Opinion: NJ policy on managed retreat must become equitable as sea levels rise

Delaware Bayshore, New Jersey

ANDREW S. LEWIS / NJ SPOTLIGHT – In the July Democratic presidential debate, the candidates were asked how they planned to tackle the anthropogenic climate change crisis. “We’re too late,” tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang said, flatly. “We are 10 years too late. We need to start moving our people to higher ground.”

While throwing up our hands and effectively claiming we’re finished is at best inaccurate and at worst dangerous, Yang is right about one thing: Millions of Americans will eventually need to retreat from our flood-prone coastlines. The complexity of such a reality is staggering, but we can — and should be — starting with the simple question of who of our people will be the first to go …

Andrew S. Lewis is the author of The Drowning of Money Island: A Forgotten Community’s Fight Against the Rising Seas Threatening Coastal America.

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