On his weekly radio show with John Gambling this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg delved into history to argue massive coastline protection projects are futile, at least in the face of future storm surges similar to Hurricane Sandy’s. Specifically, Mr. Bloomberg referenced the tale of Denmark’s King Canute, who stood before the waves and ordered the tide to recede.
“If you build a house on the
Of course, the 11th-century Danish ruler was unsuccessful in that endeavor. Both Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Gambling also pointed out that Denmark, a small country outside of the path of hurricanes, would be easier to protect than New York City, although the actual legend focuses on King Canute’s divine power, or lack thereof, rather than infrastructure-building.
As he has done before, Mr. Bloomberg additionally emphasized the responsibility of homeowners to prepare for storms, rather than projects that come “at government expense.”
“Building a big wall along the Atlantic coast is not going to happen,” Mr. Bloomberg continued. “Every homeowner on a beach, when their beach gets washed away by a storm, says, ‘Oh, we should rush in and replenish the sand at government expense, build jetties and that sort of thing.’ Some of those things help, but if you go and read the history books, as long as people have lived on the Long Island coast–I’m sympathetic, but you can build your house stronger, maybe. You can build it slightly more inland.”