The discussion opened with a film that showed the impact of sea level rise to South Carolina's coastal communities. You can view it here or below. The Google Earth maps used in the film showed that a 5-foot rise in sea level would swamp the barrier islands, leaving only thin slivers of sand. There have been projections of a 3 to 5-foot sea level rise by 2100 in places like Rhode Island and Miami.
Duke University geologist Orin Pilkey was on the panel. Dr. Pilkey has been a champion of using geology to demonstrate that building houses on barrier islands is sheer stupidity. He said barrier islands have been shrinking worldwide for a century.With global warming comes the likelihood of more severe hurricanes. And as Gustav moves into the Gulf of Mexico, I can't help but think of the grim future that coastal communities will have unless we change our behavior about use of energy.
I would like to see all the wonders that surround me continue to exist long after I'm gone. My hope is that people will read, become informed and take action before it is indeed too late. And if you don't believe in global climate change, then read about the shrinking polar ice caps and draw your own conclusion.
Rising Seas: Challenges and Opportunities for the Lowcountry from Open Dome Studios on Vimeo.