That is the biggest unknown: human behavior. Talk about a quirky variable! NASA Scientist James Hansen predicted everything above in front of Congress in the 1980’s. Everybody got excited. Then nothing was done to change it. Never underestimate the power of money versus intelligent policy. The richest companies in the world sell fossil fuel. We have used more fossil fuel each year than the year before in every year since James Hansen told us it was societal suicide. (And they laugh at me for smoking!)Those wise men we think are running things inWashingtonto keep us safe? I guess they don’t live there anymore.
Maybe they moved toGermany. The Germans are converting to renewable energy. Maybe they moved to theNetherlands. They are building more dikes and building them higher, and making decisions about which land must be conceded to the sea because it is too costly to protect. Maybe they moved toChina. The Chinese are making more solar panels than we are. They also open a coal burning power plant every day. Those quirky humans again. Maybe they moved to the DanishislandofSamso, where they are now 100% renewable energy, nothing from fossil fuel. We in theUSstill subsidize fossil fuel companies. We actually pay them tax-payer dollars to make fossil fuel use cheaper relative to the alternatives. Quirky.
Too many studies to mention point out that we onLong Island, indeed, we in theUS, could move off of fossil fuel, and be richer and healthier for it. (Look up Renewable Energy Long Island if you want more details.) We spend a lot of money to preserve quaint old wooden windmills, but for some reason we think the sleek, modern ones are ugly. Quirky. We succumb to the lobbying efforts of the fossil fuel industry and every year we creep closer to tipping points like the release of methane that will mean irreversible cataclysmic run-away climate change. We are smart enough to know how to live with very little fossil fuel. We just don’t know yet whether we are wise enough to do so in time.
I keep thinking I’ll quit smoking at 65 and live to 100, see what happens, just because I’m curious. I read the warning labels on cigarettes. A smoker is only killing himself. Fossil fuels have the potential to kill many millions. Maybe we should insist that fossil fuel bills include the warning: “Caution: burning fossil fuels can be disastrous to civilization.”
Either way, there is still fun in our future. Who among us is not a bit jealous of the fortunate few who have waterfront homes? We should not covet our neighbor’s goods, but let’s be real. Imagine the fun of watching a20,000 square footmansion get slurped up by the surf. Hey Martha, bone up on hydroponic gardening! You’re on the first row back across the street? Cheer up. You may live to be waterfront. The deer have eaten all your landscaping plants? Cheer up. When theMidwestis a dustbowl, and the food chain collapses, you’ll be delighted to see protein walk into your yard. And keep the gun loaded after you shoot the deer. There may be hungry marauders in the neighborhood who would take the meat. You moved toLong Islandafter being laid off by Wall Street? Cheer up. You may live to see the masters commute by gondola to buildings that have conceded the bottom three stories to creatures of the sea.
Now, the most expensive land onEastern Long Islandis right on the ocean. As the waters rise, the competition may be for the higher ground. If you are investing in land for your children, take a look at those numbers on the survey that tell you how high it is above mean high water. They give a double meaning to “mean.”
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