I move away from politics once again to explore a reality that affects one of my favorite American cities. For residents of the city of Boston, the effects of climate change are not a challenge of the future, but a daily challenge to manage the rise in sea level.
Those who are interested in the history of the city and its development probably already know that at the time of colonization, the area of Boston was about a quarter of what it is. Over the years, Boston has grown by winning over the sea. Many areas that are very popular with tourists today (South End and Back Bay) have developed thanks to the filling.
In 2020, we no longer gain area, but we risk losing a lot, according to forecasts. Sea levels could rise by eight inches by 2030, a height to which we would add almost three more feet by 2070.
The time is no longer to question the fallout from climate change, but to seek short, medium and long term solutions. City Mayor Democrat Martin Walsh pledges to invest $ 30 million annually to meet the challenge his city faces.
Of course, Boston is not the only city struggling with this harsh reality, but an international study conducted in 2013 suggests that it is the eighth most threatened city on the planet (out of a sample of 160 cities). If you take a look at the panorama of the city, you will quickly see that the people of Boston have little choice but to adapt the threatened constructions, since they cannot relocate anywhere.
Furthermore, not everyone is equal in the face of the looming catastrophe. If we can think that wealthy hoteliers or wealthy owners have the resources to face the crisis, what will happen to working-class neighborhoods (like Dorchester) where less well-off populations live in apartments located on portions of territory resulting from the filling of 19e and 20e centuries?
When we think of the colossal challenge that awaits coastal cities, we often think of the gigantic size of the budgets required. Fortunately, it is not all dark. Boston, a university city, can count on local expertise and draw inspiration from projects emanating from several other large cities.
Among the alternatives being considered in New York and Boston was the construction of gigantic barriers. In New York, there was talk of a “sea wall»(A gigantic wall), the costs of which would have been astronomical (200 billion!). In addition to the costs, the environmental impact could have been harmful. And I’m not even talking about the ugliness of the book for cities used to selling their views and their charms.
For the moment, the alternatives chosen in Boston are a bit more modest, but they still require significant work. There is talk of raising streets and buildings.
If, like many Quebecers, you visit Boston in the coming years, do not be surprised to see regular work in this city which was the cradle of the independence of the United States. We have been warned for a long time against changing sea levels. Those who preferred to ignore the recommendations of the scientific community can no longer escape. This is the case for Boston.
If the subject interests you, I redirect you to an article here.