Climate change is a very significant problem, one which hadn’t been considered important enough by many until the recent Hurricane Sandy. Given the havoc this mega storm caused in New York, academics as well as political leadership is gearing up to envisions ways of saving the city from future assaults of the sea.
The average temperature of our world is steadily rising, thanks to the green house effect and our incessant tramping on all things natural. As a result, glaciers on the poles and the mountaintops are melting, surging water volumes in rivers and in turn, rising the tide of the sea.
Every year, the sea is rising and the cities located near it will have to add additional protective measures to save themselves from a high tide like the one we saw during Hurricane Sandy. Thankfully, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, acknowledges this problem.
According to him, “There has been a series of extreme weather incidents. That is not a political statement. That is a factual statement. Anyone who says there’s not a dramatic change in weather patterns, I think is denying reality.”
In the past, suggestions have come from different quarters as to how to best protect New York against a rough sea, shall the circumstances arise. In 2011 a ‘Comprehensive Waterfront Plan’ was presented which envisioned building seawalls and protecting natural waterfront areas to better regulate the natural ecosystem.
Academics, too, have cited their concern on this issue. Some of them give examples of Russia and the Netherlands where man-made barriers have been effective in fending off the sea. Malcolm Bowman, a professor of physical oceanography at New York State University, thinks that building these walls can be very effective.
Other suggestions, including some which were borrowed from ‘Rising Currents’ exhibition in 2010, go on to explore the possibilities of man-made island, artificial reefs and porous road-sides. Whereas all these ideas are creative, they still require a lot of political, and social, will to be implemented.