Fighting Fossil Fuels in RI this Monday and Tuesday

On Monday, November 27th, the Energy Facility Siting Board is holding a hearing about the fossil-fuel-burning, water-hungry power plant that Invenergy wants to build in the forests of Northern RI. If you don’t think they should build it, please come and say so on a sign. The hearing is at 10am on 11/27, in Hearing Room A, Public Utilities Commission, 89 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI. 

On Tuesday, November 28th is the second Coastal Resources Management Council hearing for the fracked-gas liquefaction plant that National Grid wants to build in a neighborhood inhabited by working-class people of color. Members of the community can speak at this hearing, so come and speak out against this facility. This hearing is at 5pm on 11/28, in the Department of Administration Cafeteria, One Capitol Hill, Providence, RI.

Let’s refuse these projects, which will hurt us and everyone.



Snap the Shore, See the Future: 9/28-30 and 10/28-29

A chance to see and show the rising tide, from the Rhode Island Sea Grant:

“September and October have the highest predicted tides of this year, with Rhode Island tides running 1.5 times higher than average. Head to the shore on September 28-30 and October 28-29, 2015 and join the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, URI Coastal Resources Center and Save The Bay to capture this year’s highest tides, often called King Tides, Spring Tides or Moon Tides. These extreme tide levels provide a glimpse of what the state can expect as sea level rise accelerates with climate change, where this could be our daily high tide by mid-century. Participating is easy: simply grab your camera or smart phone and head to the bay, tidal river or ocean during the high tides, install the free MyCoast app (links below) and submit your photos!

If you don’t have access to a smart phone, simply go to and upload your photos on the website.

All times indicated are for Newport (for other locations see below):

Sept 288:20 AM; 1.4 feet above mean high water
Sept 299:11 AM; 1.5 feet above mean high water
Sept 3010:02 AM; 1.5 feet above mean high water
Tide data provided courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

What if I don’t live in Newport?

Check online for your local high tide times. For example, high tide varies at different locations, referenced to Newport High Tide:

Newport: 0 minutes
Wickford +3 minutes
Providence: +13 minutes
Weekapaug: +41 minutes
Bristol: +13 minutes
Block Island – Old Harbor: -13 minutes

If you are in enclosed tidal body or salt pond, the tides can be an hour or more later than in the open ocean/bay.”

Full Disclosure

I went to the Metcalf Institute’s Data Visualization Workshop yesterday, and so did a bunch of other people: it was neat to be there with oceanographers, designers, marine biologists, people from the EPA and the Coastal Resources Management Council, and people like me doing independent projects. I got to see Kathie Florsheim, whose project Living on the Edge and whose conversation at the beginning of Climate Anxiety Counseling helped shape it. Lynsy Smithson-Stanley, who worked on the climate change campaign for the Audubon Society, and sculptor Nathalie Miebach, who makes sculptures out of data, helped me think about how to get information and ideas all the way from the world, through someone’s mind, into someone else’s mind and back out into the world.

But my major takeaway from this workshop is that listening to people, working together, and agreeing on a plan of action–just agreeing! Not even doing it!–is slow.

After some panels and talks and things, people formed groups to do an exercise:

1) Look at this information about climate change in Narragansett Bay.

2) Choose an element of it.

3) Decide who you want to understand it that element and what you want them to do in response.

4) Based on all of that, decide how to present the information to them.

Well. These were all people who acknowledge climate change and its effects as present, complex, far-reaching, and frightening; people who are already working to respond to it well, and were there because they want to be doing more. I had to leave after an hour to go teach my class, and my group still hadn’t decided what element of information they wanted to talk about to whom.

In a way, an hour–or two hours, which is how long the workshops were–is nothing, a tiny shard of time in which to get from “this complex thing, intertwined with a bunch of other complex things, is happening” to “here’s what I want you, specific group of people, to know and do about it.” But two hours were what we had.

I, at least, had a lot of trouble finding the sweet spot between “doing it right” and “doing it soon” that’s crucial when time is short. I also know that without listening to what somebody thinks is important, you don’t have a chance of adding anything to their list of important things. That was true within our group of real humans sitting there, as true as it was for the hypothetical humans to whom we would have presented our hypothetical data campaign.

As I move into the next phase of Climate Anxiety Counseling, I’ll build in what Kathie said about evidence being necessary to move beyond narrative, what Lynsy said about deciding what I want the people who talk to me to tell someone elsewhat Nathalie said about how presenting information changes it. I also want to build in what I learned about false starts, dead ends, ways to fail, and the need to listen through frustration in my group’s first hour. Maybe they came up with something amazing after I left. Maybe I was the problem.