Flash flooding could wipe out a fifty-year-old dam north of Phoenix, placing thousands of homes and lives at risk. The next San Francisco earthquake could destroy century-old levees, contaminating the freshwater supply that most of California relies on for survival.
It doesn't have to be this way. The Edge of Disaster tells us what we can do about it, as individuals and as a society. We can—and, Flynn argues, we must—construct a more resilient nation. With the wounds of recent national tragedies still unhealed, the time to act is now. By tackling head-on, eyes open the perils that lie before us, we can remain true to our most important and endearing national trait: our sense of optimism about the future and our conviction that we can change it for the better for ourselves—and our children.
This book is also available in an audio version. Steve Flynn has done it again. Like America the Vulnerable before it, The Edge of Disaster is the must-read book for every American, elected official, and presidential candidate who is committed to ensuring that our nation continue to thrive in perilous times. What Stephen Flynn points out in The Edge of Disaster is that much of this effort has been directed overseas, often at the expense of our homeland and its much more likely areas of vulnerability. Laying out a series of potential disasters both manmade and natural, Flynn calls for a greater emphasis on preparedness and the ability of communities and the nation to recover.
Painting an often frustrating and infuriating picture of missed opportunities, The Edge of Disaster is a call to action. The time to act is now. We can only hope that policy makers are listening.
Steve Flynn offers the answer not only to protecting America from terrorist attacks and natural disaster but also to revitalizing our democracy. This book is a must-read for all members of Congress, presidential candidates, and ordinary citizens who want to build a better and safer future. Steve Flynn's book makes the very persuasive argument that national security preparedness is linked to natural disaster preparedness. By investing significantly in our critical infrastructure, in citizen preparedness, and most importantly in leadership, we can be better prepared for all hazards.
A great book that I highly recommend. The Edge of Disaster calls into question the neglect of domestic preparedness in favor of the Department of Defense-driven offensive in the global war on terrorism. The book offers provocative challenges to both our elected and our private-sector leaders, and both should read it thoroughly. Flynn brings considerable experience to the issue. His argument is straightforward and sensible Human Trafficking. The Security Implications of Human Trafficking. Report by Jamille Bigio and Rachel B. Backgrounder by Jonathan Masters August 12, Rather, it has allowed wave action to consume the natural beach that once served as a shoreline buffer.
As required by law, they released a draft environmental impact statement on the plan. Reviewers from state and federal agencies criticized the page document for failing to adequately take rising sea levels into account in the project design and impact, or to temper future plans for expansion. Wallops officials responded by nearly doubling references to the effects of sea level rise in the impact statement.
Before work began, Hurricane Irene hit in August Work was finally finished in August Two months later, Sandy ripped out large hunks of the wall, sparing the buildings but washing away a quarter of the 3. An additional 10 percent has eroded away since then, Massey said. Its 14, acres of wild beach, wetlands and loblolly pine forest provide habitats for the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel; the piping plover, a threatened beach-nesting bird; and up to Chincoteague ponies, feral animals descended from a herd brought to the island in colonial times.
edge of disaster part 1
Most visitors come for the mile of ocean-facing public recreational beach, according to the U. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the refuge.
Visitors can drive with all of their gear right up to the edge of the beach to park in a 1,space crushed-shell lot. The only way to get to the beach is to drive through town, and many visitors eat, shop and sleep there.
Reuters - Water's edge: the crisis of rising sea levels
Tourism accounts for about two-thirds of the jobs in town, state and federal records show. The problem is that the beach has been retreating at an average rate of 10 to 22 feet a year amid bigger and more frequent storms. The cost to American taxpayers of repeated destruction of the parking lot and causeway from rising sea levels would only increase, Fish and Wildlife officials said. In , the agency came up with a proposal: close the existing recreational beach and relocate it a mile and a half north, where the shoreline was retreating at a third of the pace.
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The new site would have a smaller parking lot to limit disturbance to wildlife, and visitors would be shuttled from a satellite lot in town. Chincoteague was incensed. Town leaders pointed to a survey in which 80 percent of visitors said they would not continue coming to the beach if they had to park in town and take a shuttle.
Residents also feared that Fish and Wildlife would let the southern end of Assateague Island erode away if the beach were moved. The southern tip of the island shelters a nascent shellfish aquaculture industry and buffers Chincoteague from storm surges. In , Chincoteague got a hearing on the proposal at the U. Thornton, the county supervisor, testified that local residents feared for their jobs. As many residents feared, this plan would not replenish the sand at the southern end of Assateague or at the new site as they erode. A public hearing in Chincoteague on June 26 failed to settle the matter.
