Editorial: Government officials must be vigilant

Rising oceans worth attention on coastline

The Brunswick News

Ho-hum. Ho-hum. Double-triple ho-hum. That is usually the reaction these days whenever someone mentions polar ice caps melting and rising sea levels. For whatever reason or reasons, people tend to brush it aside like some whirring, pesky insect or simply file in the same category as the silly story of Chicken Little.

Well, folks, it is for real. Just ask the U.S. Coast Guard, which is wondering how to prepare its fleet for the "new ocean" forming at the top of the world. Russia is already eagerly embracing it for shorter shipping routes.

Just ask American scientists, who have been working on the phenomenon for years. They have some ideas for minimizing the impact, an impact that has been felt in recent years by the communities like Brunswick and the Golden Isles. Who can forget the fearsome sight of waves rolling across the marsh along U.S. 17 during tropical storms in 2005 and 2008?

The real question is what city and county planners are doing to "prepare" for the future. Does a rising Atlantic Ocean even figure anywhere in their plans? Beyond a doubt, the greater problems may be decades from now, but that does not mean the community should wait until "decades from now" to think about countermeasures.

No one is saying it's the end of the world. But it can be an issue, a serious one, especially when storms pounce on the coastline. Brunswick and Glynn County officials know that. They've seen it in action.

At the very least, city and county officials should ask state scientists who have been working on this to give them a briefing on what the coast might expect in the coming years.

The information revealed might save us all a lot of worry and financial headaches, and if not us, then our children and grandchildren.

Sometimes people confuse this issue, rising oceans, on the hotly debated "cause" of it all, whether it's nature at work, man at work or both. They confuse one with the other and, consequently, dismiss both.

Glynn County and other coastal communities can not afford to do that. The oceans are rising.