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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Posts Tagged ‘environmental alternatives’

Polar-Palooza and the Singing Glaciologist

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009



If Greenland melts, the seas will rise 23 feet. Greenland + Antarctica = 38 feet.

[Editor’s note: The Arctic and Antarctic may seem a long way from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, but melting ice caps and warming oceans lead to rising sea levels and fiercer hurricanes. ’Nuff said?]

While everyone else is blogging about the stimulus plan (keep it up) we want to tell you about the “Polar-Palooza” talk we heard this weekend at the New York Times building, hosted by Andrew Revkin, environment reporter for the Times (see his great blog Dot Earth here) and author of The North Pole Was Here. Revkin moderated a discussion by four scientists studying the climate conditions and biology of the North and South poles and Greenland.

The talk’s title, “Stories from a Changing Planet” sounds innocuous—like there’s nothing to worry about? Indeed the tone was friendly, likely to encourage people to care about what is happening to the poles rather than to threaten with doom scenarios—but the subtext (like the bulk of an iceberg) was chilling. How scary? If all the ice on Greenland were to melt, the seas would rise 23 feet. If Antarctica also were to melt, seas would rise 38 feet. How would a Category 5-strength levee hold up against that?