lobster lowered the market price. Although lobstermen caught a lot of product, they made less money compared to 2011.

Between 2004 and 2013, the Maine cod market also suffered. Pershing said that the temperature increase reduced the cod population before fisheries could adjust their quotas. He added that the fisheries later realized the quotas were set too high.

Warming temperatures may decrease cod food sources such as river herring, especially during spawning. These herring spawn in May and leave between July and October. Wilson reasoned that despite the changing climate, river herring are highly adaptive, but because of droughts the fish can’t get to spawning sites or out to the ocean.

“Last summer we had a drought starting in July that lasted to October. There was not enough water going over the dam,” Wilson said. “People kept reporting that the adults were still in the lake. They stayed in the lake and it wasn’t until October when we had the first rains that the fish started to leave.”

The temperature change may have an impact on river herring travel. Wilson added that warmer temperatures may bring the river herring’s sister species, the blue herring, north. Other southern species may also travel to Maine waters. According to Pershing, Humboldt squid and striped bass are likely arrivals.

“In 2016, we had a year as warm as 2012,” Pershing said. “In many ways, the landing and fisheries played out very similarly to what they did in 2012.”

Pershing explained that, because of what occurred in 2012, markets adapted to the overproduction of lobster. By learning and adapting to Maine’s temperature change, fisheries can avoid over-fishing, high quotas, and economic setbacks.

In Portland on Saturday, April 22nd, an estimated 1,000 people gathered downtown for the March for Science in response to Trump’s cuts to the EPA and National Parks, as well as to show support for scientific research surrounding climate change. Other marches took place around the country.

Transcript of Podcast

Spring coming early may be a relief to most of the people of Portland, Maine, but for scientists, early spring means a rapidly-changing ecosystem. Researchers observed that the change in Maine’s temperature has affected the lobster, cod, and herring populations. Scientists note the change in Maine’s temperature in 2012 and its effect on life.

This is what Andrew Pershing at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute had to say about Maine’s climate.

Pershing: “[I]n 2012, we had temperatures throughout the year where we were 5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.”

In 2012, lobster reproduced a month early. This increase in lobster lowered the market price. Although lobstermen caught a lot of product, they made less money compared to 2011. USM’s professor Karen Wilson observed a similar event in herring spawning.

Wilson: “In 2012, when it was a really warm, they came in four weeks earlier than usual.”

The Maine cod market also suffered.

Pershing: “Every female was producing fewer babies during a warm year than she would in a cold year. And that fewer young fish were surviving to reach maturity in the warm years than they were in a cold year. That led to a reduction in productivity in the stock. That change was happening so fast that the management system couldn’t keep up.”

The cod population decreased before fisheries could adjust their quotas. The fisheries later realized the quotas were set too high. Additionally, warming temperatures may decrease cod food sources such as river herring, especially during their spawning. These herring reproduce in May and leave between July and October. Wilson reasoned that despite the changing climate, river herring are highly adaptive, but because of droughts the fish can’t get to spawning sites.

Wilson: “If they encounter too little water they might not get passed fish ladders or natural barriers like falls.”

Because of climbing temperatures, river herring can’t get back out to sea.

Wilson: “So, last summer we had a drought starting in July stretching into September and October and it wasn’t until October when we had the first rains that the fish started to leave.”

Wilson added that warmer temperatures may bring the river herring’s sister species, the blue herring, north, but people have already found evidence of southern animals in Maine.

Pershing: “We had people reporting blue crab, which is a species that we think of as part of the Chesapeake Bay. We had people bringing in seahorses, which aren’t normally found this far north. A lot of people talking about squid and finding squid egg cases on the beach. Squid are out normally south of Cape Cod.”

In 2012, the temperature change almost ruined the lobster market, but in 2016, the same high temperatures didn’t affect the business.

Wilson: “In 2016, we had a year as warm as 2012. In many ways, the landing and lobster fishery played out very similarly to what they did in 2012. And yet it was a very happy year on the coast of Maine last year. A lot of that is because the industry has adapted.”

By studying the effects of climate change, researchers are looking for ways to adapt to Maine’s new environment and new market. In the future, fishermen and others will probably catch blue herring or, even, squid!