Different groups have different predictions for how much the sea levels will rise in the coming century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts seas will rise by more than three feet by the end of this century, the United States Army Corps of Engineers says five feet and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts up to six and a half feet. So what do we do about it? The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce was hosting a discussion Friday about sea level rise. I spoke with Irela Bague, the Sustainability, Environment & Energy Committee chair for the chamber, about what they planned to talk about.
Well, what’s unique about today’s discussion is we’re going to be covering solutions. So rather than what we’ve been hearing for the past few years that sea levels are rising, and the doom and gloom, and people should just move from Miami-Dade County and just cut and run, which is really a bad message. We’re invested so much into building a world-class city that it is ridiculous to not start working on solutions and implementing technologies and methods to reinforce our infrastructure capital improvements. We’re seeing some of that already in Miami Beach and in protecting our drinking water supply from salt water intrusion, which is probably the biggest threat from sea-level rise.
List a couple things that we can do, because stopping Mother Nature is going to be tough.
People talk about the issue as if it’s kind of far off. We have to take that into consideration, but we really should start preparing ourselves for storms and extreme weather events. We haven’t had a hurricane here, a serious hurricane here, in decades. So that’s what I think we should be preparing for — taking sea-level rise into account and looking at how we’re building today. Should we be building differently? Should we be changing our codes? Should we be implementing expediting Everglades restoration, for example? Rehydrating Biscayne Bay is a perfect example of protecting our water supply from saltwater intrusion, which is a threat that’s one of the biggest threats from sea-level rise.