It is not possible for the public to ignore any longer the changes that accelerating climate change is making to our physical world. Thank goodness for trained experts like Richard W. Murray and Daniel P. Schrag for making their case in “Managing rising seas may require a managed retreat” (Opinion, May 31). They are helping “we the public” accept what we already know but lack the encouragement to do anything about.
Murray and Schrag are realists, and we should be encouraged, not made afraid, by knowing that there are real actions that can be taken and supported by an informed public.
Sayre Phillips Sheldon
The language in Monday’s opinion piece on curtailing building on our coastlines (“Managing the climate crisis may require a managed retreat,” Opinion, May 31) sounds so calm and reasonable. The term “management” implies an orderly transition — with potential builders turning away from coastal development as the prop of federal flood insurance melts away.
However, most of the people who are at risk from rising seas are not US developers in need of flood insurance. They are hundreds of millions of poor people, mostly in Asia, crowded into coastal cities. Their humanitarian movement inland will not be a managed retreat. It will be one crisis after another, as has already been seen with flooding from extreme rainfall in the region during 2020.
Here in the United States, we need to get serious about reducing emissions, now, or global sea-level rise will be too overwhelming for any country — even us — to manage. Tuesday’s column calling for Biden to immediately impose a carbon fee (Opinion, June 1) outlines an excellent way to do that. We need to rapidly move away from fossil fuels, not just the shore.
The opinion pages of Monday’s Globe describe the bitter work of planning to abandon beaches, lighthouses, and coastline to rising seas while spending billions to manage the impact of sea-level rise in Boston. It is worth reflecting that these unfortunate measures are needed today because we refused to sacrifice, far less manage, climate change decades ago. Then, the threat was well understood, just not experienced. As costly and tragic as these measures are today, tomorrow’s will be an order of magnitude worse if we continue to fail to act. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of mitigation, and it is not too late to learn the lessons that are right under our noses — and take action.
East Boston’s Piers Park III sets an example for Pier 5 in Charlestown
In writing about the proposal for Piers Park III in East Boston, Jocelyn Forbush (”Developing a climate resilient Boston Waterfront,” Opinion, May 31) provides the argument for rejecting the proposals currently before the Boston Planning and Development Agency for private commercial development of Pier 5 in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Rather than given to private development, Pier 5, a historic structure situated at the head of Boston Harbor, should be preserved as a fully accessible, environmentally resilient, recreational, and educational open public space — the objective Forbush outlines for Piers Park III. She writes of Piers Park III as a good beginning and asks organizations, businesses, and residents to act and “voice support for a greener waterfront.” All those who support her objectives should unite to oppose private development of Pier 5 in the Navy Yard and support organizations and resources working to fulfill mutual goals.
Gerald H. Angoff
The writer is a member of the board of Restore Pier 5.