I grew up on the water—or, more accurately, in the water. My Irish-Italian family didn’t own a boat, but the North Atlantic was a few hundred yards down the street, and outside of Woody Woodpecker, nothing could keep the neighborhood kids from Rocky Beach. This was in Scituate, Massachusetts—the Irish Riviera, the South Shore—about 26 miles from Boston.
We didn’t have a skiff, but we had a rock that we swam out to. As it emerged from the tide, it looked like an elephant’s back, so Elephant Rock. Whale Rock was farther out from Rocky Beach. The world was how it appeared back then. Somebody in our crew usually had a dive mask, and we’d take turns going to the bottom to snatch green crabs. Later, we fashioned spears out of broomsticks and trident tips from the tackle shop. Surgical tubing, tough to get during the heroin epidemic—the Keith Richards epidemic—added propulsion. Later still, as a college kid returning home, I would cruise the coastline in a wetsuit and snorkeling gear chasing flounder in the sand bars with a slightly improved pole spear. This was the 1970s and ’80s.
Dark, murky, cold, and nothing Jacques Cousteau would bother to film, the undersea world off Rocky Beach before climate change is nevertheless implanted in my mind. So when my son and I returned to visit family and spearfish last summer, I could contrast the coastal ecosystem then and now. Snapshots in time, 40 years apart.
The first thing you notice isn’t visual. That initial dip of the mask is less debilitating. Now we’ll often find balmy water typical of Cape Cod Bay but never the Rocky Beach of old. Scituate fronts the open Atlantic, and eddies of the Labrador Current pool offshore. But this region of ocean is seeing some of the most rapid temperature swings on the planet—roughly eight degrees Fahrenheit at the shoreline since the 1970s.
Lobsters are one bellwether of that spike. As kids, we’d tie truck-tire tubes together and haul wooden traps out 50 yards for a neighbor who had a ten-trap license but no boat. It was highly successful, if stupidly dangerous in hindsight. Traps and ropes kill professional lobstermen on boats. Still, we routinely pulled in keepers, working the shallows that the lobstermen couldn’t safely access. Back then, lobsters thrived in six to 12 feet of water off Massachusetts.
Today, as we snorkeled, I noticed the lobster buoys were farther out. Curious as to why, I later asked a commercial fisherman friend from Gloucester. He surmised that striped bass, which had returned to Massachusetts and Maine in the ensuing decades, were hammering molting lobster in the shadows. He was only partly right. Lobsters are moving to deeper, colder water, part of a larger migration that’s seeing them head offshore and farther north with each passing year. In three days, Jake and I didn’t spot a single lobster in the same rock gardens where I would frequently corner them as late as the early 1990s.
As for the stripers, they were always around Scituate for a few weeks in high summer, but now they’re common most of summer. They too are migrating north from the warm Mid-Atlantic shorelines where they spawn. It’s estimated that striped bass have increased their numbers by 300 percent off eastern Canada, where they’re now competing with Atlantic salmon. Just past the Rocky Beach shorebreak last summer, Jake and I rolled on our backs at the bottom and watched as wolf-pack-size schools of stripers marauded the shallows above us in a flash of silver bolts.
This is a sign of both ocean health—rapid adaptation—and the challenges species face as habitat changes and newcomers arrive ready to fill vacuums. It’s humans that lag. It’s estimated that climate change and fish migrations will cut global fishing revenues by $10 billion by 2050.
Simply walk up and glance at the ocean like a tourist, though, and it’s easy to believe nothing has changed, which is often the case with recognizing climate change elsewhere in the world. We have to pause and reflect. The time-lapse cameras of our memory—balky as they are—help. I’ve witnessed that firsthand skiing receding glaciers in Europe over the past 15 years. But my inner camera has been documenting changes for far longer. In the late 1980s, just as human-caused climate change was first being registered, I was skiing corn snow in the Colorado Rockies. Today, winter is shorter by two weeks, and the corn cycle, which requires warm days and cold nights for the freeze/thaw to transform the snowpack, is far less dependable. We simply see fewer cold nights in March and April. You can’t tell from a distance if the corn is in; as with the change in the ocean, you have to experience it up close. And once you’re there, it’s obvious that we’re losing winter.
Not that you could possibly miss other harbingers. Increasingly, if you recreate outside, climate change is your face. The pine beetle epidemic has turned western lodgepole pine forests first to rust and then to fallen trunks blocking the trails. Bitter-cold temperatures in deep winter used to kill pine beetles, but they shrug off today’s mild freezes. That gradual warming has resulted in skiers seeing their season shrink by more than a month since the 1970s, fly-fishers experiencing the loss of some trout species in rivers that have become too hot to support them, and boaters experiencing diminished whitewater runs.
And then there are the megafires. As a graduate student in Montana with an environmental journalism bend, I researched the future of fire in the West. This was the late 1990s. At the time, biologists were still hopeful that large-scale fuel reduction (humans selectively cutting trees) could mitigate wildfires after a century of suppression. Today, landscape-scale restoration is a delusion. The West, which is three degrees hotter than it would be without human-caused climate change, will have to burn itself out. Every degree acts exponentially on wildfires. Fire ecologists now tell us that if the West warms by another three degrees, forest fires will double in size and frequency. Last summer, more than a million acres burned in Montana alone, and British Columbia saw its biggest fire season in recorded history. Climate change, in this case, is not an esoteric theory discernible only by scientific instruments or the depth of your memory—it’s a crown fire driven by gale-force winds.
