Should there be more development on Sea Island?


The late comedian George Carlin had a bit in his act about the environment. It went along the lines of that it’s not the planet that is screwed up, but rather, its people. Nothing could be more true than what has happened in the ruling to allow movers and shakers in Sea Island to develop homes on and near an environmentally sensitive area.

On December 22, a Fulton County, Georgia judge ruled that the Sea Island Co. can build a sea wall to protect its beach and build eight highly expensive homes to be built on what is known as a “spit” of land that runs below the Cloister Hotel on the island.

The project that we’re talking about in this blog post is a site where the Atlantic Ocean continually ate away at its beach during this past autumn’s Hurricane Matthew. So why build such expensive structures when ultimately it will all be washed away at some point in the future?

One could argue that a man-made sea wall could be beneficial to save and preserve the area. Certainly the Sea Island Co. is behind that argument, but quite honestly, why? What’s the point in building anything in such a sensitive area? Why build something that you already know is compromised?

According to a Georgia Southern University geologist, that spit’s beach shrank by over 100 feet between 2003 and 2013. That’s more than aggressive erosion and with possible tropical storms and/or hurricanes, could any of the so-called walls and homes help this area? Again, why was this project green-lit?

We never have a crystal ball as to what will happen with any structure in its forthcoming years, but in this case, the answers are concrete: things will wash away. There’s solid proof that the Atlantic Ocean will constantly encroach upon this property and with that stated, planners say that the owners of these multi-million dollar structures will enjoy their time there for many years to come. The “many years” is quite debatable with such aggressive erosion already taking place.

Another argument in favor of the project is that there is a balance of nature and development at the moment and in the future plans. The nearby Reserve at Sea Island is composed of acres of well-preserved greenspace. To the project’s defenders, there is plenty that is protected on the island. Additionally, defenders say that they have used technology to repair environmentally-damaged areas when the dune system was built up before last autumn’s hurricane. That technologically advanced project proved to be all for naught after the Hurricane Matthew washed most of it out to sea.

Of course, many will argue that these projects create jobs. No doubt that’s a great thing, but as we all know, those construction jobs are temporary. Indeed, maintenance jobs will be created, but that’s only a few. It would be far more heart-warming to see more good permanent jobs created in the area.

With all of that laid out here, I go back to George Carlin. The planet will survive these type of decisions. It’s these decisions that have created environmental nightmares as well as issues we deal with today including bad air quality in urban areas along with dumb growth in cities, rural and coastal areas. The planet will swallow up our poor development and forget the mess that we left behind. The planet will survive. We will not survive due to our stupidity. 


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