On Wednesday, March 9, 2022, Mark Adams will join us to present a fascinating look at the dynamic coastal changes that have been shaping the outer Cape for thousands of years and will continue to do so into the future.
Truro is fine vantage point to consider the dynamic coastal changes that have been shaping the outer Cape for thousands of years. Coastal processes will continue in the future but how will they change with climate, storms and sea level rise? Artists and scientists both offer ways to visualize the past and contemplate the future.
Native people came to the Cape when it was a new landscape and adapted their lifeways to match the marine forest and wetland habitats that survive today in diminished forms. The First People saw sea level change and the post glacial-boreal forests gradually become more temperate during the ~10,000 years before Europeans arrived and ocean waves reworked the coast continually. Modern development and organized agriculture quickly produced the artificial landscape of shifting sands described by Henry David Thoreau in the 1850s. Some of that development compromised nature’s environmental gifts – draining wetlands and armoring coastlines, clearing forests and introducing contaminants. Now the Cape faces the task of restoring natural processes to tidal marshes and reconfiguring our building practices to allow the coasts to move as they have throughout the modern geological period. Now scientists know the shape of groundwater lenses, the requirements of fish and shellfish communities and the way sand is moved by waves, tides and currents. Truro’ future choices might include coastal retreat and adaptation, groundwater protection, sustainable agriculture and tidal restoration, allowing nature to build resiliency in the face of change. Cape Cod could offer a laboratory for communities that live in an appreciative response to a renewed understanding of nature that honors the way of life of its First People.
Mark Adams bio
Cartographer and coastal geologist with the Cape Cod National Seashore and environmental artist in New England and elsewhere since 1991. Exhibiting at Schoolhouse Gallery, Provincetown. Retrospective at Provincetown Art Association Museum in 2017. Volunteering with immigrant and asylum issues in the Mediterranean and at the Mexican border since 2019. Special interest in visualizing human well-being in the context of ecological systems and natural processes. Truro resident since 1999.