By Carolina Martínez in La Tercera.
After participating in the COP25, in Madrid, and bringing together in the same discussion space, the academics who are studying today the extreme deterioration that our coast is experiencing and the representatives of the organized community of the central coast of Chile, our look to the future is One: the construction of a Coastal Law with a climate change component will require not only science, but also the support of the organized community and of the parliamentarians who take on a challenge of new governance for the Chilean coast of the XXI century.
With clear support from the Central Coast Community Environmental Committees, we have been working together to propose a law that effectively includes the protection of the beach, dune fields and coastal wetlands. Protection of coastal areas that will result in greater well-being and protection of human lives. Our short-term objective, therefore, is to have the largest number of environmental committees on the coast of all of Chile involved, to promote these regulations with the greatest urgency.
It should be considered that in Chile, the areas where the coast has been most degraded by these unsustainable activities, are located large urban conglomerates, with high exposure of human lives to natural hazards such as storm surges and tsunamis. More frequent and intense dangers that are projected as a result of climate change. For this reason, among the priority strategies for adaptability and resilience to climate change are conserving and protecting coastal ecosystems because they act as natural barriers.
On the other hand, in already urbanized areas it is urgent to implement Nature-based Solutions (NBS) and green infrastructure in order to preserve the coastline. Here the instruments of territorial planning are fundamental to recognize the natural and cultural value of the coastal landscape, and to implement land uses consistent with the functionality of each environment, avoiding dysfunctionalities.
The problem in Chile is that many of the coastal communes have very old and permissive zoning, not anticipating the environmental effects of land uses, favoring real estate development in areas of high natural value. Urban design and occupancy strategies are also fundamental to increase urban resilience, especially considering the 50-year climate change scenarios (sea level rise, temperature rise), projecting in turn growth and expansion areas. urban in order to build sustainable and safe cities over time, reducing vulnerability to disasters.