Miami is sinking. As sea levels rise due to melting glaciers, city officials in Miami Beach are confronted with the real effects of climate change. The rising waters threaten the low-lying city, but in ways that are not always so obvious. Creeping saltwater is beginning to erode away land, threaten freshwater supplies, and compromise the integrity of infrastructure. The situation in Miami is serious, but, residents and community leaders in the city are not giving up without a fight.
With a coalition that spans multiple counties, and officials from both political parties, plans are underway to facilitate local governments with the resources to address and mitigate climate change. This includes investments in pumping stations, new infrastructure such as raised roads, and even a push to make the city more walkable and mass-transit friendly.
On their own, none of the local actions will be enough to stop climate change. However, these steps show that local governments can be effective agents of climate solutions. Leadership at the community and local level is becoming an increasingly important element of climate action. Push your city to be a climate leader by joining Path to Positive Communities.
It’s time to mourn Miami, for as Stan and Paul Cox grimly explain in the New Republic, climate change is submerging the city we used to know. No U.S. metropolitan area is experiencing the effects of global warming more viscerally.
In Miami Beach, the narrow, low-lying island municipality just offshore from the city of Miami, locals dread the full-moon high tides more than ever. The tides push saltwater into the city’s porous limestone foundation, flooding the avenues and gradually corroding buildings.
Across South Florida, beaches are eroding, and water supplies are getting saltier. Over the next 50 years, the Coxes explain, waters along the coast will rise by a minimum of nine inches to two feet. Most of Miami-Dade County is less than six feet above sea level. Altogether, the risk of flooding is tremendous: “Miami’s exposed property will far outstrip that of any other urban area, reaching almost $3.5 trillion by the 2070s.” It’s very possible that large swathes of the area will be uninhabitable by then, and that sometime after 2100, it will all be underwater.
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