After reading a colleague’s article in the Australian Financial Review (AFR Weekend 8-9 January 2011) about rising sea levels and property, I was moved to write to the AFR editor. I invite you to read Professor Bruce Thom’s original article (Rising seas create property dilemma), as well as my response (below), and contribute your thoughts.
Professor Bruce Thom’s article “Rising seas create property dilemma” could not be better timed. It’s almost a year since the Federal Government convened the first National Climate Change Forum: Adaptation Priorities for Australia’s Coast.
During last years’ National Climate Change Forum there was a sense of cautious optimism from those participants responsible for making decisions and from those advising on decisions to manage the transition to a climate-impacted coast. Professor Thom advocates eloquently for a renewed emphasis on improved research, planning and engagement with coastal communities and their investors on this critical issue. Such engagement can’t be delayed –on a daily basis I work closely with people who live and work at the coast and who want answers – to help navigate them through how best to work through to this complex, multifaceted transition.
During this time of year where many of us are holidaying on the coast it’s timely to take heed of Professor Thom’s call for action and also to reflect on Mayor Paddi Creevey’s (City of Mandurah, WA) speech at last year’s Forum “I think we’re up for a huge culture shock when part of where we’ve lived our recreational lives won’t be there in some form.”
It would surely be remiss of us to wait for the next climate-change-fuelled natural disaster on the coast to act as a trigger for change. Rather we must take counsel and be prepared to act and face the challenge of proactively managing our climate-impacted coasts.
Managing Director, Coastal Zone Management Pty, Ltd