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Scientists sound alarm as growing threat looms over coastal destination: 'Preparations have been too sluggish'

Many people who are alive right now may live to see the iconic destination become fully uninhabitable.

Many people who are alive right now may live to see the iconic destination become fully uninhabitable.

Photo Credit: iStock

According to projections from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Long Island — home of the Hamptons — is at significant risk of being completely underwater by the end of this century. 

What's happening?

As Newsday detailed, ocean levels along United States coastlines have risen close to 1 foot over the past century, per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — and that pace is increasing. Per Newsday, the Department of Environmental Conservation projections have sea levels around Long Island rising by 13 to 25 inches (about 1 to 2 feet) over the next 25 years and by as much as 69 inches (nearly 6 feet) by 2100. While that may seem far in the future to some, it's not. Many people who are alive right now may live to see the Hamptons become fully uninhabitable.

"While optimists say Long Island is not going to sink under the waves any time soon, climate scientists warn that preparations have been too sluggish," Newsday wrote.

Why is this important?

In addition to the rising sea levels, increasingly frequent and intense storms are a more immediate threat to coastal communities like Long Island. Severe weather events, like Superstorm Sandy in 2012, caused immense damage on Long Island. Without mitigation measures, more of the same could be in store for the future. 

While the famously uber-wealthy residents of the Hamptons could likely escape the worst consequences — by packing up and going somewhere else or by building more weather-resistant homes — the non-wealthy residents of these areas could be left behind, if current trends are any indication.

What's being done about it?

Some communities are turning to more climate-resilient architecture and infrastructure. One developer even created a house that can float and return to its original spot unharmed after flood waters have receded. 

However, to prevent the sea levels from rising to a point where they make coastal communities unliveable, we must move away from the planet-overheating, air-polluting energy sources that are driving rising global temperatures, such as gas and oil. Instead, we must turn to clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar. 

A few ways to reduce your personal air pollution output include switching to an electric car, buying food that is grown locally, and supporting brands that are invested in eco-friendly initiatives.

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