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The rising sea

Amy Scott Feb 1, 2023
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A lifeguard hut on a Miami beach. Nearly 60% of properties in Miami are at risk of being severely affected by flooding in the next three decades, researchers say. Amy Scott/Marketplace

The rising sea

Amy Scott Feb 1, 2023
Heard on:
A lifeguard hut on a Miami beach. Nearly 60% of properties in Miami are at risk of being severely affected by flooding in the next three decades, researchers say. Amy Scott/Marketplace
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Whether or not you live on the coast, sea-level rise will have profound impacts on all of us in the coming decades. One of the first places to feel those effects will be Miami, where 6 million people live an average of just 6 feet above sea level. Rising waters have already made floods more frequent and hurricanes more devastating in the region. According to First Street Foundation, a nonprofit climate research group, 60% of properties in Miami are at risk of being severely affected by flooding in the next 30 years.

But you’d never know that by looking at the housing market. During the pandemic, home prices skyrocketed — even in neighborhoods like Little River, where frequent floods cause aging septic systems to break down, spilling sewage into front yards. The county, aware of these problems, is trying out solutions like installing pumps and extending sewer lines. But none of that comes cheap.

In this special, we go on the hunt for solutions. From a laboratory where scientists destroy buildings for research to a home that appears to defy gravity and an island community fighting for its future, we’re figuring out what it will take to stay in the places we love. 

“How We Survive: The rising sea” was edited by Jon Gordon and Jasmine Romero and produced by Caitlin Esch, Hayley Hershman and Grace Rubin with help from Olivia Zhao. Sound design by Chris Julin and engineering by Brian Allison.

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