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How Will Rising Sea Levels Affect Salem, Massachusetts?

Rising Sea Levels Salem

by Oscar Collins

Climate change is a popular topic of conversation, but there’s often a degree of separation between the hypothetical and the here and now. Even so, Salem is situated near the ocean, and both tourists and locals have reasonable concerns about rising sea levels.

So, what should you know about the impact of climate change in the area?

Concern Over Rising Sea Levels

Derby Wharf Light

Rising sea levels could increase the likelihood of flooding in places like Salem. Eventually, if climate change doesn’t slow, water levels may cover more and more land. By 2050, coastal cities may see a foot of their space gone due to rising sea levels. Still, terrestrial lifeforms aren’t the only ones impacted by rising sea levels.

As the water’s temperature continues to increase, it may affect aquatic life, as well. Cold water is best for many shellfish species, and they struggle to survive as temperatures rise. An increase of just a few degrees can cause shellfish to develop respiratory problems or become more susceptible to parasites.

People may not be able to reverse the damage done in the past. However, they can look forward and take steps to prevent climate change from worsening. Adapting to change will be critical in the coming decades, and the best time to start is now.

Will Rising Sea Levels Affect Salem?

Salem will likely experience higher water levels in years to come, but the city has prepared for climate change. Officials have considered the rising sea levels and are in the process of making plans to mitigate damage. Safeguarding history is an essential part of this plan, especially in a city as historically significant as Salem.

Three Ways Salem Can Fight Rising Sea Levels

Salem Harbor

Luckily, rising sea levels do not necessarily spell the end for Salem. People can adjust their daily lives to lessen their influence on climate change, to start. It’s also important to listen to the experts and follow their guidelines for reducing your carbon footprint. Moreover, Salem itself is adapting to the changes to minimize the threat of rising sea levels.

Related Post: 10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Visit to Salem, Massachusetts

1. Adjusting the City Infrastructure

Salem and similar port cities will have to adjust as sea levels rise. Residents can contribute by advocating for raised roads, a strategy that can preserve motorways, at least temporarily.

The city already has seawalls, but they’re less effective when compared to the rate of rising sea levels. Salem plans to implement more stable building solutions to fight the flooding and protect shorelines. Infrastructure changes like this may not prevent rising tides, but they will significantly reduce their impact.

2. Raising or Relocate Homes

It’s fairly easy to ensure new houses are built with a higher foundation to keep them safe from potential flooding in the future. Still, people may not want to give up their dream properties in favor of another one. Even in those cases, they can elevate houses with concrete blocks or wooden stilts.

Residents can also choose to move homes a short distance inland. However, this solution isn’t permanent if they decide to move it somewhere nearby. This process lifts the house off its current foundation and transports it to a new location, where it is then placed onto a new, taller foundation.

3. Educating the General Public

Salem has offered free workshops detailing how to adapt to changes as the sea levels rise. Residents can provide support by spreading the word about these developments.

If you’re visiting Salem soon, take some time to stop by the newly installed exhibit in the City Hall Annex, Preservation in a Changing Climate. It can tell you more about how the city of Salem expects to be affected by climate change and how it can implement measures to fight back against rising sea levels, particularly with its existing buildings.

For the best result, couple your visit with the accompanying conference, held each fall. Both the exhibit and the meeting can help alleviate fears of Salem going underwater. Climate change is still challenging, especially since it’s difficult to predict what will happen next, but Salem’s leadership is equipped to deal with the problem.

Related Post: See the ‘Preservation in a Changing Climate’ Exhibition at Salem’s City Hall Annex

How Salem Can Fight Climate Change

It will take a large-scale effort to halt climate change. While you may not stop it just by recycling, you can take measures to protect the planet and all its seaside cities by educating others. As more people join in these efforts, the overall impact will grow.

The environment is changing, and even though you can’t go back to stop it from happening, you can do your part to prepare for the changes.

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Oscar Collins is the founder and editor-in-chief at Modded, where he writes about travel, food and similar topics. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates!

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