Unlike the rest of the world, the Dutch do not see climate change as a growing problem, but rather an opportunity. In order to combat the global rise in sea level, delegates from major cities all over the world often travel to Rotterdam to attempting to find Dutch firms who lead the global market in high tech engineering and water management.
Rising Sea levels is a real concern to coastal cities in the United States and countries all over the world. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that there will be 1-8 feet annual increases in sea level by the year 2100.
This is not only a problem for coastal cities, as rising sea levels of coastal cities would shift population inland. Mathew Hauer from the University of Georgia said “We typically think about sea-level rise as being a coastal challenge or a coastal issue”, “but if people have to move, the have to go somewhere else.” Inland states such as Arizona and Wyoming could see a significant migration of the population that are not prepared for.
Since most of the Netherlands lies below sea level and is slowly sinking, first settlers were forced to pump water in order to clear land for farms and homes. As a result, water has been the primary source of survival and national identity. Essentially, the Dutch fundamentally believe instead of struggling to eliminate the water, live with the water. Dutch engineers devise lakes, park, and plazas that are used for everyday that are also capable of becoming giant reservoirs for oceans and rivers to overflow to.
A prime example of their genius and efficient engineering is the previous home of the World Rowing Championships, Eendragtspolder. With 22 acres of fields and connected canals, the patchwork serves as a popular area for bike trails and water activities that doubles as a reservoir for the Rotte River Basin. These types of innovations may be the solutions to combat the effects of rising sea levels.
With 2016 being recorded as the warmest year yet, Dutch expertise on Rising Water Henk Ovink commented, “You can say we are marketing our expertise, but thousands of people die every year because of rising water and the world is failing collectively to deal with the crisis, losing money and lives.