Lots of people go to Hawaii for sparkling beaches and misty waterfalls. Get ready for a lot fewer of them: According to a new report on climate change from the University of Hawaii, some of the islands’ beaches will erode by fifty feet or more and others will disappear completely by the middle of the 21st century.
There’ll also be fewer cooling trade winds and forest streams, and the weather will be hotter and drier. Rising sea levels, storm surges, ocean acidification, floods, droughts, and all kinds of awful stuff mean that the Hawaii Tourism Authority had better figure out some good alternatives for its future visitors.
Increasingly, Hawaii will be faced with the choice of either armoring its shorelines to protect hotels and other buildings and risk losing even more sandy shorelines, or conducting a managed and potentially costly retreat from the coast to maintain healthy sand beaches.
Um, yikes. Here’s what that glossy Hawaiian brochure might look like a few decades from now:
1) Why lounge near the water when you can lounge in the water? Enjoy half-submerged lobbies, floating deck chairs, and a wet bar that’s actually wet. Plus: underwater swimming pool! So meta.
2) Whale watching is way boring (especially if they’re dead). How about front-row seats to a pod of bulldozers dumping load after load of sand in a desperate attempt to keep Waikiki Beach from eroding?
3) No! That isn’t a dry waterfall — it’s a brand-new rock climbing route.
4) Sure, monstrous hurricanes seem dangerous, but they’re also totally hardcore. Surf’s up, dude.