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Home » Surfside’s Collapse Highlights The Dangers Of ‘Solutions-Aversion,’ Like Ignoring Climate Change

Surfside’s Collapse Highlights The Dangers Of ‘Solutions-Aversion,’ Like Ignoring Climate Change

Surfside’s Collapse Highlights The Dangers Of ‘Solutions-Aversion,’ Like Ignoring Climate Change

We are conditioned to think about a 30-year mortgage as a great deal, and when experts suggest we budget for maintenance costs, we tend to think about things like a new dishwasher or refrigerator, or maybe a bathroom or kitchen renovation. We don’t normally think about shoring up the concrete or the foundation, until and unless a contractor or inspector finds something amiss during the renovation – or a crisis.

Buildings are big and made of concrete and steel and go through all kinds of inspections by people who know these things better than we do, including structural engineers and architects. So, we feel safe in them.

Then a catastrophe like the building collapse in Surfside, Florida that killed 97 people hits and shakes us to our core.

Though we don’t know if climate played a role, we have seen photos that indicate corrosion from the humidity and water seepage, and Miami-Dade County, where Surfside is located, is at grave risk from sea-level rise.

Experts have been talking about the potential impact of climate change on buildings for decades (which is how we have the US Green Building Council and their LEED certification), yet, even as we experience those impacts every day in 2021 – with many more extreme weather events, much higher temperatures and many more droughts and wildfires – upgrades to our buildings, ordinances and infrastructure are painfully, dangerously slow.

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