Think about the way our community is coping with the impending sea level rise crisis. City leaders have predetermined to protect Olympia’s downtown from flooding. This, however, contradicts city policy to use best available science. Instead, city leaders downplay the urgency; even as other communities designate low lying coastal downtowns off-limits to construction and move to higher ground to make room for floodplain parks.
Our city leaders double down on their climate bet by continuing to implement carbon-based land use policies. Today’s accelerating carbon-loading of our atmosphere is tipping ocean temperatures towards irreversible glacial melt that will inevitably cause sea level rise to inundate Olympia’s low lying coastal downtown – an inundation city leaders have chosen to fight, even as they encourage carbon.
Sea level rise is coming to downtown Olympia, no matter what we do today, because carbon dioxide is already baked into the atmosphere, and city leaders can’t guarantee flood protection. Sea walls erected on unstable water saturated fill, combined with rising floodplains, is a recipe for disaster, even without the Cascadia subduction mega-quake.
City leaders offer tax incentives to developers building downtown and protect them by taxing middle class families who will fund engineered short-term solutions to sea level rise, which are actually dynamic long term non-linear problems. During the last glacial retreat sea levels rose three feet every 20 years for centuries.
In this case, stop building buildings on Olympia’s low lying coastal downtown, since defeating Mother Nature long term is myth, futile, and unsustainable.