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.”


River of Words Tributary Workshop: ADDITIONAL WORKSHOP in South County!

Workshop leader: Susana Gardner

Location: Narragansett Beach, meeting at Lifeguard Chair #1

Workshop date: Saturday, November 15th, 11 am start time

Open to the public: yes; must be able to walk comfortably on sand. Please bring a blanket/many layers in case it’s cold!

Contact: dusieli AT gmail DOT com for questions, directions, and inclement weather instructions.

Closest water: Narragansett Bay

International Coastal Cleanup: September 20th

Everyone who talked with me at the booth about trash: here’s a chance to make sure there’s (slightly) less of it in the ocean!

Save the Bay is coordinating RI’s coastal cleanup and you can sign up here. There’s a list of sites so you can choose one that’s easy for you to get to.

Especially if you live near the coast, this would be a great thing for you to do. I can’t do it because I’ve already committed to going to the People’s Climate March in NYC the following day, which — if you can get into NYC — would also be a great thing for you to do. 


BONUS MATERIAL from the Washington County Fair: The Map

The map is a map of Rhode Island. It’s not exactly a cartographer’s dream.

wcf817 - most of map

A few people who talked with me when I did the booth in Kennedy Plaza added their cherished places to an earlier incarnation of the map, but most didn’t. I wanted to make it more inviting and easier to understand, so on the second day of the fair, under “PUT YOUR WORRIES ON THE MAP” I wrote on it “IS THERE A PLACE IN RI YOU LOVE?” It turned out that there was.

People marked Ell Pond, Beach Pond, Arcadia, Pond, the Fair itself, Narragansett Salt Pond and Narragansett Beach (with a +1), Galilee. They wrote, “Protect the piping plovers at East Beach!” and “I want the birds to be safe!”

wcf817 - bottom of map 2


People marked Beaver Tail, the Save the Bay Exploration Center, Thibeault’s on Rose Island, their home, Newport Folk Fest, and their grandparents’ house.



wcf817 - lower right map


They marked Prudence Island, because they loved being the only person there.

wcf817 - prudence island on map


They marked Warwick (“So many people!”) and a view of the bay.

wcf817 - prov and bay on map


“Camping in Exeter” got a +1. Someone wrote “W.G. Maggie and Dad,” someone wrote “Greene RI.” Someone marked and drew a “beautiful tiny grove in the woods” near their home; someone circled “all of South County.”

wcf817 - middle left of map


For humans to protect a place, even out of love, is vexed, not simple. Protect what about it? Protect it from whom or what? What do you keep in, keep out? Who or what does protecting it harm or deprive? What role does money/power play in control/access? How do the visible stories tie into secret stories, and what are the different ways “value” and “use” come into play? How much do the protective ones, the ones who are up in arms, know about the place and what it needs (to survive) and wants (to thrive)?

In this excerpt from his book Don’t Even Think About It, which you can expect me to refer to again (though not always uncritically), George Marshall argues that tying discussions of global warming and climate change to the environmental movement is limiting and inaccurate: “DROP THE ECO-STUFF,” he exhorts, because “climate change does not belong to environmentalists and is not even environmental. Of course, it includes environmental concerns and impacts, but it is so much bigger than that.” The language of “saving the planet”, he says, the references to polar bears, make the work of mitigating climate change sound too distant, too noble, or too large for people to see themselves as actors for good or ill. He stresses, among other things, immediacy.

The places we live are immediate — we’re in them, they’re in us — and this is true whether they heal us or harm us or both. The Environmental Justice League of RI, where the first round of donations went, demonstrates the need for attention to place, to site, as strongly as does the South Kingstown Land Trust, where the second round of donations went.* And while I’m reluctant to draw too many large-scale conclusions from what people say and do at the booth — to put it gently, this is a low-methodology project — I think people often understand ecologies through places, their places, whether their places treat them like gold or like garbage. More about this to follow.

*You should all feel totally free to send money to either or both of those organizations, or the equivalents in your own cities or towns, and let me know about it — I will sing your praises here.