The implicit folly of developing Smiler’s Wharf

“But Mommy, the Emperor has no clothes.”

The Sea is rising. The land is not. Our thinking must.

Portions of the walkway at Smiler’s Wharf in Mystic (present site of the restaurant, Red 36) are already being undermined by a normal high tide.

Eighty years ago a hurricane’s 5-foot surge destroyed the area; 80 years from now the predicted sea rise alone will have long swamped Smiler’s Wharf, even without taking worsening hurricanes into account.

Google this: The conservative IPCC used to predict a two-foot sea rise by the end of the century. In 2014, they changed it to a three-foot rise. Recent data shows that the rise will be logarithmic and, more likely, eight feet or more.

Our descendants will be unlikely to forgive our “business-as-usual” thinking.

Rather than focus upon tourism and ocean views, we might best transcend our personal and collective denial and focus, instead, upon what it will take for the very survival of our coastline population.

Dr. Harvey W. Austin



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