This week my hometown of Miami was infamously cited as an example of maladaptation in the latest IPCC report.
“Attempts to fix the problem by installing new stormwater pumps and raising roads and buildings may have actually made inequality worse by raising property values….It was one of the global report’s key examples of “maladaptation,” when efforts to address climate change backfire by raising greenhouse gas emissions or making life harder for vulnerable people.”
All humans need to be reading and understanding these IPCC reports. We are not going to be okay…unless we make rapid, massive changes to our extractive, destructive economy and what fuels it. Yet, there is no reason to despair…unless our leaders do not act wisely to secure a clean energy future. We must pressure them to act in the best interests of our children and the planet.
My own children will be my age (mid-forties) in 2050, when the worst impacts of climate collapse are expected to hit. Now habitable parts of Miami will sink underwater for good, regardless of the city’s current attempts to raise the roads and buildings.
It seems hypocritical that someone who believes in climate science would own property at sea level in Miami. You either believe the experts or are a climate denier. You can’t be both. We have been having real discussions about where we could move to. If we move somewhere in the mountains we may be subject to rapidly intensifying wildfires and winter storms. Plus this island girl hates snow for longer than a week. I’d be miserable. If we move back to native Trinidad and Tobago, the coastlines will also be submerged in time. All of those beautiful Caribbean beaches, and the coral reefs. All gone. There will be unimaginable economic misery in those island states. Even if ‘wealthy’ or middle class folks have the means to retreat to ever more shrinking safe havens and fortresses, they will not be able to escape the climate refugees or the injustice created.
I am so very weary of living in an incongruent world, where every choice I make every day is a compromise on the choices I know I should be making, but feel I can’t because they are not offered to me in this structure called civilization. It is like a thousand small cuts to your soul every day. It makes us all a little less human and is exhausting. Especially when we know that we have alternatives that we have not deployed.
Dystopia is not the future I wish for my children. I am not planning for Armageddon, because that is not going to be a fun world to live in, for anyone. That future is not the choice I make. So I will continue to wake up every day and add my voice to those who have been crying out for decades. Until everyone understands what we must do, and that we already have the plans, technology and tools to do it. We just need the cultural shift and political will to make the changes.
This is a scary time. I’ve been toying with the idea of running from disaster and saving my family. Aside from the fact that I know that we won’t be able to run forever from what is coming, I come back to this pivotal question: “Is ‘home’ worth saving?” And with tears in my eyes I declare: ‘YES! A thousand times, yes!’