“Climate Change, Capitalism, and The Worldwide Symbiote” by Gloucester High Student Willa Brosnihan

The Gillnetter

The student news site of Gloucester High School in Gloucester, MA

WILLA BROSNIHAN, Staff Writer

I am not a tree hugger. I do not always remember to switch off the lights when I leave the room, and sometimes I turn the heat up too high in the winter. I don’t spend my days saving injured birds or picking up trash off the beach. But after the climate report issued by the International Panel on Climate Change, I started to feel guilty about how little I’ve been doing.

The report said that the highest temperature increase that the planet can safely reach in comparison to pre-industrial global temperatures is 1.5 degrees Celsius. In 2017, NASA placed us at a .9 degree Celsius increase, and according to the IPCC report, we are expected to reach that 1.5 degrees “between 2030 and 2052.”

The effect of this change to our planet’s climate would be catastrophic. Sea level rise from melting ice caps would worsen the flooding caused by the increasing numbers of hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards that could be expected. Arid regions and land already damaged by deforestation would become completely un-farmable. Poor communities would be the most drastically and immediately affected.

Here on the coast, where our high school parking lot already fills with ocean water after a big storm, we should be worrying about what our little city will look like for our children and grandchildren.

READ MORE HERE

Deborah Redwood whale’s tail – Goetemann Residency Closing Talk at Ocean Alliance, Rocky Neck

Deborah Redwood will present her Goetemann Residency Closing talk tonight, September 28, 2018, 6pm, Ocean Alliance

A few weekly scenes observing her art’s impact in progress  

September 14, 2018

 

September 21, 2018

September 28, 2018 (different vantages, silhouettes, and scavenged intricacies portend  meaning and events)

 

PIPING PLOVERS AND SANDY POINT BEACH NEEDS HELP! -By Kim Smith

The storm devastation at Sandy Point Beach on Plum Island is alarming. The thing is, exactly where the debris pile-up is the densest, is precisely where the Piping Plovers nest. These photos were taken several weeks ago, and the mass of garbage has only grown greater with two subsequent storms. 

From PRNWR, “Although the refuge isn’t hosting a spring beach cleanup this year, Sandy Point State Reservation is! Join DCR on April 7th to clean up the southern tip of the island. Parking is limited, so carpooling from the refuge Visitor Center is encouraged.”

ROCK ON GLOUCESTER’S DPW MICHAEL SILVA AND JOHN HARRIS -By Kim Smith

Shout out to Gloucester DPW’s Michael Silva and John Harris. This morning they removed all the rocks that were blocking the drainage pipe on Atlantic Road, near the Grapevine Road intersection. The rocks had been pushed into the drain by the March nor’easters.

MAJESTIC OLD OAK TREE AT STAGE FORT’S HALF MOON BEACH DOWNED DURING STORM

So very sorry to see the beautiful shade-providing old oak tree taken out by the nor’easters.Cressy’s beach was hit hard, too, with mountains of rocks displaced and the ramp leading to the beach severely damaged. Both Stage Fort beaches sustained quite a bit of erosion.

MARCH NOR’EASTER #GLOUCESTER MA ATLANTIC OCEAN EXPLODING WAVES, SPINDRIFTS, AND THE PRICE TO PAY


Eastern Point

Shoreline, home, and garden have been hard hit by the third nor’easter to take place this March. The waves and spindrifts were magnificent, taking a short drive around the back shore this morning, but it was difficult to observe the further damage to coastline habitats.

ATLANTIC OCEAN WAVE WATCHING -EXPLODERS, BANGERS, ROLLERS, CRASHERS, AND SONIC BOOMERS – #GLOUCESTEMA #ROCKPORTMA MARCH NOR’ESTER STORM RILEY -By Kim Smith

The best wave watching Sunday afternoon was from Atlantic Road, especially when the light turned silver-gray-violet. The mist from the pounding waves filled the air, creating a beautiful diffused quality. It was mesmerizing to see the waves hurling against the rocky coastline. Often the force was so loud, it sounded like a sonic boom had exploded. Atlantic Road was closed to car traffic while pedestrians strolled the road as though a promenade. After watching the full force of the waves during high tide, I headed over to Straitsmouth Island in Rockport. Less in strength, but still spectacular to watch.

