Reporting on climate change from Cape Cod, where sea levels could put everything at risk

Reporting on, and witnessing, the impact of climate change on my home on Cape Cod can be a lonely and painful task. But it’s too important to ignore.

Eve Zuckoff Report for America

December 20,2019

WOODS HOLE, Mass. — As you jog along the curving 3-mile road that leads down to the water on the southernmost tip of Cape Cod, you’ll pass five of the world’s leading marine and environmental institutions.

You’ll glimpse the solar arrays and wind turbine of the Woods Hole Research Center, where scientists and scholars study climate change and its impact around the world. You’ll wind your way past our local U.S. Geological Survey center, within the Quissett campus of the famed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Just as you begin questioning why you started running in the first place, you’ll hit the Marine Biological Laboratory, a private nonprofit affiliated with 58 Nobel Prize winners since 1929. And finally, after passing exhausted doctoral students working in the coffee shop, you’ll reach the harbor by the national marine fisheries services.

The run ends on a grassy patch of land, known locally as Sundial Park, where rock walls drop sharply into the Vineyard Sound.

There, probably wheezing, you’ll smell the briny water and see the statue of a cross-legged scientist seated on a bench, notebook in hand, smiling coyly at the sea.

An environmentalist’s warning

My relationship with the mother of the environmental movement, the late marine biologist Rachel Carson, began in August. It was three months into my term with Report for America as the climate change reporter for WCAI, the public radio station for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Carson — or at least her statue — has been my confidante and my salvation on days when I wilted under the strain of covering an endless disaster. Where the renowned scientists at nearby institutions offer facts, she provides wisdom.


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