National Geographic: South Florida ‘Treading’ Water and Financial Risk

National Geographic’s February 2015 issue holds a story about South Florida’s massive development and investment in infrastructure despite the threats of sea level rise to the region.

Write’s Nat Geo’s Laura Parker:

There’s something surreal about the pace of construction in a region that may be inundated by 2100. On an early morning flight over northwest Broward County, I watch a dredge scooping up fill to form finger peninsulas on a man-made lake in a housing tract being built against the Everglades. On a boat ride up the Miami River in downtown Miami, I pass a 1.25-acre parcel right on the river’s edge that sold for $125 million last spring—a record price here. Nearby, the one-billion-dollar Brickell City Centre, under construction on nine acres, is so enormous it has a cement plant on-site. Across town a $600 million convention center with an 1,800-room hotel is planned.

The biggest economic challenge posed by climate change in South Florida may be one that business leaders are loath to discuss—that fear of this slow-speed crisis could stall development.

“It’s almost like, ‘Shhhh. Don’t talk about it,’ and so it’s not real,” says Richard Grasso, an environmental law professor at Fort Lauderdale’s Nova Southeastern University. worked closely on King Tide Day, Oct. 9, 2014, with National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz to help find some of the perfect spots to tell visual stories about sea level rise in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

His images appear in the new issue and focus on flooding and development in South Florida.

Read National Geographic’s story and see the photos.