I live on Higgins Beach, in Scarborough, Maine. Maine itself relies heavily on the ocean and its beautiful coastline for tourism, the seafood industry and a balanced ecosystem, and the changes to the ocean pH and sea levels could have a devastating effect on those living close to the water, as well as the economy.
Recently, I have personally seen some worrying changes to Higgins beach, even over the last few years. We have had two large minke whales wash ashore in the last two summers, and higher tides have caused erosion to vital dunes that provide a habitat for important species such as the Piping Plover, as well as erosion of people’s lawns that are right against the high tide line. This summer, we were missed by the most recent hurricane that came up the east coast, but the storm swell caused waves to crash over the road that runs parallel to the water. We even had 6 great white shark sightings off of Maine’s coast last summer, and one deadly attack, which is incredibly worrying since the water temperatures have not typically been warm enough to attract sharks of that size, and we have never had a deadly shark attack in recent history.
It is important to continue to fight for increased regulation of fossil fuels and other carbon releasing processes that are causing the acidification and warming of our oceans. Many coastal communities in our country still rely heavily on the ocean environment for their economies, sustenance and wellbeing. Being home this year instead of in the city has reminded me of how important the work being done in environmental law is, especially for communities like mine where the ocean is deeply engrained into so many people’s lives.
This piece was written by Magill Lamarre, a student in Environmental Law.