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ABC News reports that there is a creeping underground invasion of our coasts, and it is moving inland much faster than had been previously thought, according to new research funded by the National Science Foundation. The stealth invader? Saltwater, which is infiltrating our coastal communities and creating unseen risks well in advance of the surface floods that drown our homes and businesses. Climate change is elevating sea levels, increased the number and intensity of severe storms, and now we are beginning to see that saltwater has seeped into the land itself, which is soaking it up like a sponge, destroying coastal forests, crops, medicinal plants, and even groundwater supplies. With the Trump administration in climate denial, four Louisiana Native American tribes even took the unprecedented step of asking the United Nations to compel the U.S. government to take action on salt that is invading their lands.
Why this Matters: This problem will become more and more common as climate change continues, causing widespread displacement across the world. Seawater moving inland would poison a number of essential natural resources for those who live on the coasts — which comprises 40% of Americans.Experts say in the short term we can’t stop the seas from rising, but we can manage the problem if we have buy-in from farmers, coastal communities, and local governments and if we use science-based solutions.
“It’s like the early stages of cancer,” Daniel Cozad, executive director of the Central Valley Salinity Coalition, told ABC. “You don’t feel it, you don’t see it and everything seems to be pretty normal. But if you’re not keeping track of it, it can get much worse.”
To Go Deeper:This video from Atlas Pro, a geographer and scientist who makes climate change youtube videos, shows the scope and consequences of coastal flooding.
This week, we have featured this series of videos by the Environmental Defense Fund about the impacts climate change is having on the ocean as observed by the people who live and work there — fishermen and women. Their stories have been compelling and provided a sense of the ways that climate change is harming and shifting global fish stocks.
Why This Matters: On Tuesday, pursuant to President Biden’s climate executive order, NOAA announced: “an agency-wide effort to gather initial public input” on “how to make fisheries, including aquaculture, and protected resources more resilient to climate change.
It’s not just men in the fishing sector who are impacted by climate change, overfishing, and COVID-19 — women are too. Women like Alexia Jaurez of Sonora, Mexico, who is featured in this Environmental Defense Fund video, do the important work of monitoring the catch and the price, and most importantly determining how many more […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Last summer, Florida created its first aquatic preserve in over 30 years. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve protects about 400,000 acres of seagrass just north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast. These are part of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass bed and borders other existing preserves, creating a […]
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