Miami, One of the Poster Cities on How NOT to Deal with Sea Level Rise


Miami Beach has put into action an aggressive and expensive plan to combat the effects of sea level rise.(Dreamstime/TNS)

Paulino Mercenari, Contributing Writer

Miami, the “Magic City,”  — home to a thriving tourist economy, a diverse population, and year-long bathing suit weather. This place might seem like a magical destination to many outsiders, but within its city borders, it holds a shameful secret. The citizens of Miami are slowly but surely noticing a new disaster on the horizon, or to be more specific, beneath the surface as flood waters grow to be more and more common. No longer does it take the force of a hurricane to cause flood waters to spread amongst the roads of Miami. Not even a rain shower. This is made far more apparent by global warming’s effects on sea level rise in not just Miami, but the rest of the world as well.

Even now, some citizens experience flooding on a daily basis, according to biology teacher and environmental activist, Emilia Odife. This is partly the fault of the ground below the city as it consists of mainly limestone, a largely porous rock that makes it easy for water to climb up through it when it has nowhere else to go.

“When the seawater comes in, it fills the ground and makes the terrain very unstable. The seawater then has nowhere else to go once it starts climbing up to the surface.” Odife said.

Developers along with city officials, started to devise solutions. According to a post on Miami Dade County’s website, the county will work to develop financially-feasible mitigation and adaptation strategies to prepare for sea level rise through its Sea Level Rise Strategy project, which includes a 3D model of the neighborhoods that may be at risk, depending on how much the sea level rises. However, Odife feels that no amount of sea walls or storm surges will be enough to protect Miami from drastic flooding if we do not address the melting of the glaciers.

“Miami itself can do its part, we have to stop overdevelopment and start taking action on a local level. But it will really take a global initiative if we are to stop Miami and other coastline cities from both environmental and economic ruin.” Odife said.

As sea levels rise and flooding continues to increase in Miami and more of its citizens begin to notice its effects, perhaps more steps will begin to be taken in order to preserve the city’s culture and infrastructure