To the editor: Candice Spector’s single source article published on Aug. 1 about climate change benefiting the blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay neglects to mention what else Thomas Miller, the director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science said in an interview. “If blue crabs are active year-round, they’re probably also feeding year-round. It’s almost like we’re adding another predator to the Chesapeake Bay and we really don’t understand how the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem will respond to that.”
Warmer water temperatures may also have negative impacts on resources that are good for crabs, according to Anson Hines, director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater. This includes underwater grasses in which crabs hide from predators, along with their own major food source, clams, which might not survive the warmth.
While it’s good that we have moved beyond outright denial of climate change, and interesting to see a positive spin on future climate predictions, its bizarre that we are engaging in the risky behavior of changing our climate. The recent stability of the climate is what has allowed us to live on this planet for our current short tenure, and the instability of the climate is not something to be desired or celebrated.
It’s important to learn about how our changing climate may affect us and other animals but dangerous to insinuate that our changing climate is good for animals or our economy.
We must be honest and acknowledge what we know is happening to nature and our local businesses due to climate change.
A study published at National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine says warming waters reduce oyster growth, the survival of their important reefs and filtration rates, all keys to keeping a healthy Bay.
Scott Budden, president of Orchard Point Oyster Co., stated at the recent public panel discussion that both too much rain fall and drought can negatively affect both farmed and wild oysters. Drought creates more salinity in the water which harmful diseases proliferate in, and sudden freshets in the Bay significantly slow the growth rate of oysters and can even kill them.
Let’s keep looking at the big picture. I think it’s very dangerous to celebrate our changing climate as our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did when he commented on the Arctic melting as positive because it opens new opportunities for trade. Marine geophysicist Robin Bell of Columbia University’s Earth Institute said for Scientific American Magazine, "The 150-foot tall Statue of Liberty could be completely submerged within a matter of decades."
We need to discuss ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions causing these warmer waters, melting glaciers and increased sea level. We need to hold our elected leaders accountable to act in passing legislation that will do so.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 in the House of Representatives now is the best first step. It stimulates our economy by putting a price on carbon.
If we act now, we may be able to maintain our coastal regions and culture and keep our economy really thriving.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Chestertown chapter leader