Saturday, January 3, 2015
Pump Nature Out of Miami
Developers in Miami, Florida, are spending $55 million to build luxury condos on an active floodplain yards from the ocean. The city itself plans to spend $300 million on a system to pump water out of areas that now flood even on sunny days.
Ideas like these might be called "bold" and "innovative" by some people but other words come to mind like "futile" and "shortsighted".
The ability of people to control nature has repeatedly been disproved. Many instances come to mind not least of which is the Ninth Ward in New Orleans.
In New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers and others have been trying to control the giant muscular snake called the Mississippi River for a century.
They even built a neighborhood, the doomed Ninth Ward, below the water level on three sides. Unfortunately, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city it only took one levee to breach even a little for water to come pouring into the Ninth Ward, filling the streets like filling a bathtub.
Given that tragedy, it is difficult to appreciate the Miami plans.
“We’re showing the world that you can fight back," said one city official in Miami. I think he meant to say we're showing the world that we have no original ideas, and yes, fast money flies.
It might be a better idea to learn to work with nature. Cede the Miami floodplain to the ocean; it's there for a reason. Keep intact important natural features such as coral reefs, wetlands, and dunes. We might see that they not only enrich us but also protect us.
Posted by Mike Misner at 10:15 AM