Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

I've been beaten about the head and shoulders about climate change, specifically sea level rise, in the last couple of weeks.

Not that I was unaware before now. I've been following the whole issue for quite a while (and went to all electric yard tools as my little contribution to the cause). But it really does feel like the issue has been front and center everywhere I turn lately.

It started with the opening of Pacific Visions, the great expansion at the Aquarium of the Pacific. I don't think it is much of a spoiler when I tell you the entire program is a call to arms over climate change. Dr. Jerry Schubel, the aquarium president and CEO, has become a well-known figure in the climate change fight.

I've seen the movie in the amazing Honda Pacific Visions Theater three times now, and I'm beginning to have nightmares. Did you know they're projecting 10 Billion people on the planet by 2050?

The movie tries to put a positive spin on what we humans can do to stem the climate change tide and survive in a brave new world. But that assumes leaders worldwide will get on board, and well, you know.

Then Long Beach's draft Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP) was released. The projections reflect pretty much constant flooding along the coast, particularly impacting the Peninsula, Belmont Shore and Naples.

We're talking 20 or 30 years here, not another century or so. I'm not saying I expect to be around by then, but you never know. You have to plan, right?

Hey, I'm on the second floor here at Gazette Central. And I live in North Long Beach. Nothing for me to worry about.

Then one of my news magazine shows I listen to on the weekends from KPCC (that's a National Public Radio station) had a story where a reporter goes with a scientific expedition to the Antarctic to study a glacier. It turns out this glacier is melting faster than expected, and there's a danger of pretty much the whole thing failing into the ocean.

If that piece of ice falls into the water, it apparently would let a whole bunch more Antarctic ice do the same. The result? Something like 11 feet of sea level rise worldwide. That's 11 feet, not inches.

Maybe my house isn't as safe as I thought it was. 

Finally, pretty much out of the blue, a KPCC reporter decided to do a series about the Long Beach breakwater. You remember the breakwater, don't you? It's that wall, or rather series of walls, made out of rock that protects the Long Beach coastline from most wave action.

For the last decade or three, some folks have been trying to remove or modify that wall so they could surf in Long Beach again. There are lots of complications to that scenario, and there has been plenty of studies about what might happen if the breakwater went away. The most recent is a $3 million effort by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Despite the radio story making it sound like a decision is just around the corner, everything I can find out about the study is it is treading water, so to speak.

So what does the breakwater have to do with sea level rise and climate change? Well, if the worst-case climate change scenario occurs, there's no need to worry about the breakwater. There will be more waves than anyone will know what to do with.

I know. I'll turn the second floor of Gazette Central into a beach shack.

Or I could try to do a little more to slow climate change, slow sea level rise, and try to convince you to do the same.

Let's start paying attention — before it is too late.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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