Big Waves and Broken Roads


When I was at school I studied geography for a while and I learned a few things from it. Firstly you do not build your house or roads along the front edge of the coast or on sand dunes.

This was decades ago and science and physics have changed completely since then.

Anyway, when I was at school I learned that a road, wall or building constructed right on the edge of the sea, (especially on the edge of one of the worlds most rough and dangerous pieces of sea) is going to get bashed, eroded and eventually destroyed by the sea.

Since way back then the science has changed and now you can build roads and houses anywhere and when they get fucked up by the weather or fall off a cliff there is an expert scientist, screeching wild eyed environazi or politician proclaiming that CLIMATE CHANGE did it. You do not dare suggest that perhaps it was a bad idea to build stuff right where it will eventually be destroyed by nature because that would be like denying man-made global warming.

The south coast of Wellington is not magically immune from the constant effects of reality and basic physics bearing down on it every second of every day. Lyall Bay in particular was once a giant sand dune which got flattened and had roads and a suburb built on top of it and an airport was built on top of reclaimed land at the end. Climate change is not to blame for decisions made by idiots to build things right where they are going to eventually get fucked up by reality.

Today we have the new voodoo science of climate change to explain everything that goes wrong with just about anything. You built your house on a steep hillside after cutting down all the trees whose roots were holding the land together and the house slides off the hill a few years later? That was obviously due to climate change.

Stack shipping containers on the edge of a wharf in one of the windiest cities in the world and they blow off into the sea, yeah climate change did that.
Got yourself way too drunk on Courtenay Place on Friday night, cops arrest you for being drunk and disorderly, yeah climate change would most certainly have had a hand in that. It just stands to reason really.

I learned in 5th form geography that building sea walls along the coast further exacerbates the power of the sea to erode the foreshore. This simple fact did not stop sea walls being built all around Wellington City. Rather than blame very poor engineering and road building decisions for our coastal infrastructure eventually failing and crumbling into the sea we now simply blame climate change. Climate change covers a multitude of sins and bad decision making it would seem today.

The simple truth about yesterdays washout on the south coast is that there was a king tide combined with a deep low to the south generating a huge swell. The waves were rolling in over a very long distance arriving at the very calm conditions in Wellington yesterday, there was no offshore wind to hold the waves up or back in any way and that combination of circumstances allowed nature to show us all who is really boss down there. Nature does this type of thing. It always has and it always will.

No amount of carbon tax, light bulb bans or political waffle will ever change reality from being reality or physics from being physics. The sea is always going to pound the coast and so long as humans continue to alter coastlines and build constructions in the path of nature then nature will continue to smash it back down over time. Climate change or no climate change.

IMAGE CREDIT: Blaize Larsen-Beecroft