A.R. Siders pens an informative op-ed for The New York Times defining 'managed retreat' in a world where climate change continues to have disastrous effects.
After suffering back-to-back floods in 1993, the town of Valmeyer, Ill., did something unusual. Instead of risking yet another disaster, it used funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Illinois to move the entire town a few miles away to higher ground.
As the climate continues to change, more and more communities will contemplate taking actions like Valmeyer’s. Rather than merely build levees or weatherize homes, communities will purposefully move away from places threatened by floods, droughts, fires or high temperatures.
This strategy is known as managed retreat. It is often considered an extreme option to be pursued only when no other alternatives remain. People don’t want to move from their homes, especially when environmental conditions, even if worsening, have not yet made life unlivable.
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