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Original post made
on Dec 16, 2007
"It's just too late, we missed our chance," Will Travis says. If you look at the BCDC maps on their web site, increasing water levels by one meter will flood over 101.
What he doesn't talk about is high-tide storm-surge levels, which, of course, will be much higher and sweep inland much farther.
So, even though "it's just too late", Travis advises that we, ". . .try to minimize the region's emissions by promoting high-density development amenable to public transportation."
Uh, huh. And, where, exactly, would that be? Menlo Park, on average, is about 70 ft. above present sea level. However there is a topographic slope toward the bay.
Just how far inland these waters and by 2040, we are told will rise under worst-case scenarios is not clear. It's an interesting problem. Some people want to run Caltrain in a trench. Wait a minute. Could floodwaters reach El Camino? Maybe underground parking isn't such a good idea. Are we going to high-density develop downtown Menlo Park for a very wet future? In short, are we really serious or are we just pretending to be serious with solar panels and bicycles? I can't get Travis' phrase out of my head, " . . . it's just too late. . ."
After writing the statement, above, I thought more about this. We in Menlo Park have been exposed to a great deal of political attention regarding climate change over the past year.
I need to get this off my chest. Global warming is global. And, global problems are seldom solved at the local level.
There was a time, several centuries ago, when many fewer people on this planet lived in survivalist mode off the land, barely making a dent on its resources. Nature was an enemy to be conquered and controlled. Its consumption was modest. Its gifts appeared endless. Now the global population is 6 billion rising to 9 billion in fairly short order. We have won the battle against Nature, thereby defeating it. As Pogo famously said, "And the enemy is us."
So, the first order problem is people. There are too many of us. In the 21st century, civilization is so totally energy and resource dependent that we are now consuming and destroying our host planet, everything on it and everything in it. More of us will only make it worse.
The economically powerful on this planet are the beneficiaries of this consumption regime and most resistant to its reduction. What the rest of us do is trivial. Until global leaders, political and economic, actively and forcefully reduce our self-indulgent manner of living -- that to which all lesser nations aspire -- energy and resource consumption will continue ever increasing.
Even the most optimistic see no turn-around as we approach a tipping point of no return. Some feel that we have reached it already. In my opinion, all the feel good gestures, the tokenism, the pious meetings, and the political correctness amount to no more than a cosmetic palliative. We really are not serious about this, are we?
Martin, I wish I could say you're way off base in your assessment of the problem. But I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet. Sometimes big solutions start small. There are many people who are concerned about the disastrous results of climate change, but are paralyzed because they don't think there's anything we can do individually or as a community. But the more Menlo Parks there are -- communities willing to make a committed effort to DO something -- the more models there will be for other individuals and communitites to point to and, perhaps, draw hope and inspiration from. What else can we do?
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