Climate Calling: A Special Maryland Matters Project

Flooding near M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Baltimore City Fire Department photo.

Climate change is accelerating, in Maryland and across the globe.

The signs are everywhere: extreme weather, sea level rise, flooding in coastal communities, catastrophic pollution that especially impacts the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. But these aren’t circumstances in far-off lands. They exist right here, at home, in Maryland.

Smith Island is being swallowed by water. Ellicott City was walloped by two historic floods over two years. The pounding surf is eroding the beach at Ocean City. “Sunny day” flooding is inundating downtown Annapolis and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, among other places. Increasingly violent storms are knocking out power lines from one end of the state to the next. Smoke from wildfires in the West, more than 2,500 miles away, thickened Maryland’s skies last summer.

Climate change is an existential threat to our way of life, both in the long term and day-to-day.

How is Maryland coping with the crisis? What are our leaders doing to protect us from the danger? What government resources, at the federal, state and local levels, are being used to reverse the frightening trends?

Are technologies being developed in our state to confront the crisis? What is being taught in our schools about climate change and how everyday Marylanders can become better stewards of our air, water, and land?

Are we seeing adequate levels of political leadership, resolve and creativity, in Annapolis, in our county offices and at city halls?

These are issues that Maryland Matters plans to explore in the year ahead. Today we launch the first in a series of in-depth stories about climate change in Maryland, with a multi-media look at the fight to bring offshore wind energy to the waters off Ocean City.

We’re calling this project “Climate Calling.” It will be headed by Maryland Matters Founding Editor Josh Kurtz; several others from our reporting team will contribute stories too.

In this series, we will catalogue the climate crisis as it impacts the state and spotlight the people who are working the issue in Maryland — the scientists, the business leaders, the academics, the activists, the farmers and watermen, the politicians, and everyday citizens.

We’ll illuminate places where climate change is hitting hardest, and attempt to calculate the economic, environmental and — most important — the human toll. And we’ll show what’s being done about it in Maryland — and what lessons other states and nations might offer us here.

Our goal is to assess where Maryland stands on climate change policy. Could our state become a leader and innovator? Or will progress stall, as climate legislation did in the 2021 General Assembly session? What are the possibilities for coming up with climate solutions? What are the obstacles? We’re mindful that a consequential election is coming up and we’ll monitor what candidates say about climate change.

Please note that we’ll continue providing our regular stellar coverage of the State House and communities across Maryland. We’ll still write about other vital issues and policy debates, along with the increasingly busy political campaign. We’re excited to delve deeply into this exploration of the climate crisis in Maryland, a topic of life and death importance. And we’re grateful to the generous individuals and charitable foundations who make the work of our nonprofit news site possible.

As we move forward with this project, we’d like to ask for your help.

Send us your ideas about Maryland communities that are changing due to global warming. Let us know if you’re aware of technology being developed here that attempts to address climate change. Whisper in our ear if interesting political fights over climate and the environment are taking place in your neighborhood. Alert us to climate heroes we ought to know about. Please send your suggestions to Josh Kurtz at [email protected]

And most of all, as always, we welcome your feedback. Thank you for reading! And thank you for supporting Maryland Matters. We couldn’t embark on a project like this without your loyal support.