Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Red, White & Hot - Chasing Ice

On this eve of the 4th of July, I find myself in a contemplative mood. The weekend promises to be hot, sticky, and maybe a little rainy. As I plan my little family's weekend festivities outdoors, I can't help but wish I could pack a giant cooler of ice, at the ready for whenever the sun beats down.  Which led to me thinking about those giant mountains of ice in the Arctic.

I recently watched the beautifully poignant and absolutely terrifying film, Chasing Ice. The film follows James Balog, an environmental photographer, as he shifts from skeptic to missionary through his bold and brutal multi-year project to capture the changing landscape of the Arctic. The result is haunting. As he compresses the years into seconds, ancient mountains of ice disappear right before your eyes. I wanted to go there immediately and at least hug the beautiful peaks goodbye. It also made me think that I need to move to higher ground.

Mayor Bloomberg recently produced his Coastal Protection Plan, a 430-page report, where he recommends the construction of levees, floodwalls, and other developments that would prepare the city for climate change. The report highlights the devastating effects that rising water and temperature levels could have on the city, making bold recommendations that would need to be implemented over many years (and with the support of next administration). You can listen to the mayor’s speech and learn more about the plan with Jennifer Vanasco's piece at WNYC.

(Rendering shows Coney Island Creek wetlands and tidal barrier proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg)

I’m not sure I agree with all of the mayor’s plans, but I was happy to see the conversation beginning. Cheers for a happy and safe holiday weekend - full of Red, White, & Blue fun! My only wish is that all of those folks lucky enough to head up to rooftops to gaze up at those fabulous colors exploding over the Hudson were also able to look down at a greenroof at their feet. 

Want to see exactly where and what is proposed? Check out this great interactive map from the WNCY Data News team:

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