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Hurricane Isaac And What We’re Not Talking About

August 29th, 2012 by Alison · 2 Comments · global warming and climate change

Hurricane Isaac breached a levee earlier this morning, causing extensive flooding near the mouth of the Mississippi River and threatening thousands. It seems to be shades of Katrina revisited from 2005, even though the dams and levees have been substantially improved since then.

Teton Dam being breached, courtesy of waterarchives.org

Of course I want all the inhabitants of the coastal gulf to be safe. But there’s an elephant in the room. Global warming means that low-lying areas are no longer truly habitable. Pretending that they are means spending billions on both bulwarking and emergency responses — and still losing the fight for coastal land that the melting of the Arctic ice-pack will eventually cause.

Real compassion calls for deeper solutions than mindless rebuilding and then emergency response measures when the predictable hurricanes come. Even the best dams and levees crack under mountains of water, as the photo to the right, actually from Idaho, illustrates.

When will our nation mount a realistic response to global warming and stop believing that low-lying cities are still viable options?

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • craftygreenpoet

    it’s the same everywhere, I think. It really is past time every nation took action,….

  • Alison

    Juliet, I was thinking of the U.K. as being somewhat more realistic than the U.S. about global warming. So, I’m sad to hear that from where you are in Edinburgh, the situation looks the same to you there. Thanks for checking in.

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