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Aug 20, 2019 6:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Alec Baldwin And Kevin McAllister Talk About Climate Change On The East End

Alec Baldwin and Kevin McAllister, founder of Defend H2O, lectured at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum about climate change and the East End.  ELIZABETH VESPE
Aug 21, 2019 9:08 AM

Alec Baldwin, the actor, activist and Long Island native, recalled sitting at his home in Amagansett listening to NPR recently as reporters called July 2019 the “hottest month on record ever” in the United States, directly relating the scorching temperatures to climate change.

Less than a week later, on Thursday, August 15, Kevin McAllister, the founder of Defend H2O, and Mr. Baldwin engaged in a conversation titled “Living on the Edge in the Face of Climate Change” at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum.

About a hundred or so people attended the public discussion of the future of Long Island’s shoreline, rising sea levels, climate change and water quality as cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and clams were served.

“People out here have the blessing and the curse of being more familiar with nature,” Mr. Baldwin said as he sat on a folding chair on the steps of the Whaling Museum.

He said he remembered the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy as seen from the safety of his 12th-floor Manhattan apartment, as the water levels rose dramatically, flooding the subway and causing power outages.

“Everybody here, I’m convinced, doesn’t need any more information about what we’re faced with. We know what we need to do,” Mr. Baldwin said. He stressed that environmentalists need to convince a critical mass of people who aren’t as aware of the issues that climate change is an ongoing problem, and there are ways to combat climate change, starting now.

Mr. McAllister said that over the last 40 years, the sea level has risen 4 inches. Scientists are predicting, due to glacial melting, a rise of 11 to 30 inches over the next 40 years.

Mr. McAllister drew the audience’s attention to an enlarged photo of Dune Road in East Quogue, which after a seven- to 10-day dry period during a new or full moon phase showed immense flooding on the paved road, illustrating sea level rise locally.

To slow further glacial melting, people can limit carbon dioxide by moving away from fossil fuels and toward wind power and renewable energy, Mr. McAllister said.

As sea levels rise, waterfront communities can either move buildings, armor the shores with vertical walls, stone sandbags, geotextile tubes, sandbags or groins, or replenish sand. In terms of sea level rising, Mr. McAllister said, ultimately, as water bodies start to define their own limits, we’re going to have to adjust.

Salt water will start to taint fresh water, Mr. McAllister said, and when the water table gets higher, the likelihood of contamination from septic systems to nearby waterways will increase. Nitrogen, which is found in urine and fecal matter, affects freshwater ponds, tidal harbors and other bodies of water, causing harmful algae blooms, killing habitats and wildlife, and polluting the water.

Someone in the audience asked if Mr. Baldwin had installed a new, innovate alternative septic system to combat increasing nitrogen levels at his own home. He said his family had postponed the renovation at their Amagansett home by one more year, but that once they break ground, a new system is going in.

“We have to get these systems out of the groundwater and moved back,” Mr. McAllister said. “This is something that’s going to take the community’s will to do.”

Mr. Baldwin said that if people don’t act now, it’s going to cost “infinitely” more money 10 or 20 years from now. He added that there is state and local funding for alternative septic systems, making it much more affordable to do upgrades.

Mr. Baldwin added that part of living on the East End is the relationship to the environment and the waterways, and noted that residents, including local baymen and fishermen, are greatly affected by coastal erosion, algae blooms and sea level rise, to name a few.

“Organizations like this are keeping people mindful of the impact,” Mr. Baldwin said, expressing his gratitude to Defend H2O.

Mr. Baldwin expressed his opinion that the towns should use their Community Preservation Fund money to start tearing down houses that are adding to nitrogen pollution.

“I’m a big, big proponent of that plan, that we take the CPF money and use it to help lower this nitrogen crisis that we have in this area,” Mr. Baldwin said.

Mr. McAllister said he’d like to acknowledge the towns of East Hampton and Southampton for acquiring waterfront parcels of land for that very purpose. Eliminating those homes — in the process eliminating septic systems and their influences of nearby waterways — in turn can also increase public beach access.

“We have to voice our concerns to reinforce good decision-making on the part of our elected officials,” Mr. McAllister urged.

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What a couple of marks. Private jet flying celebrity hears something on NPR, gets triggered and decides he needs to tell people how to live. Notice how extreme heat is climate change but extreme cold is ''weather"?
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 23, 19 9:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
Alec Baldwin is often seen flying commercial.

Climate change contributes to both extremes.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 23, 19 9:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
Not since he's been booted off several.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 23, 19 9:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Several? I found one instance eight years ago.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 23, 19 10:51 AM
Why so resentful? What has your foundation done to help the local area? What are you doing on behalf of the common good? Sniping from the sidelines doesn't count.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Aug 23, 19 11:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
It's not, actually
By nrobertn (1), Stony Brook on Aug 23, 19 12:55 PM
The article is about talking. Not doing. The appropriate snarky question would be “what do you expect of others that you don’t practice yourself”. If Alec Baldwin reminds anyone of any current issue it should be NY’s red flag laws and why he is a poster boy for them, along with Chris Cuomo
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 24, 19 8:21 AM
Where's the "several" other times Baldwin was kicked off a plane?

