The Hamptons is well known for its idyllic beaches and refreshing surf. But, how is the area affected by climate change? Here’s your chance to hear from Marine Scientist and Founder and President of Defend H2O Kevin McAllister and Alec Baldwin on that topic during Living on the Edge in the Face of Climate Change: An Engaging Conversation on Coastal Living at Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum on Thursday, August 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Hosted by Defend H2O, the evening will feature cocktails, hors d’oeuvre, a clam bar, and rich conversation. Defend H2O was formed in June, 2014 to protect and restore the environmental quality of groundwater, surface waters, wetlands and beaches on and around Long Island. The organization’s goals are achieved through scientific analysis, public education, and participation in the regulatory and legislative review of projects, programs and other actions that affect water quality and habitat values.
McAllister has 30 years of professional environmental experience in the government, consultancy, and non-profit employment sectors. He has received over 15 awards from government, media, civic, and environmental organizations for personal accomplishments in natural resources conservation.
We caught up with McAllister about his work in water conservation through Defend H2O:
What do you love about working in environmental conservation?
KM: My passion for nature is very strong, especially with the marine environment. The Hamptons is defined by its world-class beaches and coastal waters and I’m blessed to be able to serve as an independent scientist/advocate for their protection. The most rewarding aspect of my work (I don’t consider it a job) is raising public awareness about the intricacies of natural environment and inspiring people to become involved with efforts to protect this unique area.
Why should Hamptons locals care about the topic of climate change, especially in this area?
KM: Climate change, in particular sea level rise, will have serious implications to the region’s beaches and coastal waters if we continue to delay coastal decision-making which prioritizes recreational use and water quality over private interests. Locally, sea level has rose approximately 4″ in the past forty years. Scientific projections estimate a rise of 16″-30″ over the next 40. This means increasing beach erosion and the potential for water pollution from coastal inundation, seawater intrusion which raises the water table and causes the immersion of household septic systems and contaminated nearby waterbodies. In order to protect the beaches and protect water quality, government must adhere to strict policies preventing the proliferation of seawalls which ultimately destroy beaches and move to eliminate sewage discharges at effected coastal properties.
What are ways that locals can get involved?
KM: Join the movement and engage with environmental leaders like Defend H2O who are working to safeguard clean water and the coastal zone. An informed public who participates in the public conversation is critical to decision-making which ensures clean water and a sustainable coastal zone.
Tickets to Living on the Edge in the Face of Climate Change: An Engaging Conversation on Coastal Living are $150.
Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum is located at 200 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information or tickets, call 631-267-5644 or visit defendh2o.org.