A bit of color has been added to the Tarr & Wonson Paint Manufactory’s facade as locals look to raise awareness of the risks of climate change.
The Cape Ann Climate Coalition (CACC) has partnered with Ocean Alliance to attach a mural representing how climate change could raise the local sea levels well above the foundation of Gloucester’s iconic paint factory.
Since it was founded in 2019, the coalition’s goal is to engage Cape Ann residents in exploring effective collaboration and coordination efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Sticking with its goal to engage locals, the design for the mural shows predicted sea level rise from 2020 to 2100 — a staggering image as the colors creep half way up the old red wooden factory.
Artist and coalition member Jim Seavey explained that the green level represents the mean (average) high tide, blue is peak tides (king tides) and red is storm surge.
“It has been fun and interesting,” he said. “The green and blue parts of this is what is going to happen. ... that is with or without any global warming action.”
He equates the rising tides to his own experience as a child growing up on Cape Ann.
“I grew up in Rockport and every day I would go down to Old Garden Beach and build sandcastles, dams and moats and then the next day it would all be gone,” he said. “The tide doesn’t stop.”
“It’s going to keep coming,” Seavey added.
Iain Kerr of Ocean Alliance, which owns and is headquartered in the old paint manufactory, was taken back by how big the mural ended up being.
“It is much bigger than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “But that is almost part of the story because you hear all of these stories about climate change and then you actually see it happening ...”
According to sealevelrise.org, the state’s sea level is rising about one inch every eight years, and scientists predict that in the next 15 years, the waters will rise by another 6 inches.
The rising sea levels, resilientma.org reads, could adversely impact other coastal hazards such as severe storms, tidal inundation and salt water intrusion.
In 2018, a study called “Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate” notes that by the end of the century sea-level rise could cause major flooding to homes in places such as Hull, Cambridge, and Salisbury every other week.
“More than 300,000 of today’s coastal homes, with a collective market value of about $117.5 billion today, are at risk of chronic inundation in 2045 — a timeframe that falls within the lifespan of a 30-year mortgage issued today. Approximately 14,000 coastal commercial properties, currently assessed at a value of roughly $18.5 billion, are also at risk during that timeframe.”
Once the mural is finished, boaters and those visiting the building will be able to view it on both sides of the building.
A reminder of changing times and tides.
Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford may be contacted at 978-675-2705, email@example.com or on Twitter at TayBradford97.