Atlantis will be a reality

Back in the early 1970s, an interesting and different song by Donovan called “Atlantis” hit the airwaves. It spoke of the destroyed world consumed by the sea. As sea level rises, the city of Miami will become a future Atlantis.

Earlier this week, on a PBS Newshour piece called “Will climate change turn Miami into a future Atlantis?”, Henry Briceno, a research scientist from Florida International University, used the phrase to define his city, “we are doomed.” Sadly, this is the second scientist I have heard define Miami’s future demise.

Hurricanes have caused Miami planners to build for strong winds. Yet, they have not paid enough attention to the encroaching seas. Miami is built on porous limestone, so sea water can more easily come in. Sunny day flooding has occurred more frequently and pumps and pipes attempt to take the water back out to the bay. It is even worse during the spring and fall when the moon’s impact on tides is stronger.

Miami’s Dade County and three adjacent counties are investing $200 million to recycle the water back to the bay. Yet, It is not enough and maybe too late. New Orleans is taking advice from Denmark on their water management lessons, but Miami’s limestone is a huge problem. Plus, the sea water will find its way into the Biscayne aquifer which will cause drinking water issues.

This is no longer a future issue. Sunny day flooding causes the streets of Miami Beach to be several inches deep in sea water quite often. Other coastal cities are seeing more sunny day flooding, as well.

Future models show an alarming picture for Miami and the Everglades. Sadly, too many are turning a blind’s eye. In the sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore and the Miami Beach mayor were standing in flooded streets, while the governor would not take their calls after asking staff to never use the term climate change. You would think the governor of a state surrounded on three sides by water would be concerned about climate change.

Donovan’s song may need to be re-released. Or, maybe the words can be updated for new coastal cities like Miami.

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29 thoughts on “Atlantis will be a reality

  1. Sadly, the people who could do something, won’t. And … once Miami is completely under water, what next, for we know it doesn’t stop there. If I lived anywhere in Florida, I believe I would be considering a move north. It can be hoped that Andrew Gillum wins the Florida governours race next month and will be more attentive toward the issue of climate change, but without cooperation from the federal government, his hands may be largely tied. It’s time for us to awaken from our long slumber and realize this problem isn’t going to just go away.

    • Jill, eight of the ten largest cities in the world are coastal. Miami is the most vulnerable. Denmark is below sea level, so they developed a long term plan that had to multi-partisan. And, they have been dealing with water management for years. The fact that Governor Rick Scott could win a Senate seat in Florida is truly frustrating given what little he has done to prepare Florida. Yes, he handled the hurricane well, but his efforts to ignore and mock climate change are appalling. Keith

      • Agreed … it is time for Florida to put Rick Scott in mothballs, for he is an obstructionist, like so many others in the GOP, when it comes to dealing with our environmental problems, current and future.

      • Jill, I agree. Especially when you factor in his Medicaid expansion stance and earlier fraud. But, he will likely be elected Senator as Nelson is running a poor campaign. Keith

  2. We have wasted so much energy arguing about the cause of climate change that most attempts to prepare for it and deal with have been derailed. It’s really sad, kind of like watching an obese person in a wheelchair reaching for a donut. This is a great and timely post.

  3. If Canute did sit at the shore, it was to prove to his courtiers he was not as mighty as they kept telling him, and being of Viking stock they should realise the power of the sea.
    Of course these days……
    I can just see Trump hurling abuse at the sea and its liberal ways trying to wreck his vision of America.

    • Sadly, it is not just Miami in the US. The Philippines have their own climate issues, so Miami would still be in dire straights. As for N Korea, that would be an interesting blend.

  4. Perhaps the huge sums of money spent on the new Haddon Collider might have been better spent on taking steps to guard coastal cities that are threatened. I think you will see the poorer coastal disasters ignored as wealth always protects its own interests first. We might also add that where business can make more profit by ignoring climatic effects they will gladly do so.

    • Kersten, good point on the Haddon Collider. Now we may benefit someday, but it won’t do us much good if we are under sea water while drinking water dries up.

      The poor are often the ones who bear the brunt. In Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands of fishermen and families had to move to cities because of the encroaching ocean. The cities were not prepared, so many more suffer.

      Right now, people are making profit off renewable energy as the prices have dramatically dropped. It is no longer an economic vs environment issue. When all true costs are present valued, renewables kick coal energy’s fanny. Yet, this story is underreported, especially on conservative news. Keith

      • Scientists use a very subtle argument to keep money flowing into their favorite projects : who can say what the future benefits will be and it shuts up all our complaints.
        I had no idea that clean energy was becoming profitable but I did know China were doing a rare trade in solar panels much to Mr Trumps annoyance. Of course profit makes the world go round from the corner shop to Mac McDonalds , it is the life-blood of survival and the road to endless enjoyment and leisure.

      • Kertsen, China invested more heavily into solar panels and they became the cheaper product. It is one of the targets of Trump’s tariffs. China studied the future more than we do, and invests in minerals that help small electronics and solar panels as they have to reverse their impact on fossil fuel exhaust. Remember the Beijing Olympics being so smoggy.

        One of the big benefits at the Paris Climate Change meeting was a sidebar deal called The Breakthrough Energy Coalition with over 180 companies backing it. Their focus is on techonology Innovation to address cleaner energies.

        Thanks for your comment. Keith

    • It’s a “not so funny thing” isn’t it, that both sides of the personal wealth issue will do whatever it takes to profit from climate change. Some will exaggerate it, some will deny it but the very real bottom line is profit. Always about profit. Under properly functioning capitalism when the poor can no longer be milked, they should be abandoned like old mines or old outdated plants, or better yet, eliminated. How long before the “System” devises a believable plan to take care of “the final solution” for the poor? The smug will claim it cannot happen, history says otherwise.

      • Sha’Tara, a profit motivation is not in and of itself a bad thing. Yet, the better companies realize they must be good community citizens, as well. I mention the profits of renewables, as too many folks still think this industry is fledgling. Keith

      • Keith, I beg to disagree emphatically. The profit motive is the problem!!!. Another word for it is greed and greed is insatiable. Don’t people realize that as long as we insist that “a little rot” is not the problem, it’s the big rot that is the problem, we fail to realize that the little rot is what turns into the big rot? Pre-“civilization” communities did not operate by the profit motive, that’s a capitalist gospel, not a living one. Point numero deux: which “better companies” could you cite the names of, beyond the propaganda and mission statements? When it comes to capitalism, one must read all statements made for public consumption in reverse. “Our goal is to protect and enhance the Environment” actually reads: “Our goal is to maximize our profits and if that means destroying the environment so be it. No apologies: we are following the gospel of capitalism. We can further claim in our defense that we create jobs.”

      • Sha’Tara, many thanks for your comment. Your passion is exemplary. If you have read my comments and posts, while I believe in capitalism, we also blend a huge dose of socialism in the US economy with Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, utilities, etc., and limit capitalism.

        With that said, I do believe a pursuit of profit is not a bad thing. It increases productivity. Yet, to your point, we need to make sure people are treated fairly and the system is not gamed. Keith

  5. Pre-civilisation communities were brutal tough places to live in and life expectancy was not much more than thirty years. Billions now live in relative comfort and in the western democracies the vast majority have more than ever before in history.

  6. Dear Keith,

    Sadly, this what happens when our elected leaders refuse to give due deference to science but to their gut, greedy interests, junk science instead of partnering with science to solve problems.

    Hugs, Gronda

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