I have enjoyed reading many articles by Mary Landers, specifically “Study: Rising seas may cause population to shift inland”; however, you can imagine my disappointment when I see that not everyone understands the importance of environmental issues in our community.
Climate change and its implications are not “preposterous ideas” — they are facts. If anyone needs to hear about these facts, it is the people of the Coastal Empire. The residents of Tybee Island are already being directly impacted by the effects of climate change; according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the beach community has experienced 10 inches of sea-level rise since 1935. The seas aren’t “suddenly going to rise” — they already have been at an alarming rate. Tybee Island is frequently cut off from the mainland due to tidal flooding; in 2015, these floods occurred on average every two weeks (23 times in one year). Residents might not be fleeing for their lives, but they are being stranded on their island homes.
I believe that purpose of Landers’ article was to provide the residents and business owners of the Coastal Empire with pertinent, factual information regarding their community. It is unfortunate that many still believe that anything published with the words “climate change” or “rising sea levels” is still perceived as “pushing a liberal agenda” rather than simply informing the general public about the certain dangers they will face in the future.
More than a year ago, Tybee Island became the first Georgia community to officially acknowledge the climate change threat. I believe this is a huge step in the right direction; by accepting peer-reviewed reports and implementing sustainable beach management practices, we can prevent (or at least limit) the destruction of our coastal community. Some will choose to perpetuate a product of doubt around climate change, but others can choose to provide information to citizens, protect residential, business, and ecological communities, and limit further damage of our coastal environments.