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