Miami, The Great World City, Is Drowning While The Powers That Be Look Away

miami underwater

This picture above is what Miami will soon look like. How soon? That's really the only question actually debatable. Unfortunately fewer than needed are debating Miami's sure-to-come flooding from global warming induced sea level rise. Actually this is an artist rendering based on a photograph. The actual look will be much worse because this area will have been torn down or abandoned.

Frankly Miami's fate should be on everyone else's mind as it is a harbinger for what's in store for all US coastal areas from the South Texas coast to New York. And if you are an empathic American you can throw in Bangladesh, London, The Netherlands, and parts of nearly every other coastal city in the world.

Miami, The Great World City, Is Drowning While The Powers That Be Look Away

(This section was originally published on The Guardian.)

Low-lying south Florida, at the front line of climate change in the US, will be swallowed as sea levels rise. Astonishingly, the population is growing, house prices are rising and building goes on. The problem is the city is run by climate change deniers.

A drive through the sticky Florida heat into Alton Road in Miami Beach can be an unexpectedly awkward business. Most of the boulevard, which runs north through the heart of the resort's most opulent palm-fringed real estate, has been reduced to a single lane that is hemmed in by bollards, road-closed signs, diggers, trucks, workmen, stacks of giant concrete cylinders and mounds of grey, foul-smelling earth.

"Climate change is no longer viewed as a future threat round here," says atmosphere expert Professor Ben Kirtman, of Miami University. "It is something that we are having to deal with today."

At Florida International University, geologist Peter Harlem has created a series of maps that chart what will happen as the sea continues to rise. These show that by the time oceans have risen by four feet – a fairly conservative forecast – most of Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, Virginia Key and all the area's other pieces of prime real estate, will be bathtubs. At six feet, Miami city's waterfront and the Florida Keys will have disappeared. The world's busiest cruise ship port, which handles four million passengers, will disappear beneath the waves. "This is the fact of life about the ocean: it is very, very powerful," says Harlem.

Miami and its surroundings are facing a calamity worthy of the Old Testament. It is an astonishing story. Despite its vast wealth, the city might soon be consumed by the waves, for even if all emissions of carbon dioxide were halted tomorrow – a very unlikely event given their consistent rise over the decades – there is probably enough of the gas in the atmosphere to continue to warm our planet, heat and expand our seas, and melt polar ice. In short, there seems there is nothing that can stop the waters washing over Miami completely.

It a devastating scenario. But what really surprises visitors and observers is the city's response, or to be more accurate, its almost total lack of reaction. The local population is steadily increasing; land prices continue to surge; and building is progressing at a generous pace. During my visit last month, signs of construction – new shopping malls, cranes towering over new condominiums and scaffolding enclosing freshly built apartment blocks – could be seen across the city, its backers apparently oblivious of scientists' warnings that the foundations of their buildings may be awash very soon.

Read The Entire Article at The Guardian

Here is another good one that was published earlier in Rollingstone.

Goodbye, Miami

By century's end, rising sea levels will turn the nation's urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin

When the water receded after Hurricane Milo of 2030, there was a foot of sand covering the famous bow-tie floor in the lobby of the Fontaine­bleau hotel in Miami Beach. A dead manatee floated in the pool where Elvis had once swum. Most of the damage occurred not from the hurricane's 175-mph winds, but from the 24-foot storm surge that overwhelmed the low-lying city. In South Beach, the old art-deco­ buildings were swept off their foundations. Mansions on Star Island were flooded up to their cut-glass doorknobs.

A 17-mile stretch of Highway A1A that ran along the famous beaches up to Fort Lauderdale disappeared into the Atlantic. The storm knocked out the wastewater-treatment plant on Virginia Key, forcing the city to dump hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay. Tampons and condoms littered the beaches, and the stench of human excrement stoked fears of cholera.

More than 800 people died, many of them swept away by the surging waters that submerged much of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale; 13 people were killed in traffic accidents as they scrambled to escape the city after the news spread – falsely, it turned out – that one of the nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, an aging power plant 24 miles south of Miami, had been destroyed by the surge and sent a radioactive cloud over the city.

Read The Entire Article At Rollingstone

For those that have not already read Bill Mckibben's important piece, it is a must read. And for those that have read it before, a reread is a good reminder to help you avoid getting off track in the debate on global warming solutions.

Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who and what is the real culprit.

Read The Entire Article On Rollingstone

Seeing that construction and development is going gangbusters in Miami it it easy to understand why PT Barnum never said "There's a sucker born every minute" or the proverb "A fool and his money is soon parted". Or perhaps it can just be explained by tulip mania, the grandfather of all "wake me when it's over" non-participant wishes.

About the Author

jenningsRobert Jennings is co-publisher of InnerSelf.com with his wife Marie T Russell. InnerSelf is dedicated to sharing information that allows people to make educated and insightful choices in their personal life, for the good of the commons, and for the well-being of the planet. InnerSelf Magazine is in its 30+year of publication in either print (1984-1995) or online as InnerSelf.com. Please support our work.

 Creative Commons 3.0

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Attribute the author Robert Jennings, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com

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