Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Moving to Higher Ground

In this era of climate change and an increasing understanding of our tsunami-risk the coastal communities of Washington have to come to terms with the concept of retreat. One of the only reliable adaptation measures available to us is to move up and out of the way of an encroaching ocean. Some are showing us how to do this. The Quileute tribe, in recognition of the tsunami-risk that they face, came a step closer today to moving infrastructure off of the low-lying Quillayute River delta with a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives.

I am a supporter of Olympic National Park, and guess that there was some concern about the park losing ground. Given its history and how hard-won every acre of the park is, this is understandable. By the same token, I am a supporter of the Quileute and their right to live with a modicum of security. Their present circumstances are perilous, to say the least. Furthermore, over the next century there are going to be more and more cases of coastal communities moving to decrease their coastal hazard risk. Overall I support that trend - its expensive, but in the long run I feel that its the right thing to do. Its impressive to see the Quileute, a small tribe and small community, leading that national movement.

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