“You may wish to pretend that rising seas are a hoax perpetrated by scientists and a gullible news media.
Or you can build barriers galore.
But in the end, neither will provide adequate defence, the Dutch say.”
During a time when it has never been made more clear of the responsibilities poorly thought out advice and decision making by local authorities will eventually lead to the scrutiny such decision making deserves, a clear message, during this dry warm spell is issued via an article in the New York Times. So, those cpbc decision-makers claiming to be “living in the Real World,” climate change denyers, bent on over-crowding Canvey Island, take note of those living behind THE best sea defences in the World!
“From a Dutch mind-set, climate change is not a hypothetical or a drag on the economy, but an opportunity. While the Trump administration withdraws from the Paris accord, the Dutch are pioneering a singular way forward
It is, in essence, to let water in, where possible, not hope to subdue Mother Nature: to live with the water, rather than struggle to defeat it. The Dutch devise lakes, garages, parks and plazas that are a boon to daily life but also double as enormous reservoirs for when the seas and rivers spill over. You may wish to pretend that rising seas are a hoax perpetrated by scientists and a gullible news media. Or you can build barriers galore. But in the end, neither will provide adequate defence, the Dutch say.
And what holds true for managing climate change applies to the social fabric, too. Environmental and social resilience should go hand in hand, officials here believe, improving neighbourhoods, spreading equity and taming water during catastrophes. Climate adaptation, if addressed head-on and properly, ought to yield a stronger, richer state.
This is the message the Dutch have been taking out into the world. Dutch consultants advising the Bangladeshi authorities about emergency shelters and evacuation routes recently helped reduce the numbers of deaths suffered in recent floods to “hundreds instead of thousands,” according to Mr. Ovink. Mr. Ovink is the country’s globe-trotting salesman in chief for Dutch expertise on rising water and climate change.
“That’s what we’re trying to do,” he said. “You can say we are marketing our expertise, but thousands of people die every year because of rising water, and the world is failing collectively to deal with the crisis, losing money and lives.” He ticks off the latest findings: 2016 was the warmest year on record; global sea levels rose to new highs.
He proudly shows off the new rowing course just outside Rotterdam, where the World Rowing Championships were staged last summer. The course forms part of an area called the Eendragtspolder, a 22-acre patchwork of reclaimed fields and canals — a prime example of a site built as a public amenity that collects floodwater in emergencies. It is near the lowest point in the Netherlands, about 20 feet below sea level. With its bike paths and water sports, the Eendragtspolder has become a popular retreat. Now it also serves as a reservoir for the Rotte River Basin when the nearby Rhine overflows, which, because of climate change, it’s expected to do every decade.
The project is among dozens in a nationwide program, years in the making, called Room for the River, which overturned centuries-old strategies of seizing territory from rivers and canals to build dams and dikes. The Netherlands effectively occupies the gutter of Europe, a lowlands bounded on one end by the North Sea, into which immense rivers like the Rhine and the Meuse flow from Germany and France. Dutch thinking changed after floods forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate during the 1990s. The floods “were a wake-up call to give back to the rivers some of the room we had taken,” as Harold van Waveren, a senior government adviser, recently explained.”
“We can’t just keep building higher levees, because we will end up living behind 10-meter walls,” he said.
“We need to give the rivers more places to flow.
Protection against climate change is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain, and the chain in our case includes not just the big gates and dams at the sea but a whole philosophy of spatial planning, crisis management, children’s education, online apps and public spaces.”
Extract from New York Times. Link to complete article; https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/15/world/europe/climate-change-rotterdam.html?_r=0