Monday, June 3, 2024

#155 / Thinking About That "Midtown" Designation


Those who live in Santa Cruz, California are probably aware of a relatively recent - and somewhat controversial - change in the way that "Eastside" Santa Cruz is now being designated and described. Our Santa Cruz "Eastside" is being recast as "Midtown."

[Stick with me here. I will explain, before I am done, why I have put that picture of a glacier at the top of this blog posting].

For those who are not, themselves, residents of the City of Santa Cruz, let me get you situated. The City of Santa Cruz is located on the coast of California, at the very northern edge of Monterey Bay. The populated areas of the city are divided by the San Lorenzo River

The San Lorenzo River runs from the San Lorenzo Valley, which is basically north of the City, to the river's point of discharge into the Monterey Bay, right next to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Given that the San Lorenzo River runs, pretty much, North-South, one side of the river has traditionally been called the "Westside," and the other side of the river has traditionally been called the "Eastside." 

I happen to live on the "Eastside," right at the top of the "Water Street Hill." This is the area that used to be called the Villa de Branciforte, which was "the last of only three secular pueblos founded by the Spanish colonial government of Alta California. The pueblo was established in 1797 on the eastern bluff of the San Lorenzo River, facing Mission Santa Cruz on the west side of the river, in modern-day Santa Cruz, California. The pueblo never prospered, and the area was annexed into the city of Santa Cruz, California in 1905." Those quotation marks I have just employed indicate that I am quoting from that Wikipedia article about the Villa de Branciforte that I have I linked, above (italics have been added).

I have lived on the "Eastside" since 1971, and in the last several years, for some unexplained reason, lots of people have begun calling the "Eastside" by a new name: "Midtown." I don't like the change - and particularly because it is inaccurate. The "middle" of our city is our downtown area, which happens to be on the west side of the river, not the east side. The new, uncalled for, designation is a minor irritance, I suppose, but I do know that others are similarly offended. Various merchants, and the newspapers, however, don't seem to care about that, and have been sliding into that "Midtown" usage. 

Well, an article I read online, back in May, has caused me to rethink my objections. Maybe that "Midtown" designation will be quite appropriate, if we all just wait a few years. 

The article I am referring to ran on the CNN website, under the following headline: "Ocean water is rushing miles underneath the ‘Doomsday Glacier’ with potentially dire impacts on sea level rise." Now you know why I have included that picture at the top. That's the "Doomsday Glacier" mentioned, which is officially called the "Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica."

Here is what that CNN article reported:

The Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica — nicknamed the “Doomsday Glacier” because its collapse could cause catastrophic sea level rise — is the world’s widest glacier and roughly the size of Florida. It’s also Antarctica’s most vulnerable and unstable glacier, in large part because the land on which it sits slopes downward, allowing ocean waters to eat away at its ice.

Thwaites, which already contributes 4% to global sea level rise, holds enough ice to raise sea levels by more than 2 feet. But because it also acts as a natural dam to the surrounding ice in West Antarctica, scientists have estimated its complete collapse could ultimately lead to around 10 feet of sea level rise — a catastrophe for the world’s coastal communities (emphasis added).

Santa Cruz is definitely one of those "coastal communities" that would experience massive and truly "catastrophic" impacts if a ten-foot sea level rise were to occur. Furthermore, a ten-foot sea level rise would eliminate the city's current "midtown," our downtown area. The Branciforte area, at the top of the hill, in my neighborhood, would certainly survive, and would then properly be called "Midtown." 

I still don't like it. 

Turning our "Eastside" into what would legitimately have to be called "Midtown" is something that is coming our way, unless immediate and dramatic changes are made in how we live. If you, who are reading this blog posting, have read other blog postings that I have authored, you may well remember that I have been saying this for quite a few years. Click this link for anorther "iceberg" posting, from 2015

Those Santa Cruz residents who don't like the "Midtown" designation to which I have been objecting now have a new reason to make even more efforts to reverse the policies and practices that are accelerating global warming.

Of course, there are other - and even more consequential - reasons to do that, too. 

1 comment:

  1. Gary! If you are not already aware of geo-engineering, I highly recommend watching "The Dimming" at GeoengineeringWATCH,org'


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