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The politics of flooding

Do you believe that human action has caused and is causing negative outcomes with respect to the environment?

The New York Times published a feature piece this week on the flooding of the US east coast. 

Associated with the article is a fantastic infographic that shows all of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) tide gauges up and down the eastern seaboard. It then zooms in to a few locations and shows mean sea level rise (in inches) since 1950 and the number of days of “nuisance flooding.”

Here’s a sample screenshot:

If you don’t feel like reading the full article, at least check out the infographic. The increase in nuisance flooding for some cities – such as Wilmington, N.C. (shown above) and Annapolis, MD – is astounding.

What’s frustrating about the whole climate change debate is that it remains not only a debate, but an ideological debate. Here’s a quote from the article that stood out for me:

“I’m a Republican, but I also realize, by any objective analysis, the sea level is rising,” said Jason Buelterman, the mayor of tiny Tybee Island, one of the first Georgia communities to adopt a detailed climate plan.

In other words: I’m not supposed to think this way, but I do.


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