Maine Nature

I’m back in Maine. We love the environment here. Ours is bountiful and beautiful.

It’s also a tremendous resource for our economy. The beauty of nature is one of the main reasons tourism is a big part of that — if our environment degrades, so too will our tourist economy. Our coastline connects us to a huge resource, the seafood for which we’re famous. The best lobster is Maine lobster, but everything to be had from the bounty of the ocean helps drive our economy forward, and helps feed the people of the world. The forest ecology and its abundant wildlife draw many, not just tourists from afar, but Mainers too.

Our environmentalists aren’t just liberal democrats or Greenpeace tree-huggers. Maine is one of few states where conservative republicans have a strong environmental base. For many, it’s the appeal of hunting, fishing, camping. For many others, it’s the economic value of forests, clean water in our lakes, the tremendous fishing industry. And perhaps for all Mainers, you just can’t live in this state without seeing how beautiful nature can be — and feeling, deep in your soul, our duty to preserve that for ourselves and our posterity.

Even our politicians get it, even the republicans. One of our U.S. Senators is Susan Collins, a republican. She’s also at the forefront of environmental protection. Our other senator, independent Angus King, might caucus with the democrats, but he and republican Collins have worked together on countless legislation to further preserve the health and beauty of all nature, not just in Maine but across the U.S. Their cooperation is a model for bi-partisan politics, and everybody benefits. Everybody. I’m proud of them.

When it comes to the issue of environmental protection, here in Maine we get it. Because we’ve got it.

The new administration of president-elect Donald Trump threatens to wreak havoc on our enviroment. The leader of the transition team for the EPA, Myron Ebell, is a climate denier who values dollars for the rich more than nature’s health and beauty for our kids. I think it’s fair to say that he threatens to turn the environmental protection agency into the environmental destruction agency.

The policies likely to come from a U.S. government controlled by the republican party, with utter disregard for preserving nature rather than squeezing every last penny from it, are foolish. They don’t seem to comprehend, let alone care, that we can’t get away with it — the laws enacted by destructive politicians matter nothing to the laws of physics and chemistry.

However much profit they may eke out of our rapidly dwindling resources, mother nature will have the last word. She can be so beautiful, so wonderful, as to inspire poets, but her wrath can be more fierce and terrible than anything we have even imagined. If we are her friend, her caretaker, her protector, she will sustain us with a beautiful life. If we disregard, or worse yet exploit her without the utmost respect, we’ll pay the price. She has the power, not us. She has the power to end us.

The Trump administration and its appointees seem eager to take from nature and give nothing back, not even to clean up the messes we make. But when it comes to nature, in Maine we show respect.

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7 responses to “Maine Nature

  1. Well, except for that LePage feller, who thinks it’s a good use of state money to send a threatening letter to the top donors to the Natural Resources Council of Maine. But, upside of that is they got a lot of incoming money as a result (including some from me).

  2. Great post, Tamino.

    My only disagreement is that Newfoundland lobster is better than Maine lobster! Colder, cleaner water.

  3. On the west coast of BC right now huge shoals of small fish have come inshore followed by hundreds of seals, diving birds, and gulls, some of them rather rare for the area. It is a cacophonous spectacle day after day of herds of seals swimming through shoals of fish and thousands of gulls swirling overhead diving and scooping up fish that get to close to the surface. People are saying they’ve lived there all their lives and haven’t seen anything like it. It is like watching a tornado of birds swirling in a funnel over the seals hunting pathways, and from a distance does look like a water devil.

    Not surprisingly the people here are also strongly in favour of environmental protection laws. When people have these kind of connections or experiences with nature they are more likely to look after it, and it also brings them together from disparate backgrounds. It feels good to watch people from multiple ethnic groups unite and chat with complete strangers about what they’re witnessing.

    That type of mixing of people united by a marvel of nature is the sort of thing you really want all your politicians to attend. Maybe they’d come away determined to protect what we have left, and more able to work with different parties productively.

    • Probably mostly anchovies, and it’s been happening for three years now further south, for instance the central california coast, where I now live. It’s connected with the “warm blob” from two years past, last year’s El Niño, and the re-establishment of warm water again (after spring upwelling driven by strong El Niño winds cooled things off in Monterey Bay and the nearby offshore waters) has brought anchovies back in the bay again, though not in numbers seen the last two years.

      This isn’t necessarily healthy, as anchovies are thought to prefer cooler waters, and spawning numbers offshore don’t appear to be at healthy levels. It’s confusing, though, we live in interesting times etc.

      The problem here is that the spectacle of the last three years is in some sense a false positive, appearing to signal ecosystem health when it’s quite likely it’s something different.

      We’ve also seen masses of common dolphins in Monterey Bay, where they are typically unusual and show up for short periods of time, only. From April of 2014 through early 2016 large groups of up to a couple thousand individuals were seen on average on about 90% of whale watching trips led on the Bay. This is a species common further south off Santa Barbara, and worldwide in warmer waters like the Mediterranean. Fun, but not right. Meanwhile, our more typical Risso’s dolphins largely disappeared, but with sightings shifting further north (seen in SE Alaska for the first time in recorded history). And Risso’s only became common in Monterey Bay in the 1980s or 70s or so (not exactly sure when). And our other common species like pacific white-sided dolphins and northern right whale dolphins have mostly been absent the past three years, other than a month or so last spring during the upwelling period when they were findable not far outside the bay, once again.

      Change, change, change.

  4. Which other Republican senators are onboard with the environmental movement? With the upcoming Louisiana senate election run-off, and a plausible 51:49 (or even if 52:48) split in the senate, it’s possible that a barrier to EPA deregulation can be built there.

  5. Welcome home!!

  6. Permanent, or just visiting?

    In other news, with the Arctic warm and not freezing up, Siberia has double the baseline snow — and the Himalayas has far less than normal. I don’t know much at all about this data nor trends, but here’s a source: