Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Namazu School: Threatened Ports


New Orleans is Not the Only Port that is Low in Terms of Sea Level. Hurricanes Tend to Destroy Them One at a Time and We do tend to Rebuild. But a Large Enough Meteor Strike could wipe Out All of the Low Elevation Ports on a Single Coast at Once and Instantly. What Should We Do to Mitigate Against that Eventuality?

File:Songkhla Sea Port.jpg
New Orleans isn't the only port barely above sea level and sea level is increasing

 What should we do? In some ways the fact that  sea level is in fact slowly rising may help us to be willing to finance the changes that we must make to mitigate the damages that will occur the day when   sea level changes over night such as in the wake of a meteor strike. In America perhaps an earlier civilization may have left us a hint. The Mississippi Valley was once peopled by a civilization that we call the Mound Builders who fostered urban developments of as many as 50,000 people at a time when a big town in Europe had about 15,000 people.  The Mound Builders did this in a major flood plain. Their large wooden public buildings of real consequence to their society were all built atop large rubble mounds that were elevated well above all remembered over flows of the Great River. Certainly the lesson of Katrina ought to be that levees and pumping stations not with standing we ought to elevate police and fire stations, public libraries, hospitals, and old folks homes on such mounds. Some how the water always eventually gets into even the best ring levee system. In the port itself perhaps the most expensive infrastructure that can be so elevated, should be, and what can not, we may have to ask ourselves if we shouldn't shift to floating docks and similar port infrastructure. Namazu School thinking accepts that sudden dramatic climate change can mean sudden dramatic sea level change. The Namazu School also accepts that while the threat may not be immediate it is real. The question is not will it happen but when. So at a very minimum we ought to be thinking, discussing, and writing about what to do to mitigate the damages on that day. Houston, Galveston, Tampa, Charleston, New York are just a few of the ports that would be wiped out by a change in sea level of just a few feet. It is almost as though the periodic ruin of New Orleans is a lesson and warning to us to do the necessary there and everywhere else to assure that we have working ports the day after the next sudden and dramatic climate change throws a monkey wrench into human history.

 So here is where we'd like to begin with our Namazu School dialogue with our readers. Send us you thoughts as a E-mail, or comment, or even guest blog on what we need to do to make our low  ports impervious to sea level change. Any and all ideas welcome. Think about the ports as both working ports and as cities that support the port workers. Both have to remain habitable and functional even if the sea were to rise 30 feet over night, the geological record assures us that it has happened in the past. Science today can even discern the cause for at least some of these past events.These causes are still viable cosmic forces. It absolutely will happen again, its not a question of will it happen, its a question of when.

1 comment:

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