Last week, almost six months after Hurricane Sandy came ashore to devastating effect, UCS convened a multi-state roundtable on the growing risks from sea level rise, storm surges, and flooding. Officials from Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia, together with a representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, came together to talk about what they are doing to help protect their communities from these risks and what future steps may be needed to build resilience. Read More
April 24th, 2013
Grappling with Sea Level Rise Before and After Hurricane Sandy: Film “Shored Up” Leaves No Sand Grain Unturned
April 17th, 2013
I have the opportunity to participate in a work-in-progress screening of the new film “Shored Up” with Ben Kalina, Director and Producer, as part of the 2013 Filmfest DC. The film leaves no sand grain unturned; every perspective is brought together to capture wisdom and ironic lessons as New Jersey and North Carolina grapple with accelerating sea level rise before and after Hurricane Sandy. It is a gripping tale about human nature and how we try to prevail over the tremendous forces of nature that can be episodic and terrifying at times, separated by long periods of seeming tranquility. The scenes shot during and after Hurricane Sandy remind us of that reality in a visceral way.
February 11th, 2013
We get it now: Sea level is rising and the wrong storm can decimate our coastal communities. Now what? Read More
November 27th, 2012
I remember as a child working furiously with my brother to erect a sand castle fast enough during low tide so we could enjoy it before the high tide began its work of destroying our youthful attempts at engineering. Even as children we had a respect for the power of the ocean. We knew our sand castle was a bit of fantasy that was temporary fun, but I am not so sure we have the same notion when it comes to seawalls or other structures erected along sand, gravel or cobble shorelines. Hurricane Sandy reminds us just how powerful the ocean is and how vulnerable nearly any structure is that we put within its reach. With its reach now expanding, what can be done?
November 16th, 2012
Several years ago, as I stood upon the bow of a ship leaving the Arctic sea ice after months of research, a senior colleague observed that I had become “ice bitten.” He was right. It’s a feeling that’s never left me, one that still motivates me today. And as a new documentary, “Chasing Ice,” hits the big screens this weekend for a limited engagement, one thing is clear. I’m not the only one. Read More
November 9th, 2012
Hurricane Sandy has put climate change firmly on our country’s radar screen. What’s clear is that we are not at all adequately prepared for the risks of extreme weather, especially in a warming world. And our ill-preparedness is devastatingly costly. Can we learn from this and do better? Read More
November 8th, 2012
Sometimes it’s really difficult to accept that we’re still evolving. In the far distant past, our ancient ancestors could look about them and observe the planets and the stars and the tides. They would experience flood and drought and watch for signs of impending disasters. They might believe that the disasters were caused by angry gods, and their strategies for avoiding calamity may have been limited by their belief systems. Nevertheless, they were guided at least, in part, by what their eyes and senses told them, and relied on their powers of observation to predict what would happen. Read More
October 31st, 2012
As Hurricane Sandy approached Virginia Beach, I watched churning surf form a troublesome backdrop to two skateboarders harnessing the wind to propel themselves rapidly along the boardwalk. Those same winds were piling up water to form a dangerous storm surge and portended a powerful blow that would ultimately cause widespread devastation throughout the region. Since that moment, I have been asked many questions about Hurricane Sandy. Here are answers to the most common ones. Read More
October 11th, 2012
Even as all too many politicians continue to question the very existence of human-induced climate change, cities and counties in Florida and other coastal states are already struggling with the reality of sea level rise and are looking at billions of dollars in expenditures to deal with its impacts. Read More
August 31st, 2012
Local sea level rise has increased so much since the Key West Airport was built, that during the “Super Moon” super high tide in May 2012 it was flooded with seawater. Sea planes would have been more appropriate than jet planes during that day. Floridians are grappling with how to prepare their schools, roads, homes and airports to withstand sea level rise, accelerated by climate change.