Need convincing about why we should have hope as we tackle Coastal Resiliency? Michael Kimmelman shows and tells us what Rotterdam is doing. Succeeding in dealing with rising seas, “The Dutch Have Solutions to Rising Seas. The World Is Watching.”
ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands — The wind over the canal stirred up whitecaps and rattled cafe umbrellas. Rowers strained toward a finish line and spectators hugged the shore. Henk Ovink, hawkish, wiry, head shaved, watched from a V.I.P. deck, one eye on the boats, the other, as usual, on his phone.
Mr. Ovink is the country’s globe-trotting salesman in chief for Dutch expertise on rising water and climate change. Like cheese in France or cars in Germany, climate change is a business in the Netherlands. Month in, month out, delegations from as far away as Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, New York and New Orleans make the rounds in the port city of Rotterdam. They often end up hiring Dutch firms, which dominate the global market in high-tech engineering and water management.
That’s because from the first moment settlers in this small nation started pumping water to clear land for farms and houses, water has been the central, existential fact of life in the Netherlands, a daily matter of survival and national identity. No place in Europe is under greater threat than this waterlogged country on the edge of the Continent. Much of the nation sits below sea level and is gradually sinking. Now climate change brings the prospect of rising tides and fiercer storms. Read more
SAFE is excited to be presenting SSCW Exec. Dir. Barbara Warren speaking on the topic of coastal resiliency at the SSCW headquarters at 12 Federal St., Salem. Audience limited to 30! To reserve your seat email salemSAFE@gmail.com and you will receive an email confirmation.
by Pat Gozemba
Our esteemed co-chair and Salem icon Jeff has left town, but he is not forgotten. Join SAFE in honoring him at the Hawthorne on Nov. 12 from 5:30-7:30. Tickets are available online Honoring Jeff Barz Snell or you can mail a check made out to SAFE to Treasurer David Rowand at 109 Columbus Ave. Salem, MA 01970. Costs on flyer. Please spread the word!
Salem Board of Health Speaks Out on Health Effects of Proposed Gas Infrastructure
by Patricia A. Gozemba
Salem cares about the health and safety effects of gas leaks. The Salem Board of Health on July 10th joined 67 other municipalities in Massachusetts in voting to send a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker making these specific recommendations for state action:
- Do not authorize new natural gas infrastructure projects in Massachusetts until and unless adequate data have been gathered to allow making a valid health impact assessment specific to each project.
- When the above data have been gathered, require a comprehensive health impact assessment before permitting any gas infrastructure project, following the American Medical Association and Massachusetts Medical Society policies to that effect.
- Do not allow any new natural gas infrastructure in the state that primarily serves to export natural gas, if it subjects state residents even to small health effects.
- Review current regulations, both state and federal, for existing and new pipelines and other natural gas infrastructure. Put in place additional state regulations needed to improve safety of the infrastructure and containment of pipeline contents.
- Consider renewable alternatives to natural gas such as solar and wind reducing our reliance on fossil fuels which add to global warming.
The Sierra Club of Massachusetts is coordinating the campaign to emphasize health and safety as communities like Salem grapple with an inordinate number of gas leaks in our city streets. In 2016, National Grid reported to the MA Department of Public Utilities that Salem had 62 gas leaks but SAFE teamed up with Bob Ackley owner of Gas Safety Inc., who in August 2016 demonstrated that Salem had 232 gas leaks
Part of our concern with gas leaks focused on dead and dying trees and that still is an issue, however, we need to consider how human health is also affected by leaking gas. SAFE will now turn to examining how much of the fugitive gas ends up in our homes and how it affects common illnesses like asthma. Stay tuned.