Can you help me out, or by "several" did you mean that one time in 2011?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 24, 19 8:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
google “red herring”
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 24, 19 8:39 AM
You did accuse him of being kicked off several planes as his rationale for flying privately, didn't you?

Turns out you're wrong.

Can you stand by your own statements, or is retreat when you're challenged second nature?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 24, 19 8:49 AM
Who's Kevin McAllister?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Aug 23, 19 12:24 PM
The kid from Home Alone.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 23, 19 12:37 PM
3 members liked this comment
Yeah, and over the week-end the highs are going to be in the low 70's. Maybe I'll just jump into my private jet and go someplace warm.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Aug 23, 19 1:55 PM
Milankovitch cycles can and have been overridden by terrestrial feedback loops. According to Imbrie the planet should be cooling. It is not. The carbon increase in the atmosphere during "The Great Dying" 250 million years ago that created the majority of the oil humanity has burned since the 19th century would be an example of override. "We" have put that carbon which nearly killed all terrestrial life on this planet back into play. 415 ppm/1866 ppb and rising...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 25, 19 6:51 AM
1 member liked this comment
So sick of loud-mouthed "celebrities" who think they are climate experts because they have made a career out of role playing.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Aug 23, 19 9:10 PM
Well nobody listens to climate experts, so...
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 23, 19 10:46 PM
So... these guys are playing their parts perfectly then?
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Aug 24, 19 5:42 AM
Be the change you want to see in the world, Babyboo.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 24, 19 8:28 AM
What's the upside of denying climate change?
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Aug 23, 19 10:36 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Aug 23, 19 11:24 PM
Stop being such a jealous punk. I wonder what skeletons are in your closet. He has done kore for the environment than you can ever hope to do.
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Aug 24, 19 9:55 AM
What's the upside of denying climate change?
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Aug 24, 19 8:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hey, have you heard the news, Dewey Cox died.
Aug 24, 19 8:43 AM appended by themarlinspike
Oh good, no more "LEFT" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "KEEP AMERICA GREAT" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By themarlinspike (542), Northern Hemisphere on Aug 24, 19 8:43 AM
Oh good, no more left
Let's enjoy peace and quiet
Until tomorrow
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 24, 19 8:50 AM
The upside of denying climate change is lots of money in exchange for the decimation of our planet. Those with enough money can shield themselves from many of the effects of climate change by purchasing multiple residences, air purifiers, insurance, etc. Money also buys shiny stuff and people like shiny things.
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Aug 24, 19 11:24 AM
2 members liked this comment
Tragedy of the commons, so it goes.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 24, 19 12:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well said Aeshtron!
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Aug 24, 19 4:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
So, if I want to learn about acting, should I go listen to some environmental scientists talk about it? No? Why then should we care about actors talking climate change?
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Aug 24, 19 9:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
You SHOULD listen to climate scientists who overwhelmingly warn that anthropogenic climate change is a long-term threat to humanity.

But you don't, so maybe you'll listen to a comedian.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Aug 24, 19 9:48 AM
Have to hand it to the purveyors/beneficiaries of greed for their success in propagandizing the undereducated and gullible. Down to and including demonizing scientists and any citizen motivated to act (as the Bible commands) as a steward of our seriously threatened earthly home.
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Aug 24, 19 10:36 AM
2 members liked this comment
"There is a close correlation between Antarctic temperature and atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (Barnola et al. 1987). The extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows that the main trends of CO2 are similar for each glacial cycle. Major transitions from the lowest to the highest values are associated with glacial-interglacial transitions. During these transitions, the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rises from 180 to 280-300 ppmv (Petit et al. 1999). The extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows ...more
Aug 24, 19 2:15 PM appended by Mr. Z
"The atmospheric CO2 reconstructions presented here offer records of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios from 1006 A.D. to 1978 A.D. The air enclosed in the three ice cores from Law Dome, Antarctica has unparalled age resolution and extends into recent decades, because of the high rate of snow accumulation at the Law Dome drill sites (Etheridge et al. 1996). Etheridge et al. (1996) reported the uncertainty of the ice core CO2 mixing ratios is 1.2 ppm. Preindustrial CO2 mixing ratios were in the range 275-284 ppm, with the lower levels during 1550-1800 A.D., probably as a result of colder global climate (Etheridge et al. 1996). The Law Dome ice core CO2 records show major growth in atmospheric CO2 levels over the industrial period, except during 1935-1945 A.D. when levels stabilized or decreased slightly."
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Aug 24, 19 2:15 PM