I’ve always thought that most Americans would simply rather put up with the effects of the climate crisis than to push for systemic changes that would mitigate it.
And I think I’m right. Coastal communities are moving to higher ground and/or building structures to block the rising ocean.
The issue of whether to stay or flee is being confronted around the globe. Places experimenting with retreat have adopted various strategies. In Britain, for example, several sites along the Essex coast have deliberately breached seawalls to create salt marshes, which act as a natural barrier to flooding.
In the U.S., the starkest example can be found in Alaska, where entire villages have been forced to move to higher ground or are thinking about it in the face of melting sea ice. Hawaii’s famous beaches are slowly shrinking and some scientists think it’s a matter of time before the state has to explore whether to move back development.
I currently live one block away from the Pacific Ocean — near one of those “famous beaches,” by the way.
People are weird. It’s going to cost less and be far less inconvenient to do something about carbon and energy than to be constantly running away from the problem — all the while picking up the pieces of broken lives and broken towns after major climate events destroy huge chunks of civilization.