Maine has thousands of miles of coastline and many small communities that rely heavily on fishing and tourism.
“Maine is a state that is deeply rooted in coastal culture. And it’s part of our traditions, part of our heritage, a huge part of our economy,” says Gayle Bowness of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.
But she says climate change threatens to disrupt coastal life.
Rising seas and extreme storms will cause increased flooding, erosion, and land loss. And rapidly warming ocean waters are shifting where different species of fish can thrive.
Bowness says people need to understand what’s going on and how they can adapt.
But she says many communities do not have the money or staff to dedicate to climate planning.
“So not just are we rural, but we’re really underresourced when it comes to thinking about what changes are to come, let alone what actions do we need to take because of those changes,” Bowness says.
So her group runs free workshops to help residents learn about their communities’ vulnerabilities and start planning how to respond.
“It can seem like this really uncharted territory,” she says. “We’re really looking to kind of break down those barriers and to help them get the conversation started.”
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media