Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What will the coastline look like in the future?

Many highly populated areas are now directly adjacent to the coastline or in very close proximity to the coast. This is lovely for those that get to live with lovely views of the ocean or live there because of proximity to trade routes or similar.

However, with climate change and sea level rise there are likely to be significant consequences for all those people that live near the coast. Not only are people going to be directly affected with houses being inundated, but much of our society's infrastructure is located in close proximity to these areas and will likely have significant challenges because of these environmental issues.

(Source: The Guardian

In light of these significant impacts that will be faced by millions of people, I cannot see anything but gloom for coastal environments and coastal processes that remain intact nearby these large human populations. 

Do you think governments will stand by the ecological value of the community of mangroves or salt marshes when the people that live behind them face imminent inundation and furthermore the government could take the easy option for these people through the construction of a seawall or similar? 

I feel so pessimistic about this. My professional world is immersed in this reality based economic development sector and I can't see the broader community supporting the retreat of communities (and protecting the coastal environments) over the "easier" solution of building walls and providing coastal engineering solutions (due to the externalities associated with these strategies).

I would love to hear your opinion about this and perhaps lift my mood about this. Perhaps you have some of the picture that I have forgotten to consider in the first place. 

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