Posted by: ecodestination | March 4, 2009

Hurricanes: why rebuild? Move inland!

Miami leveled: post-category 5 Hurricane Andrew

Miami leveled: post-category 5 Hurricane Andrew

I went to college in Florida and my mother still lives there. I hated it. Every summer we were on high alert, and I was always paranoid about those damn hurricanes. And the more I learned about global warming, the more I realized Florida’s on its way out, especially if you live right on the coast as she does (that’s where my college is located too, which is depressing as well).

But when my mother wanted to buy new property and I suggested she consider moving somewhere like Chicago, she took me seriously-for about a minute. Her bad. I’m already out.

In college, I met a girl whose house got demolished in Miami by the category 5 Hurricane Andrew back in ’92. And what did her family do afterward? They rebuilt the house. I was baffled. It was so obvious to me that their move was simply stupid. The fact that you’ve always lived someplace doesn’t mean you have to spend the rest of your life there, especially when it’s so risky.

There will be more hurricanes, you can be sure. And they are supposed to keep getting worse. What’s to think about? If you’re interested, here is a documentary about a family rebuilding its life in New Orleans post-Katrina.

As travel destinations, enjoy them while you can (Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Mexico, Cuba, and so on). If you live there, I’d start making plans to move on inland. But hey, maybe that’s just me-I like to live calmly year-round, no yearly, imminent death threats lurking in the shadows ready to attack. Power going out for weeks with 95F weather, general fear, no available flights out or gas to head the hell out of the danger zone. I don’t care how fun hurricane parties can be.

We had a category 2 or 3 in Miami some years back. Afterward, downtown looked like a war zone, shattered glass everywhere. Some buildings still haven’t replaced those windows.

And, oh, the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico are some of the most beautiful and placid I have ever seen. They are breathtaking. Sand like flour and water like a warm bubble bath (okay, without the bubbles).

And don’t even get me started about earthquakes (I’ve lived in California, too). I just don’t get why people make themselves suffer through natural disasters when they could avoid them altogether. Isn’t it worth the hassle? I think it is. (New Orleans is a port city, okay, but why do people in other lines of work choose to rebuild? It won’t be much of a tourist spot as natural disasters keep ravaging it.)


Anyway, read this article in the New Scientist–finally somebody is backing me up! Go Jeff Hecht, go!

Read a contentious debate here and a post-Katrina article in the Washington Post arguing against rebuilding here.



  1. dang! thats just sad to just see miami like that!

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