“[U]npreparedness requires, one might say, quite a lot of preparation. We build in places prone to flooding. We do that largely because subsidies encourage it. Federal flood insurance is a way the entire country subsidizes building and rebuilding in places destined for repeated hits.
We rely on overhead lines to bring electricity, lines vulnerable to falling trees. And when they fall, we put them right back. Underground lines are more expensive. But if you have to keep repairing the overhead lines…
We’ve created coastal bowling-pin communities; we set ‘em up and the weather takes ‘em down. I live in one. I’m guilty. In my defense, I’ll claim entrapment, because I have federal flood insurance.
You made me do it. So I just want to take this opportunity to thank you. But I’d like to also tell you, it’s OK with me if you withdraw your generosity. In fact it would be better if you did. You help make us lazy. And by us, I mean millions of people living along the coast, whistling in the dark. And you help our politicians look away from the oncoming truth.”
Its only going to get worse (Read our last blog post: Think Sandy was bad ? Its going to get worse)
Let’s hope that President Obama can work with Congress to identify policies that end up underwriting development in hazard zones. And, in our local communities, a similar look at zoning and other rules that might contribute to vulnerability wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
He recently wrote an amazing book, called “The View From Lazy Point” – everyone should read this book.
Carl Safina is a MacArthur Fellow, Pew Fellow and Guggenheim Fellow, an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University and president of Blue Ocean Institute. His books include “Song for the Blue Ocean, The View From Lazy Point” and “A Sea in Flames,” about last year’s Deepwater Horizon blowout. He is host of “Saving the Ocean,” on PBS.
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Related post: Think Sandy was bad ? Its going to get worse