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OUR TAKE: Stolen Beaches to Pave Paradise

That this report on a worldwide shortage of sand is a story of interest to ClimateYou is not immediately apparent. At first blush, any climate angle would appear to be tenuous, hard to specify. However, wide scale environmental destruction, China’s rapid urbanization and expanding transportation infrastructure while sea levels continue to rise cannot NOT impact the climate. Resources that were once thought infinite, inexhaustible, like land, clean air, oceans, and forests, are revealing themselves to be indeed finite and exhaustible as this anthropocene era advances. Now this report informs us, sand is in short supply. Thieves are stealing it, not to create other beaches, but as a raw material for the manufacture of concrete and aggregate. Joni Mitchell was prescient: we are paving paradise and putting up lots of parking lots and high-rises and office towers. Ecosystems are being disrupted and demolished. Wildlife is being hounded, forced to adapt, move, or die.  More than 50% of humans now live in cities; projections are that by 2050 that number will reach 85%. Nobody quite knows what the implications of this growing urbanization are for humans, wildlife, or the climate. We are rushing headlong into the unknown. We can hope for the best, but we really ought to be planning more for our future. Humans are the most adaptable of creatures, but it behooves us to proceed with caution, lest we face the same choices as other wildlife: adapt, move, or die.

 

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