Saturday, October 15, 2011

Disappearing Beaches

This article talks about how climate change is increasing water levels as well as the severity of storms. This may seem bad enough without taking the economic facet into account. Rising water levels in the Pacific Ocean are not only threatening the natural ecosystem of the Californian coastline but are also threatening the fiscal wellbeing of the coastal community. A study released by San Francisco State University warns that as stronger coastal storms and beach erosion batter the coast of California, communities of people and natural species will be displaced. As the beaches get destroyed, so does the local economy. If the Pacific Ocean rises the projected 55 inches by 2100, Venice Beach will lose around $440 million in tourism and tax revenue. This sea level rise would also cause $52 million in flood damage to Venice Beach area homes along with $39 million in habitat loss. Malibu beaches would lose $500 million in tourism, $28.5 million in damaged homes, and $102 million in habitat loss. The study estimates that sea levels will rise 4 to 5 feet and cause $100 billion in damages by 2100. My first thought when I hear that coastlines will be swallowed up by rising sea levels is for the natural environment. Coastal habitats contain great biodiversity and losing this type of environment would be very detrimental. I did not even realize the blow that the economy would take when sea levels rise. There would be fewer jobs available in California due to the fact that any job along the coast or involving the beach would be out of the picture. I would assume that many people would then become jobless and try to look for a job further inland. Right now 80% of Californians live in coastal communities and rely on beaches to support the local economy so it will be interesting to see how they can adjust to shrinking land and income.
--Annie Sekerak

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