Why New York's Fate Is Sealed
James Atlas: Global warming 'is our fate'
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2012 2:55 PM CST
In this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 file photo, MTA Vice President Joseph Leader shines a flashlight on standing water in a train station in New York in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File)

(Newser) – Human beings are masters of two things—engineering and denial—which likely ensure that New York City will be underwater "in 50 or 100 or 200 years," writes James Atlas in the New York Times. Experts have already warned about the effect of global warming on the city—one panel "issued a prophetic report" in 2009 with mentions of droughts, floods, and rising sea levels. "But what good are warnings?" Intelligence experts knew that terrorists wanted to hijack commercial airliners before 9/11: "Who listened?"

The problem is partly that we think of Mother Nature as an occasional pest. In Venice, for example, engineers are designing impressive underwater gates to affect rising tides—but it's merely "a stay against the inevitable," sighs Atlas. The other problem is us: "It doesn’t occur to us that we, too," will one day be thought of as "metropolitans who ... traveled beneath the waves in metal-sheathed trains." This "willed ignorance" all but ensures that New York will succumb to history: "This is our fate. All the more reason to appreciate what we have while we have it." Click for Atlas' full piece.

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BillGalluccio
Nov 26, 2012 2:02 PM CST
Guess what? Mother nature always wins. No matter what we do, or don't do, the Earth will go through another ice age. Most humans will die. There is nothing we can do to stop this. Sure we can spend billions or trillions to delay it, but our civilization will be wiped out, just like every civilization before us. We can either waste our time and money trying to solve a problem that we cannot fix, or we can accept our fate, and worry about making our lives the best we can in the current day. Forget the future. Live for today. We would all be much happier if we just lived in the moment and stopped worrying about what may or may not happen in the next 50, 100 or 200 years.
right2dave
Nov 26, 2012 1:57 PM CST
Why out a bunch of money into rebuilding New Orleans?
Jeebus
Nov 25, 2012 10:21 PM CST
We wasted trillions fighting international terrorism, while the entire time, the biggest threat to our country was from our own greed and ignorance, oops.