More than 100 people got up early Sunday to see the future bubbling up through the manhole covers and flooding Hollywood streets in what environmental activists said was the soggy effect of global warming.
The walk down several blocks of Adams Street coincided with a king tide, the high tide that occurs in fall during the full and new moon.
“It’s a sunny day and we’re seeing the ocean higher than the land,” said Keren Bolter, a Broward College professor who was accompanied by about 20 of her students. “This is a glimpse of the future. The seas are rising and so are we.”
The effort to call public attention to climate change and sea rise was organized by Sea Level Rise Solutions Project of South Florida. “We need to start reducing our use of fossil fuels, or we will become more like Venice,” said Scott Lewis, one of the organizers, referring to the canal-laced Italian city.
About 7 inches of water covered Adams Street where the roadway ends at the Intracoastal Waterway in a section of the city called South Lake.
“I’m just scared that the sea levels will rise and Florida will be gone,” said Rebecca Adler, 13, one of several students representing Temple Solel. “It could happen if we ignore the fact of climate change. It’s only going to get worse.”
Also taking part was Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy, who spoke about the city’s efforts to keep storm drains clear, install flood gates and to commission a study by Florida Atlantic University scientists to suggest engineering solutions. Those solutions could include a wall or a berm along roadways which regularly flood, he said.
Hollywood has four flood-prone areas, Levy said, in which about 80 homes are regularly threatened by sea water.
But climate change and sunny day flooding is a problem well known to almost all coastal South Florida cities, and even the youngest of Sunday’s activists seemed well aware of that.
“If we don’t do something, then future generations may not be able to come back to the places where we are being raised,” said Meagan Jacobowitz, 14.