Thornton is calling for more study before officials at Fish and Wildlife make a decision. Once a decision is made, Fish and Wildlife will probably have to seek federal funding from Congress to proceed with relocation. Hinds, the refuge manager who shepherded the original proposal, retired last year. But like hundreds of rural communities along the coast, it is competing with much larger, more powerful neighbors for public funds to bankroll a response to rising seas.
Coastal engineers say communities have three options for dealing with rising water levels and increased flooding: defend the shoreline with natural or man-made barriers; adapt, such as by raising roads and buildings; or retreat. Many Saxis residents — watermen who harvest oysters, crabs and fish, and seafood industry workers — trace their ancestry to settlers in the s and speak a language peppered with Elizabethan inflections. Belinda, a nearby village where his grandfather was born, is one of several he cites that no longer exist, abandoned when frequent flooding made them uninhabitable.
The project is scheduled to be finished by Some Saxis residents have raised their houses to reduce the risk of flood damage. Accomack County has more miles of road in jeopardy from rising sea levels than anywhere else in Virginia, a state study found. On the harder hit Chesapeake Bay side, some spots now flood nearly every full moon. How do you do that in a roadway that sits at sea level?
By Deborah J. Part 2: Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living. A longtime friend and political ally of the former Arkansas governor bought the lot next door. The only hitch was that their lots lay on a severely eroding beach. The structural engineer they had hired knew what to do. He dumped truckloads of sand farther out on the beach, shaped it into a mound, and declared the man-made hump to be the new frontal dune.
When staff at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection DEP still balked at issuing the necessary permits, the engineer asked Michael Sole, head of the agency at the time, to intercede. The decision: Huckabee and his friend would nudge their home sites back 5 feet 1. The permits were approved. Construction wrapped up in Accommodating the two politicians was nothing out of the ordinary. He acknowledged that his winning record has depended on the occasional intervention of top DEP officials.
Edge Books: Investigating Natural Disasters
The ease with which Huckabee and his neighbors have been able to work around some of the most restrictive beach development laws in the country is indicative of a problem that only worsens as rising seas gnaw at U. And government is providing powerful inducements for them to do so.
Between — when warnings were already being sounded on rising sea levels — and , the United States added about 2. The analysis did not include Louisiana, Hawaii or Alaska. That 27 percent increase is in line with growth nationwide.
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The number of people living near the Florida seashore has jumped by about 1. He is now among the many lawyers, consultants and engineers who offer their services to help homeowners get permits from his former employer. During that time, the need to protect the coastline has only intensified.
The Edge of Disaster
The oceans have risen about eight inches on average over the past century worldwide. The rise is two to three times greater in spots along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean because of subsidence, a process whereby natural geological movements and extraction of underground stores of water, oil and gas cause the ground to sink. Higher water levels compound the effects of storms and regular flooding, hastening erosion. Hurricanes slam into Florida more than anywhere else in the nation; more than a dozen of them have resulted in major disaster declarations since Seawalls are a short-term fix that can create long-term problems.
Coastal armoring — seawalls, revetments, bulkheads — deflects wave energy and currents. Those redirected forces then scour out the sand in front and to the side of a seawall, interfering with essential habitats for sea turtles and other wildlife and ultimately requiring more sand to prevent undermining of the structure.
State records show that more than Florida property owners have won permits to build seawalls, bulkheads and hardened sand structures in front of their homes since , compared to 81 denied, a 79 percent approval rate. Since Rick Scott became governor in , the rate is 90 percent, with approved and 11 denied. Dee Ann Miller, spokeswoman for the department, said it is issuing permits as required by state law. Lawmakers have consistently made it easier to wall off Florida beaches.
Scores of people in Walton County installed a variety of seawalls and other coastal armor without any permits after Hurricane Dennis in They received retroactive approval from the state legislature in Some states, like North Carolina, largely ban coastal armoring. Others, like New Jersey, Connecticut and California, permit seawalls in some circumstances to protect inhabited structures and infrastructure.
Florida also approves most applications for bulkhead and seawall permits to protect shoreline development. Reuters found that the state has issued more than since , an approval rate of 79 percent. Seawalls come with a price to the public: They deflect wave energy that then scours the beaches in front of them.