Many political activists are familiar with the expression, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In most contexts, it has a positive meaning, but when we are talking about climate change, those rising tides can be devastating.
Here in Massachusetts, rising tides aren’t lifting just boats, they also threaten to flood densely populated areas and erode our unique shoreline. The local flora and fauna are doing their best to adapt to rising temperatures, but they aren’t the only ones being forced to change their ways.
City dwellers and beach-goers may soon feel the effects that warming temperatures are having on our oceans. In response, Bay State residents are taking action to adapt to and calm these rapidly rising seas. In fact, New England’s windswept waters may provide an antidote to high energy costs. Recent headlines tell the story:
According to the Boston Globe’s Beth Daley,
Many properties in Boston may have to waterproof their buildings – raising critical electrical systems to higher levels or building barriers against storm surges — as sea levels rise from climate change.”
In addition to its plans for fortifying infrastructure, Boston’s “Green Ribbon Commission,” also is pursuing the city’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050.
In the meantime, the effects of those rising tides extend well beyond Boston:
Carolyn Y. Johnson writes in the Boston Globe,
Beachgoers headed to Cape Cod National Seashore over the coming decades may find themselves baking in hotter temperatures, and sections of beach and wetlands could be lost or altered as climate change fuels sea level rise, according to a new report by two environmental groups…”
Fortunately, the report, Atlantic National Seashores in Peril: The Threats of Climate Disruption, also points out that this gloomy picture doesn’t have to be a given. According to its authors,
The good news is there are many ways to reduce heat trapping pollution—by making major pollution sources more efficient and relying more on clean energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal power. These steps also can strengthen our national, local, and personal economies.”
And that is where the area’s offshore winds come into play.
According to New York Times writer, Matthew Wald,
New England is experiencing a remarkable spike in electricity prices brought on by high heating demand and rising natural gas prices for electric generators.”
One solution would be to expand the region’s energy portfolio by increasing its reliance on wind power. That way, the demand for expensive heating sources would lessen during “clinch times.”
Massachusetts may have rising seas and fuel costs, but it also has Cape Wind, the country’s first offshore wind farm located in Nantucket Sound off of Cape Cod. According to its website, Cape Wind will produce up to 420 megawatts of clean, renewable energy, and in average winds, provide three quarters of the Cape and Islands electricity needs. In addition, the site notes that,
Cape Wind will contribute to improved air quality by reducing air pollution emissions in New England. Cape Wind will also reduce global warming greenhouse gas emissions by 734,000 tons per year.”
Metaphorically speaking, a rising tide can lift all boats in our work to halt global warming. We need more Cape Winds, and a point–by- point plan that will stem the tides of pollution that threaten our planet, and foster the tides of change that will save it.