"God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire next time." The lyrics to this old gospel tune remind us that in Genesis, God promised not to flood the earth again (although it looks like many of us many soon be drowning), and there’s a good chance that in 50 or 100 or 200 years, coastal cities like New York City will sink beneath the sea.
Twenty thousand years ago, what is now New York City was at the edge of a giant ice sheet, and on its coastline, tthe sea as about 400 feet lower. But as the last ice age thawed, the sea rose to where it is today. Now we are in a new warming phase, and the oceans are rising again. A recent scientific study came to the conclusion that we are unlikely to keep the seas from climbing less than five feet, and more than six million Americans live on land that is less than five feet above the local high tide level.
In the November 25th edition of the New York Times, Benjamin Strauss and Robert Kopp write: "There are two basic ways to protect ourselves from sea level rise: reduce it by cutting pollution, or prepare for it by defense and retreat. To do the job, we must do both. We have lost our chance for complete prevention–and preparation alone, without slowing emissions, would–sooner or later–turn our coastal cities into so many Atlantises (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show).
In the November 25th edition of the New York Times, James Atlas reminds us that, "This is our fate. All the more reason to appreciate what we have while we have it."