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Essential Reading For NJ Shore Dwellers – Back Bays & Barrier Islands

“The Siege of Miami” As Prelude

In the wake of another extreme weather event influenced by climate change, as NJ’s crackerjack investigative reporters are drilling down deep on critical issues like Gov. Christie’s Cape May mop comments and New Hampshire campaigning, one goes elsewhere for interesting reading.

The serendipity of the internet brought me to two wonderful New Yorker pieces to recommend to readers, particularly those shore dwellers short on information about sea level rise and climate change.

First up is a fine piece of writing by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Elizabeth Kolbert: The Siege of Miami

Read it very, very closely shore dwellers – and intrepid journalists too looking for story ideas.

You can be sure that the insurance, mortgage and real estate investors are reading it and making decisions accordingly, even if your local and state governments are not.

Miami is facing even more severe sea level rise issues than the NJ shore, but it’s only a question of rate – or when, not whether – NJ’s low lying coastal areas face these same issues. Inundation – soon – and retreat is the only option.

In fact, NJ’s back bay communities already are regularly experiencing high tide “nuisance flooding” and the same reverse flow of water from the bays back up the storm water infrastructure to the streets as Miami.

Also, similar to Florida, NJ is cursed by a Republican Governor who denies climate change.

While Gov. Christie has not banned the use of the term by his State Government employees like Florida Governor has, Christie has dismantled, defunded, deregulated, and/or outsourced all of NJ’s climate change programs that existed when he took office.

And Christie has failed to build sea level rise projections or extreme weather into his multi-billion dollar Sandy recovery scheme. How the federal government let him get away with that is scandalous.

The second good read also comes from The New Yorker How Zika Virus Can Spread – a piece I particularly recommend to Bergen Record reporters and editorial board, who just wrote about the same issue but somehow managed to omit the linkage to climate change:

Viral epidemics like this one are not just the result of human encroachment on the jungles of Uganda, or of teams of travelling canoeists from the South Pacific, or even, simply, of globalization. Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that is largely responsible for transmitting pathogens such as Zika and dengue, thrives in the warm, humid, increasingly dense urban centers of Latin America, and climate change has been making these places warmer and wetter. According to a report by the World Health Organization, dengue infected people thirty times more frequently in 2013 than it did in the nineteen-sixties, making it the planet’s most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne virus. The International Panel on Climate Change recently projected that “the area of the planet that was climatically suitable for dengue would increase under most scenarios.”

In case it’s not obvious, the common threads between these two wonderful pieces of writing is climate change and the NJ press corps’ total failure to use a little imagination and address them.

To climate activists: maybe we can do field education and media events on full moon high tides at low lying shore areas?

Shoot me an email for good locations!

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