Battling the Sea in the Netherlands — and the Tropics

Climate change is here. Its effects are happening. The Dutch–famously smart, famously frugal, and famously below sea level–are spending billions of euros shoring up their dikes and preparing for a rising sea. We in the rich world can gear up for it. But the worst effects–and the first people to feel the impact–are in the tropics. These are the poorest people…the half of humanity trying to live on $2 a day…the hungry billion trying to live on $1 a day. Helping them in the face of global warming is not a matter of sympathy; it’s a matter of justice. I believe anyone who denies that the climate is changing on this planet–and that it will have a devastating impact–is either ignorant or evil. I know evil is a strong word. But there are powerful and wealthy people who know in their hearts that climate change will wreak havoc on poor and hungry people…people they’ll never have to face in person. They know that human economic and industrial activities are contributing to climate change. And they are embracing lies about it–and discrediting caring people who are telling the truth about it–because of their own financial interest. These people are part of an evil on this planet in the 21st century that (if measured in the amount of human misery caused by their actions) may surpass even the most evil forces of the 20th century.


dike-village-netherlandsIn Europe, Dutch territory is both the most densely populated and the most below sea level. For centuries the Dutch have battled the sea. In anticipation of rising sea levels and more violent weather patterns, they are assessing their battlements and investing heavily in their own future dryness.


dike-pumper-netherlandsHuge boats are moving sand from far out at sea into shorelines to bolster the already massive dikes that enable the Dutch to sleep soundly (and dryly) at night.


dike-bike-netherlandsTraveling through the Netherlands, you can easily hike or bike along the dike. I’ll be filming soon at this location (on the coast an hour north of Amsterdam). Do you have any favorite sights I might want to film that show the mighty Dutch system of dikes?