Most people in the world view climate change as a problem for tomorrow but for the residents of Miami that is not the case. The effects of climate change are being felt today in Miami as rising sea levels cause water to gush onto the the streets of the city leading to the misery and suffering of its residents and if something is not done to curb the problem now, then we could be looking at a disaster of epic proportions.
What makes Miami particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels has to do with its unique geology. The city is built on a foundation primarily composed of limestone which is porous and absorbs the rising seawater. This water then fills up drains and pipes as it rises causing sewage to rise up with it and to contaminate fresh water and therefore creating a deadly potential health hazard. The city`s topography only adds more its problems due to the fact that of the 4 million American citizens who reside on land that is 4 feet or less above sea level, half of them live in south Florida. Miami also has a lot of condominiums and resorts that are right on the verge of the city making them exceptionally vulnerable.
Mother nature can be a vengeful mistress as the problem in Miami is most severe during autumn season when the sea rises bringing powerful tides that hit Miami beach leaving destruction in their wake. These tides form dangerous walls of water that hit the coast and move into the drains to change the normal direction of water and causes them to fill up and gush onto the most important through-way of Miami beaches` western side called Alton road. If the rains and winds reach the levels of forming hurricanes then homes and business are overrun, vehicles are damaged by the corrosive nature of seawater, disgusting green slime rises from the gutters and the entire city becomes paralyzed as all problems worsen tenfold to become virtually unmanageable.
There is an increase in economic hardship on the city residents as they have to spend money buying rubber uniform clothes when navigating high water levels and plastic water resistant bags for carrying their things. Cars that experience corrosion due to seawater tend to last a very short time forcing people to replace their vehicles all to often. Cost of leaving also increases as one is forced to pay more rent to get a home that is high enough to avoid flooding.
What makes the situation even more heartbreaking is that even if by some miracle all emission around the world were halted today, there already exist enough damage done to the atmosphere to guarantee a rise in the sea levels. Research done at the Florida International University paints a very bleak picture because their charts show that even if there is a mere four feet rise in the levels of the worlds oceans then most of the lavish residential areas including Florida keys and Miami beach will be largely filled with seawater and at a mere six feet then pretty much all of Miami will be a fond memory of the past. The Port of Miami is proud to have the highest traffic of cruise ships anywhere in the world but that may soon disappear severely hurting the economy of the city.
Despite all these grim estimations the real estate prices in Miami continue to rise as people are willing to give an arm and a leg for a piece of the pie but when it eventually gets to the point that sewage can no longer be flashed and water is no longer available in peoples homes then the property values will take a nosedive crushing the economy, insurance cost on homes will rise due to increased risk, local governments won`t be able to balance their sheets leading to an inevitable tax rise and by then it will be too late to do anything abut it plus there won`t be any money to do anything anyway.
One final risk worth mentioning is the Turkey point nuclear facility located a mere 25 miles South of Miami. If there is a flood on the scale of what happened in Japan 2011 then there exist the possibility of a similar disaster as that of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster which was flooded by sea water.
The response of the local and federal government can be described as weak at best. Florida’s` prominent politicians such as Governor Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio have been skeptical about just how dangerous the impact of global warming is with Rubio -who is vying for the presidency- going as far as to state that he does not believe human activity has anything to do with climate change.The local government has set aside up to $1.5 billion to assist in efforts to curb the flooding and of the the whole amount, nearly $400 million dollars is allocated towards Alton road but despite all this money spent the residents of Miami are yet to see any concrete or effective measures actually stopping the problem from becoming a disaster.
What Miami needs is a radical and decisive response to the crisis by installing an extensive network of large pipes as is the case now in New Orleans. The problem however is that these reforms will cost a lot of money which nobody is willing to spend at this time and as long as climate change deniers continue to preach their rhetoric then Miami will remain under constant risk of literally going under under water.