Rising Sea Level Threatens Bay Area Counties

Sophomore Paloma Siegel delivering her speech at the Marin Lecture Series.

Andrea Taylor

Sophomore Paloma Siegel delivering her speech at the Marin Lecture Series.

On the upcoming ballot in June, there will be a proposal for a $12 yearly parcel tax in nine Bay Area counties, including Marin, to raise money for restoring wetlands that would help protect us against rising sea levels. On February 10, I attended a lecture series at the San Rafael Presbyterian Church called, “Sea Level Rise and Adaptation in Marin: pilots, possibilities, and pitfalls.” At this event there were four speakers: Kristina Hill, Stuart Siegel, Roger Leventhal, and Terra Linda’s own sophomore Paloma Siegel.

All of the speakers talked for about 20 minutes, each with their own perspective on possible resolutions to the sea level rise. Some of the options were taking sediment from the middle of the ocean and putting it on the shoreline to create a barrier against water. Another suggestion was planting about a mile of seaweed along all shorelines, which would not only act as a barrier, but would also remove existing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The speakers also referred to other systems that foreign countries have already implanted. In Europe, they built houses that stand on high stilts, which provide a desirable place to live and help with the issue of moving farther inland. People have tried to fight the issue by creating walls, but that is a very temporary solution that only blocks people from seeing their environment. The most common suggestion was to create a living shoreline. This solution would create a slight slope starting at a shallow bay and would gradually build to a tidal mud flat, then to a tidal marsh, and then after into the brackish marsh, which would levee up to where houses could be built. All of these proposed solutions require money from the parcel tax.

During one of the presentations, there was a picture of some of the regions of Marin that have already been affected by the rising tides, showing the immediate danger from the rising ocean levels. All of the speakers strongly advocated for the need for action. Paloma Siegel closed the night with a short speech called, “Climate Change: Perspectives from the Next Generation.” She expressed the urgency of our current situation and how we need to save what nature we have left. If there is any more delay to implement change, there will be major permanent consequences.