The national debt also rises.

So don't waste all of your worry on climbing sea levels.

But don't let valid concerns about those and other elevating perils submerge you in paralyzing dread, either.

And don't let divisive debate over what should and shouldn't alarm us, and how much, blind you to the enduring benefits of living in these parts (more on that later).

That doesn't mean we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Sure, some folks still dismiss the expert consensus about climate change, our species' contribution to it and its short- and long-term ripple effects, which aren't confined to higher high tides.

If you're in that group, though, check out this opening sentence from a story by The Associated Press' Bruce Smith on The Post and Courier's South section front page Wednesday:

"Charleston's Historic District and the Cape Hattaras Lighthouse are among the national landmarks threatened by rising sea levels, according to a report released Tuesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists."

Maybe you think those particular scientists - and the many other scientists sounding climate-change warnings - are either mistaken or lying. If so, maybe you should at least consider the possibility that those scientists know more about this subject than the non-scientists who echo Rush Limbaugh's charge that the notion of man-made climate change is a "hoax."

And folks who still dismiss the national debt's steep climb as no big deal should check out these massive numbers:

It has soared from $5.8 trillion at the end of the 2001 fiscal year (Sept. 30, 2001) to $17.5 trillion today.

Maybe you think Washington can repeal a basic law of currency's worth and keep printing unbacked trillions without eventually inflicting economic catastrophe.

Maybe you even think our governor is making a costly, cruel mistake by not taking "free" federal money for expanding Medicaid in our state.

Maybe you've forgotten that our president who offers this seemingly sweet deal is the same one who repeatedly said that if you liked your insurance plan and doctor you could keep them under the laughably labeled Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

And maybe it's too late to reverse the contagious spread of the demotivating Nanny State mentality that's accelerating America toward fiscal oblivion.

Hostile and mobile

More grist for the prophets-of-doom mill:

The Islamic radical terror threat not only persists but, according to numerous analysts, is growing. Iran advances ever closer to a nuclear arsenal. North Korea already has nukes. Syria's a bloodbath. Nigeria's a nightmare.

Closer to home on a far less fatal front, many of the roads and bridges in South Carolina, as in many other states, are in dangerously deteriorating shape. And yes, the Charleston area is getting more uncomfortably crowded with every passing year.

But enough about the ominous, proliferating shadows over the future of our community, state, country and planet.

Despite hyper-angst to the contrary, all is not lost. Keep in mind that our human kind has long wrongly assumed that the worst is about to come.

Yes, at times predictions of impending disasters have come true.

For instance, some people correctly suspected that appeasing Adolf Hitler wouldn't work.

But hey, the good guys did win World War II.

OK, so classifying the Soviets as good guys from 1941-45 was a desperate-times, desperate-measures move.

Still, 4 decades after Germany's Nazi thuggery fell, the Soviet Union's communist tyranny followed, ending Russia's expansionist menace.

That is, until it was recently revived by land-grabbing Vladimir Putin.

OK, so we've got trouble again with Russia, trouble living within our collective means and even some trouble right here in River City.

And sure, bad things have happened, are happening and will keep happening - including awful circumstances we haven't anticipated yet.

Hometown advantage

However, there are good things happening, too - here and now.

Or did you forget that it's springtime in Charleston?

This glorious annual convergence of special time and special place shouldn't be wasted on futile fretting.

So get out there and enjoy it.

Stop and smell the flowers - and the honeysuckles. Watch the pelicans. Hit the beach.

Catch a RiverDogs game when they return to Riley Park for a long home stand starting next Monday night.

Run, or at least walk, your dog. If you don't have a dog (or cat), get one from the Charleston Animal Society or some other local pet-adoption haven.

And get your tickets for Spoleto - and Piccolo Spoleto - while you still can.

After all, oceans of saltwater and red ink aren't the only ascending tides.

In May, the charm of Charleston also rises.

Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is wooten@postandcourier.com.