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Gee, did SF have anything to do with putting more people at risk from rising sea levels?
SF sea maps
LEFT PHOTO: The San Francisco shoreline from 1895 as shown in this map at the Oakland Museum. The shaded areas on the east side of the City of San Francisco show areas of artificial fill. RIGHT MAP: This is a screenshot from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sea Level Rise Viewer tool showing t San Francisco Bay with 10 feet of sea level rise in the shaded area. Notice the similarities.

San Francisco, by any stretch of the imagination, is not a hotbed of “climate change deniers.”

It’s been that way for more than a decade and counting.

Yet the powers that be in San Francisco in recent years embraced a plan to take the population of Treasure Island from a population of 2,000 to 19,000, build up to 500 hotel rooms, and add tons of commercial buildings to create a $5 billion neighborhood.

Just one small detail.

Treasure Island is a 400-acre artificial island created in 1936-37 using mud dredged from the San Francisco Bay by the Army Corps. It was created to build the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.

Climate experts contend Treasure Island will all be under water in less than  80 years.

San Francisco’s coast overall could see as much of a 7-foot rise in sea level by 2100.

Portions of San Francisco facing  the ocean would lose no structures, only beach.

But the northern side east of the Golden Gate as well as the bay side will see significant flooding of developed areas such as the Financial District, Fishermen’s Wharf, as well as the home of the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors.

That is based on a potential scenario of continued greenhouse gas emissions as outlined in a report by the nonpartisan California Legislative Analyst’s office in 2020.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has on its website a sea level rise viewer tool. It allows you to view areas in the United States — including the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta — of what the impact would be from rising sea levels.

It is available in increments of a foot increase in sea level up to 10 feet.

Now look at the two maps accompanying this column. The left one shows a map in the Oakland Museum collection of the San Francisco Bay shoreline in 1895 with the added shaded area that shows the artificial fill that has been added to the bay since then.

The right one shows a screenshot of the NOAA sea level rise viewer with the shaded in area showing what areas would be inundated if the sea level rose 10 feet.

Notice the similarities?

So, why is this important?
If you go to a doctor with a treatable disease, you need to know all of the facts.

Nature obviously has its designs on the human body as it does earth.

A thorough and honest doctor would make you aware of things that you were doing such as smoking, eating the wrong food, not exercising and such that could slow down, stop, or reverse what ails you

Instead of just plying you with artificial solutions such as pills, you will be told the best course of treatment is one that employs changing your behavior.

And in many cases changing your behavior without artificial intervention may stop the damage from spreading.

A fully informed patient that clearly understands what they are dealing with and makes changes needed is the path to the best possible outcome.

It’s too bad we’re no applying that same rationale to the entire notion of climate change.

To start with climate change — and ultimately the demise of civilization as we know it — is inevitable just as is the fact each and every one of us is going to die.

Yes, Earth is the mothership. But just like suns that supernova it isn’t going to be around for eternity.

It is why so-called “climate  change deniers” and those zealots convinced the climate is on the verge of catastrophic collapse are doing no one any favors.

First things first.

Those who believe Greta Thunberg isn’t radical enough — and there are some out there — lump virtually every one that questions the premise and thesis of climate change as if they are moronic flat earth believes.

Those channeling 1950s development outlooks sensibilities outright dismiss climate concerns as the rantings of myopic ostriches.

Climate change is a fact. It’s been around on Earth for 4.543 billion years.

Archaic Homo sapiens first surfaced 300,000 years ago.

Civilization, as we define it today, started around 4,000 years ago.

Where Yosemite Valley is was flat 40 million years ago.

The first of a series of glacial ages that carved the valley as we know it today started upwards of 3 million years ago.

The point is simple. Earth is always changing.

We can’t stop the forces of nature although we might be able to slow down their inevitable process a tiny bit.

But what we can do is change our behavior, especially those that are the biggest contributing factors to our current malaise.
As such reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the scale that we seem to want to do may not be the correct answer to extend our life, so to speak.

It might just be taking more pedestrian measures.

That doesn’t mean taking the foot off the pedal to deal with greenhouse gas emissions. But it may mean easing up on it and focusing on changes that will give California — and the planet — the most bang for its buck in  terms of overall effectiveness.

The reason we have more and more “catastrophes” is basically our collective stupidity.

We build massive subdivisions in the wildlands prone to major fires whether they are sparked by natural causes such as lightning or inept maintenance of for-profit utilities.

More and more of the initial effort today goes into evacuating people due to surging growth than  it does in attacking a fire.

Our development patterns have not only made us more prone wildfires that are full-scale “natural disasters” but it has also made us more vulnerable to drought, mudslides, and flooding.

A minimum estimated $30 billion price tag has been placed on protecting San Francisco from a 10-foot rise in sea level.

Instead of investing $5 billion to put more people in harm’s way on Treasure Island, one would think a progressive city such as San Francisco would direct that money into going up on land away from the risk of rising seas.

But then again, this is the city that built skyscrapers on bay fill after suffering  devastating earthquake in 1906 instead of on solid ground.

Climate change isn’t San Francisco’s real problem — or that of the rest of California and the world..

San Francisco’s real problem is not only how it has developed but how it continues to develop.

And that ranges from new sports arenas in the path of projected sea levels the ruling class in San Francisco has known about for years to putting 19,000 more people at risk on a low-lying manmade island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.


This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at