open letter newport ri

The following Letter To The Editor was written by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) and Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown).

We read with much dismay, but not surprise, the news of how hundreds of freshwater sunfish washed up dead on Easton’s Beach last month.

Whether caused by heavy rain flooding their nearby pond or by rising tide washing the ocean into it — the most likely causes, according the Department of Environmental Management — this fish kill is a bellwether of the types of problems we will experience as climate change continues to reshape our world.

This alarming reality has mobilized many of our neighbors to join us in the newly formed Aquidneck Island Climate Caucus, dedicated to providing a local voice for advocating to mitigate and prepare for climate change.

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We would like to encourage every interested person to join us for our first public workshop, scheduled Monday, March 9, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.at the Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Road. At this meeting, we will focus on sea rise and resiliency strategies from other states and communities. Guest speakers will include Coastal Resources Management Council Executive Director Grover Fugate and Coastal Community Planner Teresa A. Crean from Coastal Resources Center at University of Rhode Island. The event is free and open to the public, and will be a way to build community with others who want to help advocate for the changes we need to make.

Initial planning meetings of the caucus have been invigorating, gathering concerned neighbors who are intent on working together for positive action. We look forward to this group becoming a strong voice for change locally and statewide, and hope you will consider being a part of it.

-Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport) and Rep. Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown)