Yesterday I attended a State House presentation coordinated by the RI Bays, Rivers, and Watersheds Coordination Team reviewing the shoreline special area management plan, the Beach SAMP. The speakers, primarily from government agencies, spoke on climate change induced sea level rise and what it means for Rhode Island.
All well and good, but it was infused with a great deal of magical thinking about keeping intact our shoreline communities with private control of access to the shore while expecting public subsidy in order to safely keep them there. There was a stunned silence after I finished my question about magical thinking, though eventually the speaker representing the real estate industry mouthed some platitudes.
In this age of austerity, in an age of shrinking livelihoods for many Americans, in an age where the rich demand that we cut their taxes and kowtow to their every whim, while they suck up all the money and insist that free enterprise is the way to the future, we need to call out the hypocrisy of the owners of the shore line when they demand that we publicly fund the infrastructure they need to maintain their houses and lifestyles and allow them to violate environmental rules and common sense, while they fund climate deniers and demand that the poor be abandoned.
The sea is coming. The issue is not how long can we hold it back for the benefit of home owners, it is how do we adapt to rising sea levels and the slow disintegration of our economy as the climate creates disaster after disaster. We can not allow rebuilding along the cost, we need to engineer a retreat while we create much larger coastal ecological buffers that will reduce our carbon footprint, and improve our food security.
Recycling the materials in coastal properties, especially the copper, before it falls into the sea is much better for all of us than waiting for the next storm. If the rich insist on waiting it out until the sea comes for them, they should pay the cost of their own stupidity and not expect the rest of us to rescue them and bail them out.