North Carolina’s Outer Banks have been inhabited for centuries. For most of that time, residents kept their houses mobile because the sands were mobile. The sands continue to move. Sea level rise is accelerating the action. Modern infrastructure, however, doesn’t move. Nature moves around it, under it, and through it, requiring it to be rebuilt. One response: pick up the sand and put it back where it came from, at a cost of millions or billions. One problem with that: one big storm can undo all of that work. Another problem with that: whether from sea level rise or regional subsidence, moving the sand around doesn’t raise our structures enough. The Outer Banks may be one of our first tests of how we handle a changing world. This change, however, isn’t happening on some Pacific Island remote from Washington D.C. This change is happening where many people from D. C. spend their vacations. Change made visible.

“Slip Sliding Away” – Audobon

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