Climate Change Lays Areas Low. Earth’s People Get the Blues.

A hard rain’s gonna fall. A harsh wind’s gonna blow. And impossible decisions are gonna need to be made.

Global-Warming-Driven Sea Rise Drives Impossible Decisions

Climate change is a creepin’ in.

Not so subtly in some places. Low places. Places that’re getting lower still every day.

Like the Florida Keys. For undeniable evidence of rising seas, one need look no farther than the Keys.

And to paraphrase Dylan, all the gold and silver are, indeed, being stolen away.

Climate Change Floods Jimmy Buffet’s Backyard

Numerous news outlets recently covered some “hard decisions” that need to be made in the Florida Keys, specifically in Monroe County. The Miami Herald headline was representative of those from The New York Times, The Weather Channel and other outlets:

“At $60 million a mile, the Keys may abandon some roads to sea rise rather than raise them.”

That’s a lot of gold and silver.

The only words missing from the headline are “global warming caused,” as in “global-warming-caused sea rise.”

The body of the story makes the connection clear, however:

“Few places around the country have stopped servicing roads because of climate change, and it could lead to a legal backlash from homeowners who can no longer access their homes.”

And this quote, from Rhonda Haag, Monroe County’s head of resilience, succinctly sums up the big picture:

“Are we really going to spend $128 million to elevate three miles of road where 30 people live? It’s not up to me, but I don’t think so.”

Graphic of Bob Dylan song lyrics,

The Rate At Which Oceans are Rising is Rising, Too

Unfortunately, with climate-change-driven sea rise on the rise, the Keys are only the proverbial canary in the coal mine for the United States.

Hundreds of miles of shoreline and inland areas are threatened already, and thousands more will be as global warming continues to cause ocean level increases.

In June of this year, USA Today published a list of 35 U.S. cities projected to “experience chronic flooding by 2060,” based on a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Miami Beach tops the list. Hampton, Virginia is #34. New York’s Long Beach is #30. The Upper Keys, Lower Keys and Key West are all in the top 10.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “In urban settings along coastlines around the world, rising seas threaten infrastructure necessary for local jobs and regional industries. Roads, bridges, subways, water supplies, oil and gas wells, power plants, sewage treatment plants, landfills – the list is practically endless – are all at risk from sea level rise.”

And the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released a study last year that, based on 25 years of satellite data, documents the acceleration of sea rise caused by global warming.

“This acceleration, driven mainly by increased melting in Greenland and Antarctica, has the potential to double the total sea level rise projected by 2100 when compared to projections that assume a constant rate of sea level rise”

So, thanks to man-made climate change, not only are earth’s oceans rising, the rate at which they’re rising is rising, too.

This is happening. Faster and faster. Every day.

Before long, due to accelerating sea rise from climate change, officials in more places like Monroe County will be facing hard decisions that pit the costs of public infrastructure against the needs of individual home- and business owners.

Regardless of which way the winds of these momentous decisions blow, more gold and silver will be stolen away every single day.

The Big Easy Won’t Have It Easy

There have been other canaries in other coal mines, but, as a whole, the U.S. citizenry and leadership has blown off the early warnings.

Case in point, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In September 2005, 17 days after Katrina devastated The Big Easy, then-President George W. Bush stood in the French Quarter and made this promise:

“Throughout the area hit by the hurricane, we will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives. And all who question the future of the Crescent City need to know: There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again… the passionate soul of a great city will return.”

The speech was good politics, and the questions being asked by newspeople and “regular” folks were politically correct:

  • How long will it take to rebuild New Orleans?
  • How soon will the people of New Orleans be able to return to their homes?
  • What’s it going to cost to rebuild New Orleans, and where will the money come from?

Good politics. Political correctness. Wrong questions.

As with anyone who had a heart, mine went out to the citizens of New Orleans, greater Louisiana and other impacted areas. But, I thought, “They’re not asking the right questions.”

The question of the day should not have been how long, how soon or how much. Instead, newspeople and pundits should have been talking about global warming and climate change, and in that context asking the more basic question:

“Should New Orleans be rebuilt?”

Here we are, nearly 15 years later, and unless science and engineering come up with some seriously innovative solutions, the answer will turn out to be a resounding “No.” Sadly. Because huge swaths of New Orleans will be uninhabitable by 2050, and likely will be completely underwater by 2100.

