I'll be speaking on the crisis in the world's oceans -- climate change and all -- this Thursday, November 19th at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, Maine.
The event, held in their HUB Athletic Center at 119 Fort Road, kicks off at noon. It's free and open to the public and I hear there will be a book signing afterward.
Regular readers will be familiar with "Mayday," my recent six-day Portland Press Herald series on climate change and the Gulf of Maine. Longstanding ones may know that I traveled the world in the late 1990s, reporting on oceans issues for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Chronicle of Higher Education while researching my first book, Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas. The talk draws from this experience, and from subsequent reporting around the world -- including from Greenland, the Baltic, Adriatic, Iceland and close to home.
My next public speaking event on the schedule is in early April, 2016, at the Boston Athenæum, where I'll be talking about what will then be my newly published book. American Character. There's a book tour coming up in March, though, so expect more events posted at my booktour page in the coming weeks.
As we digest the horrible attacks in France and Lebanon yesterday, I've been thinking a lot about both Paris and Pleasant Point, Maine today. Regarding ISIS, who appear at this writing to be responsible for the attack, I highly recommend this Graeme Wood article from The Atlantic's March 2015 edition.
As for Pleasant Point, readers of "Unsettled", the 29-part series I wrote for the Portland Press Herald on the harrowing recent history of Maine's Passamaquoddy tribe, will recall the horrific murder 1965 murder of Peter Francis by five white hunters. That killing -- for which the perpetrators were allowed to walk away from -- happened fifty years ago today.
My thoughts are with the families of Peter Francis and the late Christy Altvater, who was brutally beaten in the attack, and who celebrated the two men's lives in a ceremony there today. The Francis family continues to seek justice for the killing, as four of the five Billerica, Massachusetts hunters who were involved in the attack remain alive.. (The fifth, amazingly, has a scholarship named after him at Billerica High School.) Don Gellers, the attorney who blew the whistle on local authorities' mishandling of the case and ultimately paid a terrible price for representing Indians in Maine, died just over a year ago.
While researching the series, my reporting efforts were repeatedly interfered with by Canadian officials tasked with preventing government scientists from freely communicating information about their research with journalists. The controversial policies -- implemented by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's administration -- had been condemned by the scientific community at home and abroad and had become a campaign issue in this October's federal elections.
Yesterday's installment focused on the baleful effects of ocean acidification already being visited on clams, mussels, oysters and other commercial shellfish species in the state. Wednesday's focused on the expanding range and population of warm water invaders like green crabs, blue crabs (!), squid, black sea bass, and some unplesant tunicates.
The full series, entitled Mayday: Gulf of Maine in Distress, can be found at this landing page at the Press Herald.
Thanks also to CBC-New Brunswick and WCSH-6 here in Maine for their interest in the series, and also to New Brunswick's largest paper, the Saint John Telegraph-Journal, which I understand plans to republish the entire series in their print editions.
Thanks to photographer Greg Rec, designer Brian Robitaille, web designer Karen Beaudoin managing editor Steve Greenlee, graphics designer Michael Fisher, and my other Press Herald colleagues for helping create such a powerful package.
Yesterday, I spoke with CBC-New Brunswick's prime time "Shift" program about how Canadian officials hindered my reporting of the series by blocking access to marine scientists. The interview is now available here.
I also spoke with Pat Callaghan of WCSH-6, Maine's flagship NBC affiliate, about the ongoing series. Here's that segment as well, which ran yesterday evening.
For the past ten years, the Gulf of Maine has warmed more rapidly than anyplace else in the world's oceans, save for a section of the Kuroshio Current northeast of Japan, with 2012 the hottest year on record since observations began in the Civil War era. The effects have been manifold and sobering, particularly when you consider that even at the more gradual projected warming rates, 2012-like conditions will be the "new normal" by mid-century.
For the past few months, I've been at work on a multi-part series on this issue for the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, where I'm a staff writer. The resulting series -- seven stories over six days reported from across the region -- kicked off in this week's Telegram.
Today's story -- Part 2 of 6 -- is on concerns over how warming will effect the sort-of "krill of the gulf", a copepod species that most everything else int he food chain ultimately depends on. Puffins and right whales are among our canaries.
"Mayday" has its own landing page where the additional stories will be posted as they come out.
Fifty years ago, the United States liberalized its immigration regime, doing away with the racist reforms of 1924, which sought to prevent the country from becoming more diverse. Remarkably, neither proponents nor critics of the 1965 reforms sought to increase the country's racial and ethnic diversity; on the contrary, both camps argued the changes would not have this effect.
For readers of American Nations: Gjelten's detailed case study of Fairfax County provides ample evidence that at least this corner of Tidewater is likely transforming into something that looks and sounds an awful lot like the Midlands, and Fairfax's experience is likely replicated across much of fast-growing northern Virginia.
My last review for the Post was of former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary Eleni Kounalakis's memoir of her years in Budapest, watching Hungary fall under the shadow of its autocratic leader, Viktor Orban (who I wrote about for Politicohere.)
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting. My fifth book, American Character, comes out in March 2016.