Florida’s Rising Coast: A Threat to the Lives of Millions
BY HUNTER SIMENTAL-RUYBE
This article takes a look at the rising coast of Florida, with a specific look at the Miami-Dade County area. The causes, as well as potential solutions, are discussed as well.
There’s no point in denying it. Much of Florida will one day be under the ocean. However, due to global warming, this future is approaching much more rapidly. One region in particular is extremely vulnerable: Miami-Dade County. With threats to the economy, ecosystem, and an enormous impact on residents, the rising coast and flooding of Miami due to climate change warrants immediate attention.
Yale Environment 360, an environmental journalism magazine, predicts that “five to six feet of sea level rise is likely, and likely catastrophic” in Miami-Dade County. The cause of this sea rise is global warming, with the melting of polar ice caps (that are getting more severe every year). The rising coast also brings with it larger, stronger, and more frequent hurricanes. Even just 6 inches of sea-level rise by 2050 would be enough to majorly disrupt the daily flow of life for the 2.7 million residents of Miami-Dade County by causing major residential damage, damage to underground utilities, and loss of beach property. An estimated $15 to $23 billion of property is expected to be underwater by 2050 as well. The rising coast jeopardizes the domestic, economic, and social stability of the region and is an incredibly serious threat that is in serious need of focus for climate change agendas.
Other parts of Florida are also endangered. Tampa Bay, the Everglades, and the Florida Keys are already seeing permanent damage. The rising coast is disrupting local wildlife like the endangered Florida Panther, leading to a changing ecosystem in Florida. Ways to help alleviate the strain of the rising coast of Florida are plentiful but difficult to implement. Aside from spreading awareness, budget allocation for man-made solutions like infrastructure improvements and dams and basins for flood management are essential in fighting against the rising sea level of Florida’s coast. One such example is Miami’s $100 million dollar flood prevention project. This project is targeting flood management by building new storm pumps, raising roads, and developing better sewer systems. Natural solutions like beach nourishment take time, but when paired with the plans like the flood prevention project mentioned previously, they are very helpful in combating the effects of climate change in Florida.