Oceanographer and leading sea level rise expert John Englander, presented to architects, engineers, and construction professionals his insights on what is to come in the foreseeable future on Tuesday, June 4 at the CIAPR (Colegio de Ingenieros y Agrimensores de Puerto Rico).
Englander is the Founder and President of the International Sea Level Institute, a new center dedicated to demonstrating the latest research on higher ocean levels and the efforts that can be made to adapt to these in a sustainable way. His book, High Tide on Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis was listed as one of the top 50 books to read by Politico.
In a collaboration between the ACPR (Asociación de Constructores de Puerto Rico), The Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust, Resiliency and Business Innovation, the Response and Innovation Lab, and the CIAPR (Colegio de Ingenieros y Agrimensores de Puerto Rico), an audience of professionals welcomed Englander as he spoke about the upcoming challenges that climate change will be presenting in the construction industry in the coming century.
Among his many concerns, Englander urged these professionals to start thinking on how buildings, roads, houses etc. can be built with a more conscious outlook on the upcoming ocean level threats in mind. As he predicts, extreme weather conditions will only continue to worsen, and it would be a mistake to not start planning ahead right now.
The acclaimed scientist introduced his concept for a new Caribbean Sea Level & Flooding Institute, a regional nonprofit center that would be part of the International Sea Level Institute for technical training, policy development, and adaptation solutions to better prepare for flooding due to storms, tides, and sea level rise.
Englander says that rising sea level “will be the biggest economic drive this century” and that “redesign and rebuilding are business opportunities for Puerto Rico.” He is optimistic in the fact that Puerto Rico has the right resources to be at the forefront of leading the rest of the Caribbean in the education and strategic planning around climate change and sea level rise.
“Most people would be surprised to learn that Puerto Rico has 3 or 4 million people, that’s a big population on a decent-sized island. It’s just a great laboratory. You are resilient and tenacious. If we can’t design adaptation here, I don’t know where we’re going to do it.”
Article written by Claudia Guerrero