Retreating from rising seas isn’t a win or a defeat – it’s reality

superstorm sandy, coastal flooding, jersey shore

KATE YODER / GRIST – Indonesia just found itself a new capital. The country’s president, Joko Widodo, announced on Monday that the new seat of government will be on the island of Borneo, hundreds of miles to the northeast of the current capital, Jakarta. The crowded city’s aquifers have been drained and the ground is caving in, making it one of the fastest sinking cities in the world. The Java Sea threatens to swallow 95 percent of the city over the next 30 years.

Retreating from coastlines and riversides might have once been considered unthinkable. But across the world, it’s already happening — in Australia, Colombia, Vietnam, and here in the United States. Thousands of homeowners in Houston have asked the local county to buy their chronically flooded properties. A New Jersey town is moving residents out of risky areas near the rivers and turning the land into a natural buffer to protect other homes …

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