 

BEFORE AND AFTER ATLANTIC ROAD ESTATE MARCH NOR’EASTER STORM RILEY -By Kim Smith

Atlantic Road estate, after a relatively mild storm last week.

Sunday afternoon, after March Nor’easter Riley.

DISASTER AT PEBBLE BEACH #ROCKPORTMA MARCH STORM NOR’EASTER RILEY

After filming the explosive waves on Atlantic Road yesterday afternoon for various documentary projects, I headed over to Henry’s Pond to check on Mr. Swan’s whereabouts. Expecting to see and film some damage to the road that divides Henry’s Pond and Pebble Beach, which often occurs after storms, especially nor’easters, I was completely overwhelmed by the destruction found at Pebble Beach. The road is gone; the worst I have ever seen, and I couldn’t make it to the Pond because it was simply too dangerous to climb over the slippery, jiggley rocks and seaweed.

 

BREAKING: EASTERN POINT LIGHTHOUSE ROAD WASHED AWAY AND PARKING LOT LITTERED WITH STORM SURGE DEBRIS; DO NOT DRIVE DOWN, NOWHERE TO TURN AROUND! #GLOUCESTERMA NOR’EASTER RILEY

It appears as though the Eastern Point Lighthouse parking lot and road were hit with surges from both the harbor side and from the Atlantic, washing away the road and leaving the area littered with surge debris, mostly rocks, seaweed, and seagrass. The storm drain, which formerly ran under the road, is now completely exposed. At low tide early this evening, the marsh was still completely flooded.

If you are planning on checking on the EPLighthouse, park your car and walk. Several folks got stuck as there is nowhere to turn around under the current conditions.

Flooded marsh

Storm clouds lifting

BREAKING: BRACE COVE-NILES POND CAUSEWAY ANNIHILATED, NILES POND FLOODING #GLOUCESTERMA NOR’EASTER RILEY

The beautiful newly constructed causeway that separates Niles Pond and Brace Cove, which was rebuilt several years ago, is now a jumble of rocks and boulders. Niles Pond Road is narrowing from the sea water surging into the Pond. The water has nowhere to go. The road to the Retreat House is impassable.  The destructive force of climate change is rearing its ugly head in our own backyards and a fifth super high tide is expected again tonight. 

Monarch Butterflies in Crisis

Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Graph Journey NorthEach winter, since I began photographing the Monarchs in 2006, I compare this graph from Journey North to the number of butterflies observed on Cape Ann. As you can clearly see, this is the worst year on record, which corresponds to the near complete lack of Monarchs in our region this past summer.

Monarchs Gloucester 2012 �Kim Smith
Monarch Butterflies Eastern Point Gloucester

Many thanks to Kathy Chapman and our GMG Readers for forwarding the following New York Times update about the shrinking Monarch Butterfly popluation.

By Michael Wines

January 29, 2014

Faltering under extreme weather and vanishing habitats, the yearly winter migration of monarch butterflies to a handful of forested Mexican mountains dwindled precipitously in December, continuing what scientists said was an increasingly alarming decline.

The migrating population has become so small — perhaps 35 million, experts guess — that the prospects of its rebounding to levels seen even five years ago are diminishing. At worst, scientists said, a migration widely called one of the world’s great natural spectacles is in danger of effectively vanishing.

The Mexican government and the World Wildlife Fund said at a news conference on Wednesday that the span of forest inhabited by the overwintering monarchs shrank last month to a bare 1.65 acres — the equivalent of about one and a quarter football fields. Not only was that a record low, but it was just 56 percent of last year’s total, which was itself a record low.

At their peak in 1996, the monarchs occupied nearly 45 acres of forest.

The acreage covered by monarchs, which has been surveyed annually since 1993, is a rough proxy for the actual number of butterflies that survive the arduous migration to and from the mountains.

Karen S. Oberhauser, a conservation biologist at the University of Minnesota who has studied monarchs for decades, called the latest estimate shocking.

“This is the third straight year of steep declines, which I think is really scary,” she said. “This phenomenon — both the phenomenon of their migration and the phenomenon of so many individuals doing it — that’s at risk.”

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