That esoteric science, however, is just as scary. When hurricanes strike the coast, or when we see extreme localized rain events—like the one that killed eight and cost more than a billion dollars in damages near my Boulder home—our first reaction is to say that hurricanes and floods happened historically, and that’s true. But it’s the intensity of the storms that the burning of fossil fuels has changed. Warmer waters in the gulf and warmer (and therefore wetter) air everywhere fuel such events, and now science is coming close to proving it.
Not that we need to wait for that evidence and our internal cameras to catch up. You simply have to observe nature. Up close, the world, like the waters off my childhood beach, is still as it appears. Warming rapidly, but adaptable and resilient. If only we could move as quickly to limit our assault on it.
Organisers of the 2018 WNT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, Unipublic, announced Thursday that they have increased the event to a two-day stage race after adding a team time trial the day ahead of the original circuit race. The event has also moved back two weeks and will now take place on September 15 and 16.
This year's Madrid Challenge will mark the penultimate race on the 2018 Women's WorldTour.
The racing will begin on September 15 with a 14-kilometre team time trial on a completely closed course in the Boadilla del Monte area of Madrid.
The new stage will no doubt attract many teams that are looking for a final tune-up ahead of the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships held in late September in Austria.
On September 16, the peloton will once again take on the circuit race in downtown Madrid that will include 17 laps (two more than last year) on a 5.8km circuit around the iconic Plaza Cibeles, Paseo de la Castellana, Plaza de Colon, Gran Via and the Prado Museum.
Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, originally scheduled to take place on September 3, has hosted a women's circuit race in conjunction with the men's Vuelta a España for three years.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com
The United States has a long and rich history of welcoming generations of immigrants who have enhanced our country and our culture by contributing their talents, traditions, and entrepreneurial spirit. It saddens me to see how our current immigration system—broken and in desperate need of reform—contradicts these long-standing commitments to diversity and equality.
Vail Resorts runs 14 world-class mountains, including 12 across the United States. In each of our communities, there are significant populations of undocumented immigrants. These people, many of whom have resided here for years, have added tremendous economic and cultural value to our country. Yet, without the opportunity to work legally, these individuals are forced to live in uncertainty and fear, instead of being treated as full members of our communities.
Like other businesses in the travel and tourism industry, our company relies on seasonal workforces to fill a variety of essential guest-facing and back-of-house positions, from lift operators and ski instructors to cooks and housekeepers. Despite significant efforts, we are consistently unable to fill all these seasonal positions with domestic workers, in many cases due to a shortage of affordable housing in our communities. And yet we are unable to hire undocumented workers who are already a part of local towns and cities, live near our resorts, and are highly qualified candidates.
Consequently, our resorts have sought and hired international workers through federal visa programs. Our communities are greatly enhanced by the diversity, and our business benefits from having staff who can speak other languages, understand different cultures, and provide a welcoming, supportive environment for our international guests. One of the most valuable exports the United States can offer the world is tourism, attracting travelers from other countries to our cities, beaches, mountain resorts, and other amazing sights. This international workforce is a critical part of supporting it.
However, without comprehensive immigration reform, American companies will likely be unable to continue their current pace of growth. The near-historic low unemployment rate means that the workforce that many existing and growing businesses need is simply not here. Past proposals considered by Congress would have increased the GDP, reduced the federal deficit, and bolstered many industries, including tourism. The Center for American Progress estimates that proposals to provide a path to citizenship for just one segment of the undocumented population—undocumented youth, or DREAMers—have the potential to add more than $300 billion to the American economy by 2030 and create more than 1.4 million jobs. These are game-changing figures for our country.
While the environment for reform remains contentious and challenging, we must continue our demand for comprehensive change. It’s necessary to bring greater security to our economy, to support all the people who contribute to it, and to uphold our enduring American values.
Vail Resorts, like many businesses, strongly supports immigration reform and the signal it would send to the world that all the people in our communities, documented or not, and all the brave and ambitious employees who work at our company, domestic or international, are welcome and valued in the United States.
Greg Van Avermaet and Simon Gerrans will lead the BMC Racing team at the next Hammer Series three-day event that starts Friday in Limburg, Netherlands. It will be Van Avermaet's first time competing in the series.
The Hammer Series begins with the Climb on June 1, followed by the Sprint on June 2 and the final Chase event on June 3.
"I am looking forward to experiencing the Hammer Series race format for the first time," Van Avermaet said in a team press release.
"From what I've seen, it is going to be an intense three days of racing but hopefully a lot of fun as well. It's a different dynamic going into a race where the aim is to score points as a team and overall, I think we have a good mix of riders lining up so we will be aiming to make the most out of it."
Teams are permitted to field a roster of seven riders, but only five riders are chosen to start in each event. BMC Racing's team will also include Jürgen Roelandts, Miles Scotson, Nathan Van Hooydonck and Loïc Vliegen.
"I think we have a really strong team for Hammer Limburg especially with Greg Van Avermaet and Simon Gerrans for the Hammer Sprint," said the team's director Klaas Lodewyck.
Quick-Step Floors bring seven to Limburg
UAE Team Emirates bring well-rounded team to contest Hammer Series Limburg
Grosu leads Nippo Vini Fantini in sprint
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com