NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 23, 2013

Climate expert warns of rising river, ocean levels

(Continued)

When it was organized, the group was concerned about the storms and erosion that were threatening parts of Plum Island last winter.

Members are also concerned about the Merrimack River. A flier they created shows a 2007 photo of Cashman Park when the Merrimack River rose from its banks to cover all the ball fields and parking lots adjacent to the public recreation area.

Wake’s presentation appeared to confirm members’ belief that community leaders must start preparing for destructive weather events.

He said that creating energy-efficient buildings and ceasing to generate energy from fossil fuels are two ways to improve the environment while helping in the effort to slow global warming.

Wake said he is not a politician, and noted that community leaders must start talking with developers about the challenges of building adjacent to streams, rivers and the ocean.

“We have to change the way we look at development,” he said. “It’s not the economy vs. the environment but economy and the environment.

“As you are doing here, we must engage the community in a debate about preparing for global warming and sea rise. It’s a big job — we’ve got to want to do it.”

Storm Surge, organized by Elizabeth Marcus, Mike Morris and others, has scheduled about a half-dozen other presentations planned for fall.

The next is slated Monday, Nov. 4, at the refuge, when Dr. Rob Thieler of the U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole will address the topic of “Changing Climate, Changing Coasts.”

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