Friday, October 30, 2015

Climate change and the Gulf of Maine series concludes

Our six-day, seven-part series on the rapidly warming Gulf of Maine wraps up in today's Portland Press Herald with this story on what can and isn't being done to address the challenges here in Maine. I also wrote a companion story on the release yesterday of a new study in the journal Science linking the rapid warming of the gulf to the failure of its cod stock to recover.

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.

For those in Maine interested in learning more about the crisis in the world's oceans, I'm giving a talk on my first book, Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas, at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland at noon on November 19th. It's free and open to the public. There will be a book signing afterward held by the campus bookstore.

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.

[Update, 11/20/17: Two years later, the state has done very little to address the problem.]

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Talking with CBC, WCSCH-6 about Gulf of Maine and climate change

Mayday, our six day, seven part series on how climate change is affecting the Gulf of Maine, continues this morning in the Portland Press Herald with this story on how invasive species are taking advantage. Yesterday's story showed the ongoing retreat of many cold-loving native species.

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.

Mayday, which continues through Saturday, has its own landing page where you can find all the stories.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Climate Change and the Gulf of Maine, Parts 1 & 2

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.

The first story provides the overview, along with a sidebar on how, under outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canadian officials interfered with my attempts to communicate with government scientists there about their research.

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.

Readers of the series may also be interested in my first two books, Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas (which looks at the global crisis) and The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier (a cultural and environmental history of coastal Maine.)

I'll be speaking on Ocean's End at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, Maine November 19th.

[Update, 11/20/17: Two years later, the state has done very little to address the problem.]

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Reviewing Tom Gjelten's new book for the Washington Post

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.

NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten's new book, A Nation of Nations, examines the consequences for the country in general and for Fairfax County, Virginia in particular. I review the book in today's Washington Post.

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 Politico here.)

[Update, 10/21/15: The Denver Post picked up the review in their Sunday edition this week.]

[Update, 10/22/15: Australia's Financial Review has also reprinted the review.]

[Update. 10/26/15: The Kansas City Star as well.]

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Talking American Nations at Iowa State, October 6

For those of you in Iowa or covering the campaigns, I'll be speaking on American Nations at Iowa State University in Ames on October 6th.

The talk -- at 8 pm in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union -- is part of the university's National Affairs Series: When Values Are In Conflict, with co-sponsorship from ISU's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication (which, I was surprised to learn, is not named for Portland Press Herald managing editor Steve Greenlee.) It's free and open to the public. Details are here.

Can't make it? Don't despair: C-SPAN is taping the talk for future broadcast. [Update, 1/6/16: C-SPAN has broadcast the talk several times and has it available for viewing at their website.]

I was last in Iowa a year ago, speaking at Simpson College. Iowa Public Radio did this interview with me.

[Update, 10/16/15: Thanks to all who came; enjoyed the event. Here's the campus paper's coverage.]