Friday, July 11, 2014

#occupysiliconvalley - In Silicon Valley, water occupies you

There have been recent squabbles between the "haves" and the "have nots" in Silicon Valley. (I've written about this squabble before.)

From the perspective of the have nots, the rich spoiled cyberworkers from leading Silicon Valley firms are hogging bus stops (there are even dog buses) and impoverishing the real working population of the Bay Area.

The haves argue that they are contributing to the local economy. For example, Robert Scoble recently snapped a picture of a bumper sticker on the door of the Surfrider Café in Santa Cruz, California. The bumper sticker read:

Die Techie Scum

Scoble's observation:

What was funny was they didn't turn away my money.

But if you are an #occupy type of person, and if you're a religious person to boot, then you probably believe that your deity of choice will punish the greedy Valley evildoers. If so, the headline of this article will cause you to rejoice:

Sea Rise Will Bring Severe Floods to Silicon Valley

A vengeful deity washing the dog buses out to the Pacific Ocean sounds wonderful to some people. (And yes, I realize that there are mountains between Silicon Valley and the Pacific, but if the dog buses are washed into the Bay and eventually float beyond the Golden Gate Bridge...)

But before you rejoice too much at the destruction of the evildoers, read the fine print:

San Mateo County is ground zero for sea level rise impacts. More than 90,000 people and $21 billion in property are at risk of flooding. More than half of the people affected are from immigrant and minority communities, mirroring an important fact about sea rise in the Bay Area: it affects more people of color here than whites.

When you think about it, that sounds about right. If it were SOUTHERN California, perhaps rich people would be more likely to live directly on the beach. But the wealthy of the Bay Area apparently prefer to head for the hills.

I encourage you to read the article, which explains the precise conditions under which such flooding could occur. The article happens to mention the El Niño activity in late 1997 and early 1998, which caused flooding in Palo Alto.

As a personal note, I was also affected by the El Niño conditions, but since Ontario, California is hundreds of feet above sea level, my only concern was a leaky roof. My house wasn't washed out into the Pacific.
blog comments powered by Disqus