Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What Would Scarlet Say? (An Artist Looks at His Favorite Beach)

When the east wind blows around the south side of a Canadian high pressure the Gold Coast ocean rages. It may be eighty- two degrees Fahrenheit in the sun but on the beach the wind is howling at 35 miles per hour, and the surf pounds close to the dune grass and sea grapes. It seems to me that our favorite beach shrunk by another 100 feet this past winter. My brother-in-law who is a Jupiter, Florida native swears that a shrinking beach is part of a natural cycle here, and that the beach will grow back soon enough. He doesn’t believe global warming exists. Neither does he believe in computers, and so hasn't noticed that our slower- than-a-snail's-pace U.S. government, in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency, has Webpages dedicated to the reality of "Climate Change."

I fear that global warming has already begun to nibble at the Florida coast. Most of south Florida is less than 3 feet above sea level, and the worst case scenario for climate change involves a three foot rise in sea levels. Will we need to build dykes around the entire state? Do we have the sense, character and resources to do so should it prove to be necessary? I fear not.

Ah well, as Scarlet O’Hara says, “Fiddle-de-de, I’ll worry about that tomorrow."

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