The bad news is that Sacramento, CA won’t be a coastal city in my lifetime.
The good news is that some folks are figuring out that what Nature wants, Nature gets. In other words, they are kind of learning to let go and let Nature.
In the Los Angeles Times today, there is an article entitled, “In Ventura, a Retreat in the Face of a Rising Sea.”
The headline immediately caught my eye because usually articles in California newspapers seem to concentrate on landowners’ and developers’ neverending quest to SUBDUE Nature.
Folks in Ventura, CA (coastal city, population 109,146), however, are getting out of Nature’s way. Here is a quote from the story written by Tony Barboza:
“At Surfers Point in Ventura, California is beginning its retreat from the ocean.
“Construction crews are removing a crumbling bike path, ripping out a 120-space parking lot and laying down sand and cobblestones. By pushing the asphalt 65 feet inland, the project is expected to give the wave-ravaged point 50 more years of life.
“The effort by the city of Ventura is the most vivid example to date of what may lie ahead in California as coastal communities come to grips with rising sea levels and worsening coastal erosion. As the coastline creeps inland, scouring sand from beaches or eating away at coastal bluffs, landowners will increasingly be forced to decide whether to spend vast sums of money fortifying the shore or give up and step back.”
As someone who loves the ocean, I have often been dismayed at the peeps in places like Malibu and Santa Monica who think that their “ownership” of primo “real estate” along the shores of the sea is somehow their holy, god-given right.
It’s like, “Hey, that’s MY ocean too!”
And the Hollywood Hills: “Heck, those are mine too!”
In Malibu, for instance, millionaire homeowners are so possessive of their “private property” that they build super-ugly seawalls along the coast to try to protect them from the natural erosion process. The irony that they are actually ruining Nature’s beauty in order to hold
on for dear life to a beautiful view is sadly lost upon them.
Back in the day when I used to walk along the shore from Santa Monica Pier to the Malibu area, there were actually “No Trespassing” signs in the sand that prohibited folks from crossing…yep, an “imaginary line in the sand”!
It is tragic when folks lose their homes to fires, floods or mudslides. But if someone is going to build a house where Mother Nature can give a person one helluva a fight for her land, then it would seem that there would come a point when a dude’s got to say, “Okay, I give…I’m not going to rebuild this time.”
In California, according to a 2009 report by the Pacific Institute, it is estimated that the sea is going to rise as much as 55 inches by the year 2100 and swallow up 41 square miles of coastland.
So even though I won’t be around to enjoy beachfront property right outside of my apartment building, it’s gratifying to know that there are FINALLY precautions being taken.
The first-of-its-kind “Managed Retreat” project in Ventura, California, may also be implemented soon in cities such as San Diego, Santa Barbara and Pacifica.
According to the article, “(T)he idea has been unpopular with some because it would mean giving up about an acre of public land to potentially be overtaken by the ocean.” Good grief, people! The ocean is going to take over that land ANYWAY!
In 1944, Woody Guthrie sang, “This land is your land, this land is my land.” He was right about that, but nowadays that shared ownership of the so-called real estate “from California to the New York island” seem like the words to a quaint fairy tale. The ones with the Big Bucks keep eroding our rights to Nature’s gifts (along with our rights to our rights).
But in the end, the banks and millionaires and movie stars who think that they own all the beautiful shorelines and magnificent hillsides, will be in for a knock-down, drag-out fight. And that is because Mother Nature gives as good as she gets.
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