The troubling story behind that canoe in the street

by Antonia DeBianchi

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When the rain subsided from the tropical storm, my siblings and I peeked outside. Our mom’s garden wasn’t visible. Neither were the driveway’s red bricks. The flooding was the worst we’ve ever seen. We looked at the canoe in our garage. Then we looked at each other, nodded and took the boat for a spin on our street.

After that day, we desperately wanted the road to fill up like a makeshift lake again. There were times when it did. But, it wasn’t until I grew older that I realized what sea-level rise was. It’s not something you wish for so you can grab some oars and canoe to your friend’s house three doors down. It ruins lives, ecosystems, homes. 

A month ago, there was a tsunami warning where I’m from in Miami. We still have that canoe. I hope we never have to use it on the street again.

-- Antonia DeBianchi is a senior at Boston University, enrolled in a course taught by the Schools of Communication and Public Health and focused on climate change. She grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., where she learned about the dangers of sea-level rise at an early age. 

This story appears in the Small Earth Stories feature series. View the full series.

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