With floods again occupying many of us here in the UK, those living on the floodplain are searching increasingly for an insurance policy that will cover them for any water-related inundation. Recently the chief executive of the Thames Gateway London Partnership said of the river:
“There will be at some stage a massive catastrophic event that will finally goad us into doing something.” His advice? “Everybody should get a boat.”
However, other less sensationalist solutions are being thought about if our country is starting to go through a wet patch. Many of these solutions originate in Holland, two thirds of which is below sea level. Architect Koen Olthuis’s houses that float on hollow concrete bases that move up and down with the water level are an innovative way to have a normal home-like existence whilst working with the water instead of trying to stop it. There are two good interviews with the architect at Inhabitat and Washington Technology.
Also in the guardian today – architects are designing a city in the United Arab Emirates that is 99% waste efficient and uses 100% renewable power, in a quest to create a completely sustainable city.
[story and image via the Guardian]
The Telegraph has an article today about the British coastline and flooding. A few days ago, a storm surge travelling down the North Sea nearly combined with high tides to overtop the flood defenses across much of the East coast of England. Another few inches could have caused widespread flooding similar to that experienced in 1953, when 300 people were killed. Today the UK government admitted rising sea levels mean a number of coastal communities will disappear within the next thirty years. Some low lying villages and farms in Norfolk, Suffolk and Somerset are too vulnerable and would be impossible to save without spending inordinate billions on sea defences. This is a discussion many governments will be having over the coming decade.
[via Daily Kos, image from the Telegraph]
Following on from the recent fires across California, another catastrophe less widely reported is the flooding in Mexico. Tabasco is a southern state the size of Belgium and following storms and heavy rain, 80% of the land is underwater, with close to 100% of crops lost, around half of the two million population evacuated and production of crude in the oil-rich region at a standstill. The governor of the state has compared the situation for the 350,000 in the state capital Villahermosa to New Orleans post-Katrina and the rebuilding time is likely to be as long.
Like any natural disaster it would be hard to pinpoint this extreme weather directly on global warming but there has definitely been a large number of big-scale environmental catastrophes over the last few years. Whatever the cause, the damage to Mexico’s already-ailing oil industry will be a severe disruption and push us ever closer to the scary prospect of $100 barrels of oil.
[via Daily Kos, image by _…:::Celoide:::…_]