The 7 p.m. presentation, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Francis Pavilion of the Porter Center for Performing Arts on the campus of Brevard College. A question and answer session will be held after the talk.
Young is professor of geosciences and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina. He is also co-author of a new book, “The Rising Sea,” which warns that rising ocean levels brought about by global warming is not something that might happen in the future, but is happening already. Young wrote the book along with Orrin H. Pilkey, a pioneer in the study of American shoreline development policy who holds the position of professor emeritus in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Both scientists say that scientific data indicate that over the last decade seas worldwide have risen an average of slightly more than one-eighth inch per year, and reliable research indicates oceans may climb as much as seven feet in the next 100 years.
Although the topic may seem remote to a mountain community, sea level rise affects everyone since tax dollars subsidize flood insurance for coastal properties All along the country’s coasts, tides will rise and fall on massive seawalls or ruined roads, homes, businesses and public buildings. Coastal cities such as Miami, New York, Charleston, Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans and many others around the world will be forced to enact a policy of retreat. Rising seas are inevitable, Young says, but despair is not: Lives and communities can be saved, but only by facing hard and controversial choices, including abandoning storm-damaged property, changing where and how we build and developing a national exit strategy from our coasts.
Young, who earned his doctorate in geology at Duke University, is a much-sought-after expert on the topics of hurricane impacts and coastal management. He has written approximately 100 technical publications and serves on the editorial board of three international journals, including the Journal of Coastal Research. Young currently oversees more than $2 million in grant-funded research projects related to coastal science and management. He is a coastal advisor to the U.S. National Park Service where he was a Sabbatical Fellow in 2004. He is also president of Sialia Environmental, Inc., a firm that provides environmental consulting and restoration design.
Young’s presentation is co-sponsored by Brevard College and the Pisgah Group of the Sierra Club.
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