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Coastline Preservation

Living in the Chicago, the only erosion I tend to worry about is the kind that results in decaying roadways, ergo creating construction zones and traffic jams that cause me to lose hours of my life stuck in traffic. I hear about erosion problems in the plains; about dust storms and flat, dry land that’s left unprotected from elements that sweep it away. Occasionally, I visit a relative’s home on Lake Michigan and notice the subtle wearing-away of the giant bluffs lining the shores.  This prompts me to think more about people who actually face the threats of erosion on a daily basis.

Although the farmers in the plains of the Midwest go to great lengths to prevent harmful erosion in their fields, it is the inhabitants of the oceanic coastlines that really make me wonder. My brother lived in the Florida Keys where, in some spots, the land is only inches above sea level. Oceanside dwellers are repeatedly blasted with hurricane winds and waves that flood their shores and quickly overtake their homes and businesses. Having so little land to begin, they cannot afford to lose any more ground to erosion.

According to the National Weather Center, the U.S. endured 273 hurricanes from 1851-2004, 92 of which were classified 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew ravished through the Florida leaving an unprecedented path of destruction, and in 2005 Hurricane Katrina showed us how hellacious mother nature can be.

In Katrina, Louisiana learned how delicate their land was as it was swept away at hurricane force. The sudden deluge submerged miles and miles of land where homes, schools and businesses were built. People who had never questioned the stability of their homes were overcome as their foundations literally washed away from beneath their feet.

The devastation of a natural disaster can truly destroy the very basis of our lives. Whether its something small like a decaying roadway or a diminishing shoreline or something drastic like the erosion in the plains or a hurricane-ravished coast, the natural erosion of our land is a serious problem. Whether you recognize it or not, the earth is our foundation and, although we treat it as though it can take anything, it is a precarious element and we must be careful to conserve it.


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