This article appeared in the July 05, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Hope: Fierce and intriguing

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Seaweed farmer Stewart Hunt, with Casco Bay Mooring, chats as bags of harvested kelp are unloaded from his boat Hercules at the Portland Fish Exchange, on May 3, 2022, in Portland, Maine.
Trudy Palmer
Cover Story Editor

I’ve always leaned more toward the humanities than the sciences – so much so that I took the course nicknamed Chemistry for Girls to satisfy a high school science credit. As I recall, it was a combination of chemistry and home economics, neither of which stuck with me in any meaningful way, I’m sorry to say.

Even so, I found the science parts of today’s cover story by Stephanie Hanes, our environment and climate change writer, not only understandable but really interesting. She excels at making technical information accessible and relevant.

What fascinated me most about the story, though, was the protagonist’s humanity – her perceptiveness and inclusivity that are driving change in Maine’s fishing industry. I promise not to spoil the story, but Briana Warner recognized a pretty hopeless pattern that has run its course in multiple African countries beginning to play out in Maine. So she committed herself to interrupting it. 

Even more impressive, she didn’t keep what experience had taught her to herself. She shared it, encouraging lobster fishers to join the world of sea farming by offering them an irresistible incentive.

Who wins in this scenario? All parties involved, including the ocean. 

That mutual benefit is one aspect of the sense of hope that characterizes Stephanie’s reporting. Climate change can be a bleak beat, with the need for often-urgent progress at every turn. When I asked Stephanie how she keeps from getting caught in that undertow, she described her approach as being “clear sighted about the reality, and real harm, of climate change, while also opening my eyes to the unbelievable creativity, resilience, and imagination that is coming up as people respond to it.”

Then she added, “Hope, when it comes to climate change, is a fierce thing.”

It’s also enough to pique an English major’s interest in science.

This article appeared in the July 05, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 07/05 edition
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