Tuesday, October 20, 2015

No safe port for the storms of climate change?

My Better Half is at a conference in Duluth for a few days. She reports today that the big lake has "visible whitecaps and breaking waves far out on the lake." Her message reminded me that it's getting to be time to dig out my CD of Gordon Lightfoot's songs with The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald on it. (When she gets home, I'll have to thank her for the inspiration for today's posting.)

rain squall, Lake Superior's south shore
Photo by J. Harrington
The current constriction of the international steel markets may be reducing the iron ore being shipped through Duluth. Although much (all?) of that is headed for domestic markets, I keep reading about "foreign steel dumping." Continuing reductions in coal burning, needed to respond to climate change, will also reduce transshipments of that cargo I imagine. On the other hand, increased development of wind power will probably bring more turbine pieces through the port for the foreseeable future. I've seen the blades being hauled up the hill on I-35 just south of Duluth. I've never seen one unloaded though or even seen one on a ship. That's something to keep my eyes open for when I visit in the future.

freighter headed to Duluth Harbor
Photo by J. Harrington
I grew up in a port city, Boston, which is facing a future imperiled by rising sea levels. Follow this link. The Inner Harbor is comparable to Duluth. Scroll down to the Dorchester Section. The beach I swam from as a teenager will be lost. Further south by about forty miles, in Marshfield, the neighborhood in which I lived just before moving to Minnesota will be underwater (literally, not just mortgages) with a four foot rise in sea level. Climate change is really starting to hit home. My past is going to be washed out to sea, just the opposite of what the folks around Lake Superior can expect, according to the folks at Sea Grant.

For Edwin Wilson

By A. R. Ammons 

Did wind and wave design the albatross's wing,
honed compliances: or is it effrontery to
suggest that the wing designed the gales and

seas: are we guests here, then, with all the
gratitude and soft-walking of the guest:
provisions and endurances of riverbeds,

mountain shoulders, windings through of tulip
poplar, grass, and sweet-frosted foxgrape:
are we to come into these and leave them as

they are: are the rivers in us, and the slopes,
ours that the world's imitate, or are we
mirrorments merely of a high designing aloof

and generous as a host to us: what would
become of us if we declined and staked out
a level affirmation of our own: we wind

the brook into our settlement and husband the
wind to our sails and blades: what is to
be grateful when let alone to itself, as for

a holiday in naturalness: the albatross, ah,
fishes the waves with a will beyond the
waves' will, and we, to our own doings, put

down the rising of sea or mountain slope: except
we do not finally put it down: still, till
the host appears, we'll make the masters here.

Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.