Monday, March 9, 2015

Miami: Peaking and Sinking at the same time

So a series of events have combined to vex me about global sea rise. Let's be clear, I am no environmentalist. I don't recycle, I'm not a vegetarian, I drive cars that are questionably fuel efficient and probably meet the minimal emissions standards, So I know I have a lot of "personal work" to do on reducing my own carbon footprint. But I want you to know, I'm ready, ready to do my part to save mother earth or at least the fabulous patch of earth I'm currently inhabiting. I'm ready to tell climate change denialists that it's true. It's happening. And I don't feel like moving to higher floor on my condo because I hate elevators.
Lisa Beal: Saving the world and looking good doing it.

First of these events is my friendship with Dr. Lisa Beal.  Lisa is a world renowned oceanographer that works at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. I lunch with her every Saturday after swim practice. She is amazingly fabulous. Smart English accent with her signature shock of purple hair.  She keeps me updated on the latest in fashions and global climate change. She is unequivocal about sea level rise and frustrated by the dogmatic denial climate change by local, state and national leaders. 

Can Miami make waders hip? No.
Second, is a recent article in The Guardian by Robin McKie that really depressed me.    It depressed me because it's seems so true. Unlike Jeff Godell's bombastic piece in Rolling Stone, The Guardian's piece makes a credible argument that sea level rise is inevitable and that our elected leaders, despite all the evidence around them, don't notice that its really happening. You don't even to say "I'm not a scientist", not to notice that parts of Miami Beach now flood during high tide. Which didn't happen before. Miami Beach just spent $500 million to pump the ocean off of Alton Road and West Avenue 1000 feet into the the ground.  Despite this, the King Tide that happens at full moon every month still requires fashionable waders to get to Purdy Lounge or shop at Publix. To top it off, State Employees are forbidden from using the terms "climate change" and "global warming". I wonder if they're allowed to say "sea level rise" when Ocean Drive becomes navigable by dinghy.

Seas  rising? No such thing.
Finally, a freak winter storm flooded my neighborhood last weekend. As a native Miamian my father always warned me about all those neighborhoods "built in the swamp". Which is essentially everything west of 57th Avenue. Because of those warnings I've always been adamant about living on "high ground" which is basically most land east of 57th Ave. (the city extends west to about 190th Ave) High ground in Miami is about 12 feet above the current sea level.

I'm depressed about the whole thing. I walk and bike through Miami everyday.  I stroll through Morningside, Bayshore and Belle Meade and look around at the absolute beauty of this city.  The lushness, it's vibrancy.  I love it's new dynamic art scene, the amazing architecture new and old. I am so sad to think that within my lifetime all of it could just float away.  I don't have a plan, I'm not going to be a vegetarian or give up my BMWs tomorrow. I'll work on my recyling.......and tell my elected officials that it' true and fancy Bass Pro Shop waders are just not going to cut it.