Economic Blues (Oceanic Ones)

by Patrick Shore

While many impacts of climate change can be physically seen or experienced, such as abnormal weather and storm patterns and glacial retraction, the unknown and vast nature of our ocean makes changes less visible and understandable. It does seem certain though that seemingly small oceanic changes such as rising sea levels and surface temperatures could have devastating impacts across the globe. These small changes can indirectly affect weather global weather patterns: snowpacks, rainfall, harvests, soil fertility, and storms. Aside from the physical impacts of ocean climate change, such as the flooding of coastal and lowland cities, the changes to our oceans could have more immediate, economic effects. Continue reading

National Security Threatened Due to a Warming World

by Chloe Rodman

Jeff Goodell (2015) writes in Rolling Stone Magazine that 30 of the United States’ domestic military bases are in jeopardy due to climate change and rising sea levels. These stations either must be relocated in the near future or put out of commission because not only are they sinking into the ocean, but the compounds become flooded with each storm, making work almost impossible. Because of these recent trends, the Pentagon, as well as President Obama, believe that “…climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.” While many powerful and important members of the military and government believe action must be taken regarding climate change, some members of congress do not agree. These congress members, some of whom happen to be on various military committees, castigate those who believe in climate change or those who liken it to other global disasters such as terrorism or infectious disease. Continue reading

A Public Health Policy Approach To Rising Sea Levels

by Sarah Whitney

Robin Kundis Craig (2010) concludes that it is absurd to expect governments to put policies in place now that predict and manage the long-term effects of rising sea levels. Craig argues that governments can prevent the extent of damages caused by rising sea levels by implementing a policy focusing directly on public health. She notes that scientists are still unsure exactly how high the seas will rise. Their predictions, she states, are uncertain as they are based upon scientific assumptions and factors like the effect of current and future mitigation methods, (the methods combating greenhouse gas emission). Craig also states that it is unreasonable to define adaptive measures to govern climate change almost three centuries from now as new information will inevitably arise. One can reasonably assume however, that humans will still retain the same basic desires such as health and comfortable living conditions in the distant future. This assumption can be used to form a preventative policy that benefits society without the need to fully comprehend all the uncertainties of rising sea levels. A public health approach aimed at the needs and concerns of humans is an adaptable policy that can remain stable as the discoveries and effects of climate change arise. Continue reading