categories: Cocktail Hour
Take a good look at this photo—snapped last December by the marine biologist John Dindo on the west end of Dauphin Island, Alabama—and you can see almost everything that’s wrong about building homes along the coastline in this climate-changed, hurricane-prone, post-Sandy world. You can even make a game of it, if you want—sort of like one of those spot-the-error puzzles that you find on the children’s placemat menus at Red Robin. It’s easy to play along: Just print out the image and draw a big red circle around all the things that make no sense whatsoever.
Here’s what I circled:
It’s obvious that this oversized house was built on an untenable spot. It’s practically asking to be flooded by the next major storm or taken out by the next hurricane. But what I’m really interested in is the owner’s second mistake—the one that ended up compounding the first one. In an attempt to protect his highly vulnerable castle, he has constructed his own private seawall around it. This seawall—which encircles, or rather ensquares, the house like a frontier fortification (and appears to be made out of Lincoln Logs)—is doing a good job, so far. The problem is that the job it’s doing isn’t one of protection: One look at the wall reveals that it wouldn’t stand a chance of holding back even a half-assed storm, let alone a full-on hurricane. No, what it’s doing instead is destroying the neighboring public beach.
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