Based on current forecasts, we have little more than a decade to bring humanity into balance with the biosphere while our children's future hangs in the balance. A just transition to renewables is not only possible but imperative. We must individually and collectively take appropriate action to make it happen. We can fix it and we must act quickly.
Recent climate change is more consistent and directional than anything seen in human history. 99% of scientists agree that global warming is a major threat. Maine has experienced numerous climatic changes over the past 100 years, including mean temperature rise, mean sea level rise, and an increase in severe weather events. Overall, global temperatures are hotter and extremes are more common, raising the risk of major climate disasters. The global climate is becoming so destabilized that sudden, accelerating and consequently devastating change is inevitable.
Placing us on the front lines of climate change, the waters of the Gulf of Maine are warming faster than 99% of global oceans due to global warming, melting of the Arctic, and changing ocean circulation patterns. Rising sea levels and mean ocean temperatures aggravate severe weather and jeopardize critical ocean eco-systems. Such warming drives the changes in precipitation patterns, species distribution, storm frequency and ocean acidity. For more information on how climate change effects the Gulf of Maine, check out this fantastic video:
Our fishing industry is in peril. Warmer temperatures are causing shifts in key zooplankton species, changes in when and where key commercial species are caught, declines of cold-water species, and an influx of southerly species. Calcifying organisms like lobsters and clams face increased stress due to ocean acidification that makes it harder to produce shells. On land, drought stresses crops, maple trees are migrating north, which effects the syrup industry, and sea level rise threatens real estate with flooding in critical areas along the entire coast of Maine.
Key public health indicators such as Lyme disease are on the rise. Weather extremes have wide-ranging impacts on human health by disrupting energy supplies, compromising access to health services, contaminating water, affecting sanitation and food storage. Lives are forever changed by loss of homes, jobs, food supplies and a stable predictable day-to-day life. Asthma, impaired immune function and increased susceptibility to respiratory infection are more common. In just 10 years, the occurrence of tick and mosquito vector-borne diseases has shot up over 1800%.