I ran across a very surprising article from the Daily Telegraph that the Labour Government in the UK has decided to allow rising ocean levels to consume British villages and farmland in several vulnerable areas. Under a points-based formula, only certain regions will be “defended” against incursions by the sea. The article leaks some of the details from the official analysis.
Not surprisingly, some people are very cross about this, and some Conservative members accuse the government of sacrificing Conservative districts (literally) while shoring up marginal Labour constituencies that were affected by this year’s massive river floods. Whatever; I can’t pass judgment on that.
It is interesting, though, that Britain has the stomach (or lack of backbone, depending on how you feel) to decide what to save and what to let go. In America, we haven’t made many honest decisions about this, except for a few million-dollar cliffs in Massachusetts. We certainly haven’t faced up to certain geological and physical realities in many places where a decision will be inevitable. I’m thinking of New Orleans, of course, but also North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Florida Keys, and a scattering of Appalachian hollows and river towns. Our course is always to shore up and rebuild on shaky ground, burying our heads in the sand as it washes away around us.