Sea level rise threatens the Florida Keys - Episode 1

SoundCloud: 

By Avery Van Etten

"I’m not betting on the fact that we’re going to save any of this. I’m betting on the fact that this is all going to change." - Chris Bergh, The Nature Conservancy


Gorgeous blue ocean water and abundant wildlife set the environmental scene for the Florida Keys. (Avery Van Etten/Medill)

A chain of low-lying islands, the Florida Keys, are already affected by sea level rise. Plant and animal species, such as South Florida Slash Pines and Key Deer, are losing their habitats as oceans rise and saltwater encroaches on their territory.


Left: Key Deer | Right: Pine trees are being killed by encroaching saltwater on Big Pine Key. (Avery Van Etten/Medill)

Keys residents are also impacted by sea level rise, which causes nuisance flooding and worse storm surges and threatens future permanent inundation of some areas of the islands. 

In this first episode, I investigate what sea level rise looks like in the Keys and some ways in which people are preparing for ever rising levels.


(Avery Van Etten/Medill)

Next, hear about the economic impacts of sea level rise in the Keys. You can find the second episode in the series here. The third and final episode, in which I talk to Keys residents about their opinions on sea level rise, can be found here.

 

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