Roy Gilbert

Who Will Pay To Protect Tech Giants From Rising Seas?

In the heart of Silicon Valley, the world’s biggest tech companies are expanding their headquarters on the edges of San Francisco Bay.


Google has bought more than 70 properties in the past five years in Sunnyvale to expand its campus, worth almost $3 billion.

Farther north, Facebook has acquired properties now worth more than $2.5 billion in the last decade.

The company has built a state-of-the-art campus, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Facebook Nearby, some of the few low-income communities in Silicon Valley are also vulnerable to flooding.

In just a few decades, sea levels could rise almost 2 feet, flooding the area if a major storm hits.

Google’s campus is at risk, too.Local governments are planning to build massive levee projects to hold the water back, costing hundreds of millions of dollars.The price is more than they can afford.The entrance to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park is marked by a piece of Silicon Valley iconography. It’s a huge thumbs-up, taller than a person, the symbol used as the social media giant’s “like” button. It’s not unusual to see people taking selfies in front of it.The rest of the campus is bordered by something less eye-catching: a 9-foot-tall earthen berm. It’s the barrier that protects Facebook’s east campus, 1 million square feet of office space on land that juts into San Francisco Bay.“Some people refer to them as levees, but they’re really just mounds of dirt,” says Kevin Murray, senior project manager with the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, an agency […]