Water, water everywhere, not a drop to drink

Recent excessive flooding, rising sea levels and glacial melt combined with monsoon seasons make us have to address the world crises with full force.

Water covers much of our planet, but a small percentage is drinkable. The land we walk on is a thin crust, constantly moving over thousands of years to give us mountains to lowlands. We have built cities only to watch them sink beneath the waves. We arrive on islands which have emerged from below oceans. We arrive, develop communities, grow populations, then these also disappear, swallowed back under the sea. As the weight of ice sheets retreated 12 thousand years ago, the land beneath rose up as land not under ice sank below sea levels, that process almost imperceptible until the threat has become obvious in this last few decades. Planning human habitation must now take these known factors into account. Read more about this amazing geological process:


Understand that tornados are getting wider and longer, increasing over the past 30 years in America. Not a good idea to rebuild homes in well known ‘tornado corridors’.

Industries may now need relocating due to huge storm effects, as happened when Hurricane Harvey caused a single petrochemical plant to tip half a billion gallons of toxic industrial wastewater into Galveston Bay. (See Houston Chronicle report ‘Silent Spills’ by Frank Bajak and Lose Olsen, May 2018). That one storm caused more than one hundred toxic releases.

People who have lost their homes, as in the Katrina disaster when the levees broke as the seas rose, had to accept they could never return. The Lower Ninth Ward now has less than one-third of its population who lived there before Katrina. Communities evacuated had their history and family networks stolen by Nature’s brutality. It has taken 30 years to begin building protective levees along the Mississippi River and West Shore Lake Pontchartrain. This should have begun before Katrina.

Low lying Louisiana’s coastline is being swallowed up by the sea. It is estimated seas could rise by 2 feet by 2050 and 4 feet by 2100. The climate change induced weather patterns will result in the drowning of the vital wetlands and marshes. There are plans to rescue the wetlands, but time is not on the side of humankind. See:


Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is being rebuilt in a new location as Jakarta is sinking. It’s new name is Nusantara. Over 30 million people live in Jakarta. The city now sits below the sea level, and by 2050 it will likely be submerged. There could have been other solutions which other countries have demonstrated, but these needed to have been well planned and funded. It is too late now.


Chicago is also showing signs of sinking. The city is only a few feet higher than nearby waterways and Lake Michigan. In 1854 a cholera outbreak killed 6 percent of the entire population of Chicago. That was because of disastrous sewage leakage. To combat this, engineers worked out, using railroad jacks, they could raise the whole city. See


in order to combat the sewage problem. Building the sewer system and raising the city took 20 years.

Now, in 2019, the city is sinking at a rate of 4 inches within the past century.


The population of 2.7 million people relies still on ingenious engineers to solve the continuing need to update the sewage and drinking water systems. They do so with a long running Tunnel and Reservoir Project which began in 1975. Still, those with homes on the shoreline see inches of water levels when lake levels are high threatening to overwhelm their homes.

Dramatic storms which historically pound the West coast of America could be cleverly exploited to engineer the water into depleted aquifers:


Whole islands, home to many people, are, tragically, sinking too. Here is an article from 7 years ago.


And here, a 2019 article about our disappearing islands:


The loss and damage fund being set up currently may assist these islands, but time is running out:


About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers. In 1998 I co-wrote Millennium Countdown (US)/ A Business Guide to the Year 2000 (UK) see https://www.abebooks.co.uk/products/isbn/9780749427917
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