How did you fare with the recent King Tide coinciding with the full Blood Moon?
From our sailboat on the New River, we saw schools of minnows swimming in the parking lot that the river took over. Across the way the “protective” seawalls were underwater. Taking our customary morning walk on Riverwalk Trail out to Las Olas Blvd., we had to detour several times around water that we couldn’t cross. But at the end of the trail the new high rise development literally on the New River proceeded full scale, though we couldn’t get through the flooded street in front.
News reports confirmed that high tides caused major flooding across the region, with attendant woes. I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but as we’ve been saying for some time, rising sea levels resulting from our changing climate is going to make these hazards permanent.
Shouldn’t you be talking to your elected officials about the plan to cope with and adapt to those changes? I am appalled that even as an environmental expert of 20 years, living in South Florida today I do not know what the plan is. I only know for certain that we do need a plan that is developed through wide communication, discussion and agreement with the population.
In the session sponsored by Congressman Alcee Hastings at the Congressional Black Caucus 45th Annual Legislative Conference Sept. 16, Black environmental experts confirmed that their communities are “the last to know and the first to suffer” the negative impact of their environment, from dangerous levels of pollution affecting our health to weather crises affecting our very lives. Rep. Hastings is in the leadership and a healthy amount of citizen interest and activism is needed at the local level.
Earlier in the week I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the world renowned scientist E.O. Wilson at the 125th Anniversary Gala of Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. Dr. Wilson and I serve on the Green Ribbon Panel of environmental experts from across the country charged with helping plan the next 100 years for the park. Standing next to him at the VIP reception at the Sidwell School (where the Obama young ladies are getting their education) I told him how often I’ve referred to his hypothesis that we need nature not only for recreation, but as a vital part of our biological make up.
His eyes lit up.
Then Frank told Dr. Wilson he saw him on an ESPN special talking about how he’s studying our obsession with football as a means of illustrating our tribal tendencies toward “us” vs. “them.”
“You saw that?!” Dr. Wilson chuckled delightedly. “And you know, when they were filming the segment they gave me the football to throw, and I gave it my best shot, and the ball went floppity, flopppity, flop,” he demonstrated, hand over hand.
“Like a wounded duck?” Frank said.
“Exactly,” said Dr. Wilson, and they both roared with laughter.
To see these two American men who were born in Alabama less than 10 years apart – who grew up with vastly different experiences as a result of race and class – having such a wonderful spontaneous time together truly warmed my heart and made me proud once again of my adopted country.
Then Wednesday, Sept. 30, Dr. Wilson was featured in the PBS documentary “Of Ants and Men.” I fell asleep and when I woke up Frank told me that Dr. Wilson made a statement that really chilled him.
“What did he say?” I asked.
“He said that we humans have Paleolithic (Stone Age) emotions, Medieval institutions and God-like technology.”
Whoa! What a dangerous and explosive combination!
Add to that the threat from melting glaciers that cause sea level rise and affect vital currents such as the Gulf Stream; our intolerance of science and our intemperance in religion, and we can tell it’s going to be a rough ride. Better get involved or prepare to hang on!
Audrey Peterman is an environmental consultant and author residing in Fort Lauderdale who also blogs for the Huffington Post.