Friday, July 24, 2020

Revere & Resilience

Hey y'all!
    This week we're talking about climate change. This is an especially important topic for us Bostonians, considering how much of our city is built on water (literally by dumping a bunch of dirt into the Harbor to make new land). With climate change creating sea level rise, we need to think about how we can prevent the sea from rising over our entire city. Living in Southie, I'm personally pretty concerned about how climate change might affect my neighborhood. Moakley Park and Castle Island, two of our best green spaces, are right on the waterfront and very susceptible to sea level rise. There's been some talk about a plan called Resilient Moakley Park to help protect South Boston against flooding, but it hasn't been implemented yet, and while I hope the new buildings sprouting up in Southie and the Seaport are climate resilient, there's still a lot to be done. But honestly, what most concerns me is the predicted temperature rise. We can't protect against hotter weather like we can protect against floods. According to Chris Busch, the city's Assistant Deputy Director for Climate Change & Environmental Planning, Boston's climate could look very similar to that of a state like Louisiana by 2070, and I absolutely cannot handle that type of heat. One day of almost 90 degree weather at Revere Beach this week was enough for me, and I have the sunburns to prove it.

My first view of our site for the week

    For our site this week, we went to Revere Beach to do some swimming, fishing, and beach cleanup. At a glance, Revere Beach doesn't really seem to be affected by climate change at all. The water was clearer than any other beach I've been to in Boston. On the second day, our group managed to catch two fish. Even during the beach cleanup, there wasn't all that much trash (though, weirdly enough, I did find an entire pair of pants). But, like any other waterfront area, Revere Beach and the surrounding neighborhood are at risk of flooding and sea level rise. The best example we saw of climate change affecting Revere Beach was that of the piping plovers, a very cute endangered species of bird. Piping plovers are at risk due to habitat loss, and if the sea levels rise much further, their home on Revere Beach will be lost as well. Plus, since Revere is technically its own separate city, it isn't included in any of Boston's (fairly detailed) climate resilience plans. Fortunately, Revere is creating plans of its own.

Team leader Claudia looking for piping plovers

    I have many questions about climate resilience in Boston, but for now I'll narrow it down to three. Where are we going to get all of the money necessary to create climate resilience in every neighborhood? Should we be using some of that money to actively combat climate change rather than preparing for it? And maybe, instead of building new, climate resilient buildings, could we just build less buildings and dedicate more areas to be green space? (This last one has only a little bit to do with how tired I am of waking up to construction every morning.) As for my own role in climate advocacy and awareness, well, this job is my first step. And with how much I've been enjoying these past few weeks, I'm planning on looking into some environmental classes and clubs in college.
Peace out y'all :)

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