Do Americans really believe that by the end of the 21st century five million of us could be living underwater? According to Climate Central, a scientific non-profit which researches the impact of climate change on the American public, by the end of this century sea levels will have risen anywhere between 20 to 80 inches. And though that's a huge gap in estimation, rising sea levels all mean the same thing for coastal communities: flooding. In a 2012 publication called Surging Seas, Climate Central reported that global warming triples the odds of major, history-breaking flooding. They also state that eight of the top ten most exposed cities in the US are in Florida. This comes as no surprise, albeit I don't think the risk of major flooding is crossing the minds of my fellow South Floridians as they lay on the beach. However, it is on the forefront of a city that has recently experienced the cost and devastation of flooding.
Hoboken, New Jersey: It is impossible to forget the faces and the stories of the city's residents as they helped one another clean up the wreckage of their homes after Hurricane Sandy. This super storm cost the city $110 million in property damage and hundreds of millions in damage to their transit systems. The cost of this damage—and the four floods since Sandy—continues to take its toll on Hoboken, and the city has determined to prevent this from happening again. Led by Mayor Dawn Zimmer, a member of President Obama's Climate Change Task Force, Hoboken has designed a Resiliency and Readiness Plan. In an interview with NPR Zimmer said, "This is the number one priority for me, as the mayor of Hoboken. This is the biggest challenge that our city is facing. We are living with this now and we need to figure out a way to live with water."Julie Fahnestock is passionate about telling the story of where business meets good. She lives in West Palm Beach, Florida and is currently pursuing her MBA in Managing for Sustainability at Marlboro Graduate School in Vermont. She has a background in international development and grassroots organizing and is passionate about equitable wages, labor rights and the global income disparity. If you can't find Julie, don't worry. Grab your board and head south on A1A. She's probably surfing somewhere along Florida's coast.
KEYWORDS: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Resiliency and Readiness Plan, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, President Obama's Climate Change Task Force, Hoboken, NJ, Climate Central, National Public Radio, City of Hoboken, 100 Resilient Cities, the rockefeller foundation