Keeping Heads Out of the Sand on Long Island

Written by Paul Mackie on . Posted in Learn

A well-worded letter to the editor appeared in the print edition of the New York Times this weekend, from our very own Nancy Kelley, executive director of The Nature Conservancy on Long Island in New York.

In response to “Reading Earth’s Future in Glacial Ice” (front page, Nov. 14), we’d like to shed some light on adaptive responses that are already being proposed and enacted by scientists at the Nature Conservancy.

Along the shores of Long Island, the most populous coast in the nation, we are working with environmental partners to improve the health of Long Island’s wetlands — the first line of defense against sea-level rise; we are actively preserving undeveloped shoreline parcels to absorb the impact of floods and storm water; and we are helping decision makers prepare for rising seas with a coastal inundation modeling tool.

Flooding from sea-level rise will threaten natural resources and infrastructure alike. Sea-level rise may cause increased sewage to leach from shoreline septic systems into our bays and estuaries. Public officials must adequately prepare for sea-level rise in a way that both complements nature and protects our residents.

It’s time to wake up and smell the sea — it’s advancing. Organizations like ours are studying and promoting solutions that work with nature, not against it — for all who are willing to keep their heads out of the sand.

Post by: Paul Mackie, associate director of strategic communications for climate change, The Nature Conservancy

Photo by: Kate Jackson/The Nature Conservancy. (Westhampton Beach on Long Island in New York. Since the 1950s, the Conservancy has preserved more than 100,000 acres of land and water on Long Island.)

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Planet Change is a Nature Conservancy blog site designed to share stories about actions the Conservancy and others around the world are taking to fight carbon pollution and the impacts of climate change, and to help people feel the connections between climate change and their daily lives and understand actions they can take.

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