Commentary

Greater Newburyport in green and blue

Ron Martino explains how Newburyport has and continues to be intertwined with the land and sea.

Photo by Brian Sumner on Unsplash
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Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship with an appreciation for our surroundings. The series is coordinated by ACES, the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

Newburyport is an "artsy" city, so it seems a good way to start by speaking of it using colors.

The through lines of the economic prosperity of the city and the region are threads of green and threads of blue. We'll let the green represent the natural world on land and the blue represent our waters.

Together, they are what makes up our Earth’s surface – 71% water and 29% land. Ecotourism, a term that includes a very significant portion of the visiting and spending, is so big here because of where we are at the intersection of two beautiful ecosystems.

"a world-class environmental epicenter of ecosystems"

Newburyport is a world-class environmental epicenter of ecosystems. It’s a place where the lines of continental bird migrations cross the exit point of North American weather systems.

It’s on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Maine, sitting on the rim of the Gulf Stream, which brings migrating humpback whales and great white sharks off shore. Our ocean edge is rippled in shades of blue. It's where Newbury's "First Settlers" arrived and began farming and fishing.

As the Merrimack River runs through its valley past Lawrence, Haverhill and Amesbury, it picks up speed as it heads out to sea past Salisbury and Plum Island.

It brings with it New Hampshire's mountain silt. Some of it goes into the Great Salt Marsh. Most of it continually replenishes our beaches. The marsh is a nursery of the sea and one of the most productive ecosystems of Earth.

It’s a cradle of water and grasses that host many of the fish babies that we think of as quintessentially New England's. It sequesters carbon and stabilizes the land's edge. Their green and blue ribbons, swirled together by the changing tides in the Merrimack bring boaters, fishermen and day-trippers to its shores and to Market Square.

Most of the vitality of public life in Newburyport is connected to green and blue

Most of the vitality of public life in Newburyport is connected to this weave of two threads of green and blue. All the marinas, restaurants and shops are part of the weave. It's an ecosystem of really enormous complexity with glacial soils and farm fields, forests that once supplied ship masts for the British Empire and our early Navy as well.

Later on, those same upriver forests enabled building the great clipper ship fleets that created the China trade and the grand mansions of High Street in Newburyport. Our maritime heritage reflects both green forests with the blue ocean nearby.

Our tour brochures speak proudly of our history, as do the plaques around town that tell us George Washington dined at the library and that the first company of Marines was organized here before the Revolutionary War.

Clearly, our history has always been front and center to our city's self-image. But our history stands not just in a particularly special time but in a particularly special place.

ACES chose its colors for a reason

The fast-growing environment and climate alliance "ACES" was started here in Newburyport. Its colors are green and blue for a reason.

Its 30-plus allies have come together to think globally, work locally, and act personally in recognition of the responsibility of stewardship we all have for these beautiful and valuable gifts.

This kind of stewardship is open for every type of citizen involvement locally, not just the environment. It could be for the arts such as with the Firehouse or the Newburyport Art Association or history related such as with the Custom House Maritime Museum. We'll use different colors for that discussion.

"Greater Newburyport is a place woven of green and blue gifts"

We live in a unique place. It’s one that deserves worldwide recognition for its beautiful and abundant confluence of ecosystems. Greater Newburyport is a place woven of green and blue gifts of nature. Let’s work together to protect it and prosper from it.

Ron Martino is on Twitter as “GreenTalkDaily” @ronmartino4.

This column was coordinated by ACES Youth Corps member Caleb Bradshaw. To share any comments or questions, send an email to acesnewburyport@gmail.com. To learn more about ACES, go to www.aces-alliance.org.

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about the author
Ron Martino

After a career in Marketing for science and high tech based corporations, Ron is a member of the Marketing Communications Team of the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards (ACES) where he often focuses on our communication strategies both in traditional and social media.

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