Just in case anyone out there is still taking a Rick Perry-ish stance on climate change (lest we forget, the GOP presidential candidate once gave us this gem: “calling CO2 a pollutant is doing a disservice to the country…and the world”), nonprofit news organization Climate Central has given us yet another reason to take it seriously. The message takes the form of an interactive online map called “Surging Seas”, which renders the catastrophic implications of mankind’s collective negligence in harrowing detail.
Climate Central forecasts a Gulf Coast shore swollen to 4.8 feet past its current height by the year 2100. While admittedly most of us will have departed this life by then, it’s probably worth considering what kind of world your grand kids will have to wake up to every morning. Here's what the coast will look like near us:
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To a certain degree, the changes are inevitable, said Houston Advanced Research Center president Dr. Jim Lester, who directs its programs in sustainable water, air, and natural resource management. “There’s already quite a bit of sea level rise that we’re not going to be able to avoid, even if we cut greenhouse gas emissions quite a bit, so part of this is going to happen over time no matter what we do.”
That’s not exactly a pep talk, but Lester did add that there are steps we can take in anticipation of the changes. Homeowners can rebuild their houses using sturdier materials – like concrete – and away from the coastline, so that they’re less susceptible to sea level changes. State and city agencies can incorporate climate change-sensitive thinking into their long-term plans.
“We would like to make Houston more resilient, but it’s going to take some concerted effort - some real commitment and political will,” Lester said.