This Is Hurricane Season in the Americas -- and Climate Change Discussions Will Accompany News Reports About the Super-Storms Coming Ashore
All news/all the time -- that was the American television viewer's diet of content during the week long siege, with Hurricane Harvey sweeping ashore along the Gulf of Mexico areas of the State of Texas. And the plight of the people of the Houston region, in particular, was on everyone's mind as we watched the struggles of the residents there to stay safe and help their neighbors.
As we watched, many of us from afar, this was the American Spirit at its very best, in such terrible times for Texans to remind us all of the traditions of neighbor-helping-neighbor.
The public debate about the issues surrounding climate change (is it happening/what is the cause/what can be done) goes on, folks on both sides of the issue were cautious and sensitive about bringing the subject up in the midst of the suffering in Texas. But gradually, the debate centered on Harvey's effects came around to the point.
And Florida, another U.S. state, was brought into focus by writers at The Guardian as writer Richard Luscombe (a free lancer based in Miami) reminded readers of perhaps one of the early canaries-in-the-coal-mine -- Hurricane Andrew almost 25 years ago to the day that the giant storm tore through Miami-Dade County -- and causing US$15 billion in insured losses.
Professor Hugh Gladwin in the piece wondered: Will people base their real estate decisions on climate change futures? He sees higher-standing areas of booming Miami becoming gentrified as a result of sea level rise...and coastal areas threatened by flooding and storm surge will decrease in value.
Writer Luscombe tells us that residents of South Florida are already buying houses in North Carolina and Tennessee -- to have a safe place to go as the seas rise in the Sunshine State!
Climate Corporation (San Francisco) says that it will only take a few climatic events in a row for a collapse in regional/local real property values to fall. That could make the housing crisis of 2008 "look small."
Luscombe writes that properties in Norfolk, Virginia; Annapolis, Maryland; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Savannah and Charleston, Georgia; and Miami Beach, Florida -- all have areas now where fish swim in driveways and people drive through salt water streets.
As we've reported for you recently, the nation's urban leaders (the mayors of cities large and small) are already addressing the challenges of climate change and making their cities more resilient. As the TV coverage of Hurricane Harvey slows and we move on to the next news cycle, no doubt climate change discussions will increase in tempo. This is hurricane season, after all, and there is already a Category Five storm approaching the American coastlines.
We can debate "when" it is appropriate to raise the issues surrounding climate change, and what to do about it. But we think it is a conversation that is necessary -- so in the end we should do our best to protect all of the U.S.A.'s coastal areas, where 2/3 of the American population reside.
Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and colleagues in Houston and the Texas and Louisiana coastal region. We should all pitch in to help -- neighbor-to-neighbor -- in any way that we can.
What are your thoughts on all of this?