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As Oceans Rise, When’s the Last Time I’ll Go Home for Christmas?


As Oceans Rise, When’s the Last Time I’ll Go Home for Christmas?

Victoria Borneman

By my count, I get 13 more holidays before the sea threatens to swallow my family's home.


South Florida is one collective bad decision brought about by mobile capital. Investment from (initially) New York could not wait to earn a high return on investment (ROI) and the South Florida land development schemes promised it in spades. When capital flies into an area it often overwhelms the local knowledge of natural limits to growth. Capital almost always wins in the short run. Limits to growth almost always win in the long run. That is why regulation, which helps maintain perspective, is so very valuable. With the residents of such areas, I empathize; to the investors, suck eggs.


If going home to visit your family involves air travel, then I hope you realize that you are a major contributor to the climate change you lament. Air travel is arguably the worst possible thing you can do in terms of personal actions that fuel climate change.


That 1-4’ range for sea level rise might be the rosiest of predictions.

A couple of the big ice shelves holding back massive glaciers in Antarctica are looking more and more precarious, and feedback loops are kicking in ahead of schedule.

At the risk of being a doom-and-gloomer, I wouldn’t be surprised if a sudden catastrophe forces our day of reckoning. With humans, sadly, that seems to be the only thing that triggers action.

Of course, by then it’ll be too late.


Florida voted for Trump. If they hadn’t things now would be immeasurably better. The US would still be in the Paris climate agreement. The EPA would not be falling apart. We would not be worrying about drilling for oil and gas in ANWR or off Alaska and the Atlantic coast. We would not have climate denier occupying the White House. States and cities can do a lot but the federal government is also needed. The best thing that people in Florida can do at this point is elect a Democrat for president in 2020. And put out of office as many state level and federal level politicians in Florida who are climate deniers as possible. including their climate denier governor. If people in Florida care about their state, electing people who want to fight climate change seems like an obvious thing to do.


The catastrophe IS happening suddenly, in terms of geologic time — but that’s so slowly in human terms that most folks have just begun to notice the effects that a few of the more observant among us have been warning about for years.  And of course the ostriches among us pull their heads out of the sand only long enough to yell “CHINESE HOAX!!” and “FAKE NEWS!!

The majority of the people of Florida are getting pretty much what they asked for.  Unfortunately, there’s a siz­able minority who are also going to suffer their consequences.   As for electing a DamnocRat to be president, that depends a GREAT deal on WHICH DamnocRat.   Some of 'em, like Florida’s lovely Debbie Duhbya-Ass (DWS), are just as bad – if not far worse – than many RePooplicans.  Be VERY careful what you wish for!!


Don’t believe the science.
Gawd is doing this!


If your family is in those places, plan on using your salary to bring your family to you.
This is a world issue, not a US issue . There are a lot more holidays besides Christmas crimped on family reunions around the world.
There are many maps online of predicted sea level rises, but, as one commenter noted on another site, actual ocean rises have continued to exceed all predictions thus far. Better maps would say, ok, if Greenland melts, then that is this much rise. If that Antarctic Shelf melts, that is this much rise.
The developers are indeed a major source of the hush in Florida. And development needs electricity. What about the idiots who got three nuclear power plants built on Florida’s coastline?
So it goes, around the world. Coastlines are where people like to live.


Speaking of IDIOTS, what about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and all of their stupid ‘flood control’ pro­jects of the past 3/4 of a century or so – especially the levees around Gnaw-Leens?  The Mississippi River has for millennia been changing its outlet to the sea over a wide area ranging from a little east of its present course to more than 100 miles to the west, and if left alone would a decade or two ago have been “captured” by the Atchafalaya River that flows through the heart of the Cajun country in southwest Louisiana.  Pressured by the economic interests surrounding New Orleans, the Corps has built a huge very expensive and very fragile sys­tem of dams, locks & levees to keep the Mississippi “where it belongs”.   You think Katrina was bad?  Wait 'til the next one – coming soon to a major city in southern Louisiana . . .


Reply to Uncle Fester,
The Everglades has had a similar series of ridiculous “improvement” projects. Florida was one big swamp even before it became a state. And, oh, the developers and their pitches. As we used to say, " If you believe that, I’ve got some swamp land I could sell you."


There are dozens of similar examples, all over the U.S.  I focused on the Atchafalaya / Mississippi / Gnu-Oar-Leans fiasco partly because it’s one of the most extreme examples and partly because it was documented so well about a quarter century ago by John McPhee in his excellent little book ‘The Control of Nature’

*   “You can fool all of The People some of the time, and some of The People all of the time — and those are pretty good odds.”  I forget who first said that – maybe my uncle Claude – but our current federal Administra-
tion is pretty good proof that the statement is true.