Click image-graphic to see more before/after images-graphics.

How High’s the Water, Mama?

Johnny Cash inevitably comes to mind. The Man in Black shouts a prophetic warning from the grave –

How high’s the water, mama?
Five feet high and risin’
How high’s the water, papa?
She said it’s five feet high and risin’

Well the rails are washed out north of town
We gotta head for higher ground
We can’t come back till the water goes down,
Five feet high and risin’

Unfortunately, even now, after all the warnings from scientists and marches by world youth and international climate change summits, the message is falling on too many Americans’ deaf, self-deceived ears.

A hard rain’s gonna fall. A harsh wind’s gonna blow. And there ain’t gonna be no goin’ back for people in coastal areas of the United States or around the world.

Global warming truly is laying cities and regions low. And earth’s citizens, whether it’s those who continue to deny climate change or those of us who have been unable to convince, force or shame our leaders into crucially needed action… we will be laid the lowest of all.

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Coverage of Fargo #ClimateCrisis Strike

Happy that KVRR covered the Fargo #ClimateStrike yesterday. Glad to be able to speak out on the value of peaceful protest and how crucial it is that government leaders doing something – lots of things – to address the #ClimateCrisis NOW. #StrikeWithUs #ThereIsNoPLANetB

People from all walks of life, from as young as age 5 to grandparents in their 80s, protested in Fargo yesterday (9/20/19) about government inaction on the #ClimateCrisis. Continue reading “Coverage of Fargo #ClimateCrisis Strike”

Global Climate Crisis Strike | Fargo, N.D.

The Climate Crisis can be overwhelming, but the people who demanded immediate action by government at all levels at the Fargo Climate Strike today say ignoring the problem is not the answer.

They came for the grandchildren who will deal with the effects of the Climate Crisis for years after they’re gone. Continue reading “Global Climate Crisis Strike | Fargo, N.D.”

The Climate Crisis & The Inverted Pyramid

As extreme weather events caused by the climate crisis become more prevalent, reporters should make the cause-effect connections in their ledes or second paragraphs, not at THE END.

Reporters Can and Should Restructure Their Stories About Climate-Change-Related Severe Weather Events

About a month’s worth of rain fell on Washington, D.C. in one hour. The torrent resulted “…in one of (the city’s) worst flooding events in years,” according to the Washington Post. Continue reading “The Climate Crisis & The Inverted Pyramid”

The New Leaders on Climate Change

The next generation has been waiting, watching, listening… and getting frustrated about the lack of action on climate change by governments around the world. Now they’re taking the lead.

More Kudos to the Kids

Tomorrow is a big day for the planet.

The kids are stepping out and speaking out once again. They’re demanding action on global warming and climate change. They’re sick and tired of waiting around for my generation and the one before it to do all the things that should’ve long since been done.

Before today, they’ve filed a lawsuit against the government of the United State of America. They’ve walked out of school to protest inaction by governments around the world. And tomorrow, March 15, they’re walking out again, but in a more organized fashion.

This time it’s being billed by some as a “coming out party” for the international Youth Climate Strike, a movement that started with a 15-year-old girl who’s had enough.

I’ve written about the lawsuit before, giving the kids behind it a shout-out. Today, once again, I say…

Kudos to the Kids!

The youth of the United States and the world have been gathering steam for several years now, beginning even before 21 of them filed suit against the U.S. government for not acting on what it knew about global warming and its effects.

That was in 2015.

Continue reading “The New Leaders on Climate Change”

North Dakota Legislature Should Pass Net Metering Bill

A Senate committee is expected to issue a “do not pass” recommendation on a net metering bill introduced by Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-44. The full Legislature should pass it, anyway. It’s the right thing to do.

SB 2322 Will Provide Universal Benefits

The N.D. Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee is expected to issue a “do not pass” recommendation on a bill that would benefit farmers, ranchers, businesses, workers and homeowners. More importantly, it would limit negative impacts to the environment.

The committee heard testimony from environmental advocates, utilities and others on Tuesday, February 5, on Senate Bill 2322, which is related to net metering of electricity.

The purposes of the bill, introduced by Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-44, are to make it economical for utility customers to install expensive renewable energy generation equipment and provide more equitable reimbursement for customer-generated electricity by utilities across the state.

Continue reading “North Dakota Legislature Should Pass Net Metering Bill”