Also gone will be the beach where you first kissed your boyfriend; the mangrove forests in Bangladesh where Bengali tigers thrive; the crocodile nests in Florida Bay; Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley; St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice; Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina; America’s biggest naval base in Norfolk, Virginia; NASA’s Kennedy Space Center; graves on the Isle of the Dead in Tasmania; the slums of Jakarta, Indonesia; entire nations like the Maldives and the Marshall Islands; and, in the not-so-distant future, Mar-a-Lago, the summer White House of President Donald Trump. Globally, about 145 million people live three feet or less above the current sea level. As the waters rise, millions of these people will be displaced, many of them in poor countries, creating generations of climate refugees that will make today’s Syrian war refugee crisis look like a high school drama production.
The real x-factor here is not the vagaries of climate science, but the complexity of human psychology. At what point will we take dramatic action to cut CO2 pollution? Will we spend billions on adaptive infrastructure, to prepare cities for rising waters – or will we do nothing and wait till it’s too late? Will we welcome people who flee submerged coastlines, and sinking islands – or will we imprison them? No one know how our economic and political system will deal with these challenges.
Jeff Goodell: The Water Will Come http://amzn.to/2z50Jtq