Monday, September 05, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

I believe in the principle that if you can't help someone who is in pain, at least don't avert your eyes. But I've been slow to understand and haven't had anything of my own to say. I read some of the live blog from New Orleans. I remember the mud we shoveled out of houses north of Charleston when I went for a weekend to help after hurricane Hugo. I invited my students to write reflections on what we might learn about technology from the situation in New Orleans.

What I would like to see discussed further is the future impact of global warming. Does it make any sense to rebuild a city much of which is already below sea level if sea level is going to increase 3 feet by the end of the century? That number comes from a Japanese environmental site, many estimates are lower but at least some of those presume no increase in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. Could New Orleans the commercial center be rebuilt somewhere else, leaving the old city as a tourist attaction only (as when Houston replaced Galveston)?

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