Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Societal Madness: Inviting Disaster

Americans have been increasingly moving to the sunbelts, and the explosive growth along America's shoreline in the last two decades was a disaster waiting to happen.

Selected quote:

Scientists and environmentalists have cautioned for years that the nation's coastline is dangerously overbuilt. But with Americans migrating in increasing numbers to coastal counties, construction only accelerated, and local officials increasingly relied on technology and luck to forestall catastrophe. As high-rise condominiums and sprawling beach homes have proliferated, warnings have been consistently ignored....

The development pressure comes from one immutable fact: Americans love waterfront property. And the federal government has fueled that love through flood insurance that minimizes its risks and by paying for infrastructure such as bridges and roads that makes it more accessible.

In the process, coastal development often degrades the barrier beaches and coastal wetlands that can serve as natural buffers against hurricanes. "You just cannot justify massive building and rebuilding near the most dangerous property in the United States," said Orrin H. Pilkey Jr., a professor emeritus at Duke University and a specialist in coastal ecosystems. "It's a form of societal madness."....

In 1960, there were 180 people per square mile in the coastal United States; by 1994, there were 275 per square mile. A USA Today study in 2000 found 1,000 year-round settlers arriving in coastal counties each day. |Washington Post (reg'n req'd)|
Engineering News Record discusses the measures taken by the UK and the Netherlands to protect their low-lying areas from flooding. But they have to be prepared for even more adversity due to global warming and rising seas levels.
For the future, the Netherlands and the U.K. forecast sea level rises in flood defense planning through the effects of global warming and long-term falling land levels caused by geological factors. High tide levels in central London are rising by some 60 centimeter each century. Dutch forecasts put the increase there at 10 to 90 cm.|ENR|
So, spending $100 billion to rebuild New Orleans is just another example of our gung-ho American spirit. Super.


John said...

Neal - Your Washington Post link is going to Microsoft.com.

To find the article, I tried a few things: At first, I removed the ?sub=AR at the end but that didn't work.

Then I noticed the extra http:// at the beginning, but that didn't work either.

Removing both also didn't work. Each time it went right to Microsoft and a photo of Bill Gates looking heavenward with his hands in a Mr. Burns' "excellent" pose.

Odd thing is that the address without the beginning and end mentioned above is correct. Even odder is that if I copy and paste your link and erase everything but the Post's homepage, it doesn't work either.

Either my machine's acting up or Mr. Gates is getting back at the Post for buying Slate. Or Safety is sabotaging the link...

I was able to get it to work by erasing the ?sub ending, the extra http:// and the other http://, so it started with www.


Safety Neal said...

Thanks for catching that, John. I cleaned up the Washington Post link.

Oddly, if you put a double http:// in front of any link it seems to redirect to M$. I'm using Firefox now, so I think that must be a router issue rather than a browser cheat.

John said...

I'm using Firefox, too. That must explain it, although I like my Slate revenge idea...