Vancouver Is Sinking

No fear mongering

A four-metre rise in sea water level will put Richmond, Delta, Pitt Meadows and part of Surrey in jeopardy. (

A four-metre rise in sea water level will put Richmond, Delta, Pitt Meadows and part of Surrey in jeopardy. (

Chuckle. This was the reaction I got from my Journalism class when I mentioned that Vancouver is sinking. Frankly I would’ve reacted the same way a few years back, because it was really hard to imagine the city we call home to go into the ocean. But there’s scientific proof out there; there’s no denying the sea level is rising. Vancouver is sinking.

This is not just happening to us. Down in the U.S., New Orleans and Miami are already “past the point of no return“. Across the Pacific Ocean, Thailand’s capital city Bangkok might be underwater in 15 years. In Europe, Venice is sinking five times faster than expected; seems like the City of Water will eventually subside into water. Can Vancouver be the next city in line?

The short answer is no, fortunately not in the near future. Other cities in the Lower Mainland are seriously threatened by the rising sea level, though. A SFU student produced diagrams showing the effect of water level on the Lower Mainland’s coastline. If the sea water level increases by just 4 metres, Richmond and Delta will be completely submerged.

To make things worse, if a major flooding occurs in the Fraser River basin, most of the existing dikes in the area won’t work. This is going to bring $32 billion worth of destruction. Chilliwack, Delta, and Richmond have all done something to prevent the flood from engulfing them. How about Vancouver?

In fact, the City of Vancouver is preparing to add three inches of asphalt to a section of NW Marine Drive. This creates an embankment to protect the north coast. Seems like the government is not ignorant of the fact that the city will sink at some point in the future.

Adding dikes and pumping machines, however, are merely palliative. Global warming is the real enemy, and we’re the reason why it exists. And now it’s taking a toll on us. Shouldn’t we reflect on our civilization and lifestyle, and cure the problem from its root cause? The rising sea level and the flood are just the tip of an iceberg; don’t miss the bigger picture or we’ll soon be hit hard and sink. (Just like Titanic?)