If you live along one of our coasts, an ocean in your front yard, you might find it hard to believe that the water is rising, and could soon flood you out.
Higher tides, bigger storm, yes, but water so high, storms so large, so often that we can’t live here anymore? Maybe not.
A recent article from Bloomberg News says people who believe climate change poses serious problems are no more likely to take action than non-believers.
All of them might want to read the book “A New Coast” by Jeffrey Peterson, published by Island Press.
The book has a great title, because that’s what we’re going to get.
Peterson makes two things clear. First, the water is rising, and it will continue to do so for a long time. We have already fueled the Earth’s climate mechanism for that.
Second, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, particularly when they bump against the federal government.
Local, county, and state officials in many cases recognize the problem. There are plans for efforts to mitigate the damage higher seas will bring. The book itself offers a list of things that can be done.
The problem, from the top down, is a federal government that refuses to acknowledge the obvious, according to what Peterson sees.
He points to the dilemma facing people who own those homes with an ocean in the front yard. Face the future and sell now while value is untouched? Move from the home and neighborhood you love? Wait until the high water impacts life, then sell an obvious problem for far less money? Just ride it out, make do?
Those are questions for people in this country, simple questions compared to what other parts of the world face. Island nations disappearing. Cities unlivable. Industries ruined. Eventually, people in the billions looking for a new place to live.
The picture Peterson paints of refugees, the huge number of people displaced by an uncaring climate, is frightening, a picture of the future my grandchildren and yours will face. The impact of so many people made homeless by rising seas will not be local. We’ll all be involved.
Peterson writes about the choices we will make — relocation, the social and psychological impacts, how businesses will respond, and the framework for the necessary national response.
He touches the problems wildlife will face. Birds will lose shoreline nesting and feeding opportunities. Birds that feed at sea will find new currents, new temperatures have changed that menu, perhaps erasing it. Migrants will find their genetic maps for safe havens along the route no longer applicable.
This is a timely book joining the sudden increase in media coverage of acknowledgment of our reality. Peterson is at the front here, a long-time employee at the Environmental Protection Agency. He works on climate change policy.
This book should be mandatory reading for all persons seeking election to high public office. Followed by a test, with posted grades.
The book will be released in November. It is soft-cover, 408 pages, illustrated, $45.