Oct 28, 2009

Angus King calls for energy isolationism at Maine Coastal Waters Conference

Wednesday's Maine Coastal Waters Conference, in a high end conference hall that squats atop what  once was the Ducktrap Deeryard, was cool.

Audio mp3s of speakers at  event Click Here

Keynote speaker didn't make it: Monica Medina, Sr Advisor to NOAA's Administrator, was taken ill yesterday. But folks said good things about her.

This gave the next speaker, ex-Governor Angus King, plenty of time to dole out his usual heaping serving of what one can only call  energy isolationism.  Non-Maine-originated energy is consumed instate to the tune of 2.5 billion dollars per year. "And we get nothing in return!" King declared, as if the use by Mainers of all that energy for  heat, transportation, light, computing, health services, entertainments etc,  is somehow "nothing".  King compared Canada to Malaysia,  drawing similarities between the pipeline importing  natural gas  to the US from Canada  and  the pipeline supplying about 40% of  the island of Singapore's freshwater  from its mainland neighbor.  Lacking lakes or rivers, Singapore is setting  up desalinization and more rain catchments and water recycling  plants to supply itself with its own water;  King seems to think  Mainers should view Canadians as seeking to control our energy; we must patriotically cover our state's lands and waters with windfarms to protect ourselves from the Menace from the North.

King finally ran out of gas, and University of California scientist Susanne Moser followed.  Her topic: how to communicate climate change to the masses. Her suggestion - sort your audience and tailor your comments thusly: are your listeners: Alarmed/Concerned/Cautious/Disengaged/Doubtful or Dismissive of Global Climate Change? Figure it out, then speak using their belief system, their values.  

For a national campaign, Dr Moser said,  what must be communicated is: Urgency, Empowerment, Unity,Visibility, Results, Practicality, and the existence of Supportive and Enabling Policies.  

One of the challenges facing the campaigner is that fact that, even if  the world's humans  stopped all burning of coal and petrol tomorrow, there would be NO NOTICEABLE DROP IN THE ATMOSPHERE'S CO2  LEVELS  FOR ABOUT ONE THOUSAND YEARS.

Hard to do the "urgency thing" armed with that statistic!

 Sick of energy peddlers and doomsaying, I sought refuge in the Marshall Point Room, where a  talk was held on "Community participation in in the management and conservation of coastal ecosystems". 

Here former DMR ecology director John Sowles, Paul Dest, director of Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Mark DesMeules of the Damariscotta Watershed Association. This was more my style/

"I don't like the words "Marine Protected Area" Sowles said.  But he has taken part in "bay management" of  Maine's Taunton Bay, a small bay a wee bit downeast of Mount Desert Island,

Paul Dest - a happy man - as anyone who runs an estuarine research reserve must be - explained the town by town negotiations under the Mt. Agamenticus to the Sea program that has protected much land in the surprisingly unspoiled six town watershed of Maine's southern border area, from Mt A to the Gulf of Maine. It is not easy to get town governments to commit time and energy to areas beyond their municipal limits, Dest said, yet this is absolutely necessary if one is to have watershed level management. The burden is on the activist, not the towns, to carry this out.

More later.  Nice chow & good coffee at the event. 100s of anthropocentrists.

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