“There’s a strange phenomenon in the ocean this year,” says Angela Sanfilippo, president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association in Gloucester, Mass. The water, usually cold, has been warm. Lobsters have molted weeks earlier than usual. Groundfish are scarce. And Gloucester Harbor is full of small squid, rarely seen there in normal years.

“This is a true natural disaster,” Sanfilippo says, “and it needs to be investigated.”

Erik Fyfe and Albert Thrower are traveling across the Northeast by motorcycle, talking with a wide range of people about their perceptions of climate change and experiences with extreme weather. Their aim is to spark conversations about the changing climate and collect local stories about how it may impact everyday Americans. Find all of the Slow Ride Stories here.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.