The Quiet Tsunami

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“If you don’t know, now ya know,” Biggie Smalls once said. Now, if you don’t know that CO2 emissions are increasingly warming our planet, now you know. Last week, Justin Gillis published an article in the New York Times titled “Rising Sea Level Seen as Threat to Coastal U.S.” It’s unfortunate that an issue such as rising sea level still remains a political issue of little salience. However, if scientists like Dr. Ken Miller of the Rutgers Geological Sciences department are warning us that by 2100 New Jersey might see sea level rise to a level worth worrying about, shouldn’t we act now?

It is difficult to precisely gauge scientific data to the “tee” when it comes to predicting the exact year for a disaster to occur. Scientists say the Yellowstone volcano is estimated to erupt now, but now can be 50,000 years down the road. This makes people hesitant to act about environmental issues. Even worse it makes people totally indifferent to science. This causes an article like the one I mention to easily be pushed in the “back pages.” If we wait long enough to act, we’ll be sideswiped by a quiet tsunami.

Most scientists agree that by 2100, many of the United States coastal regions will see a sea level rise of almost 1 meter. Although 2100 appears to be a long time away, it is not. The time to act is now. Unfortunately, awareness and individual environmental sacrifices will not be enough to change this problem. Policy that addresses this problem is the only solution.  Yes, it is terrifying that politicians are the only people who can prevent sea level rise.  However, I urge New Jersey citizens to write to your senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez asking them to begin a dialogue about sea level rise!

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