Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Jack Black on Miami’s Sea Level Denial

May 14, 2018

Actor Jack Black explores South Florida’s looming sea level crisis in the riveting documentary ‘Saving Miami’ for the Emmy-winning climate change series Years of Living Dangerously.

Black meets with South Florida oceanographers, mayors, activists, property developers and even a psychiatrist to better understand how the region can cope with its dilemma.

Palm Beach Post:

There’s one sure bet about the hundreds gathering for the annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference, which runs this week in West Palm Beach: They’ll all want to hear forecasters’ predictions on how active the 2018 hurricane season is going to be.

And whenever a tropical storm forms in the Atlantic Ocean, they’ll keep a nervous eye on the computers’ predicted hurricane paths. They’ll become fluent on wind speeds and shear, drops in barometric pressure, cones of uncertainty.

They’ll be talking, in other words, about science.


And they’ll be heeding scientists. When the experts say a hurricane is about to make landfall, the governor and other leaders will urge Floridians to take appropriate action: stay put or evacuate, open shelters, stock up on bottled water, kennel the pets.

But if science is to be trusted when it comes to hurricanes, why is it so hard for state officials in Florida and federal officials in the Trump administration to respect science when it comes to climate change and sea-level rise?

How is it that everyone will accept science whenever it shows that Florida is in danger of getting slammed by a storm, but that many stubbornly refuse to believe in science when it shows that the southern end of the peninsula is on a decades-long course to disappear under water?

This is not just a theoretical question. This is no parlor game. The scientists who have measured the global temperatures, the melting of the world’s great ice sheets and the rising of the oceans are no less worthy of our trust than are the weather experts who will alert us to the next tropical storm.

They’re in the exact same business: reading the data and warning us of imminent danger. The only difference is that the creeping rise of the sea level is far less visible than the ominous spiral of a hurricane.

In fact, the warnings are interrelated. One of the greatest dangers of global warming and rising seas to us will be the increasing intensity of hurricanes as they feed on warmer ocean water. As the sea level gets higher, storm surges will be stronger, more destructive and deadlier.

Climate expert Harold Wanless, chairman of the University of Miami Department of Geological Sciences, says that if Hurricane Irma had remained a Category 5 and hit the east coast of Florida — instead of veering west — our region would have suffered a devastating, transforming blow from a 20-foot surge that would have pounded us for hours.

The destruction would have been “much worse” than Katrina’s hit on New Orleans. South Beach’s famous row of Art Deco hotels, to take one example, would be gone.

In the video above,  Black talks to developers who are planning billions of dollars in new high rise development, in areas that we know will be flooding more and more in coming decades.
I spoke to Jeff Goodell,  Rolling Stone writer and author of “The Water Will Come”,  for insight about that state of mind, see below.


7 Responses to “Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Jack Black on Miami’s Sea Level Denial”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    Cue the Master Bates! He needs to be on Jack Black’s camera deniersplaining about how sea level isn’t rising – Miami is actually sinking.

  2. Abel Adamski Says:

    Lets just all cool down, have a nice long drink of lovely pure water Guaranteed safe by Trump and Pruitt

    White House, EPA headed off chemical pollution study

    The intervention by Scott Pruitt’s aides came after one White House official warned the findings would cause a ‘public relations nightmare.

    Scott Pruitt’s EPA and the White House sought to block publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis, after one Trump administration aide warned it would cause a “public relations nightmare,” newly disclosed emails reveal.

    The intervention early this year — not previously disclosed — came as HHS’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry was preparing to publish its assessment of a class of toxic chemicals that has contaminated water supplies near military bases, chemical plants and other sites from New York to Michigan to West Virginia.

    The study would show that the chemicals endanger human health at a far lower level than EPA has previously called safe, according to the emails.

    “The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge,” one unidentified White House aide said in an email forwarded on Jan. 30 by James Herz, a political appointee who oversees environmental issues at the OMB. The email added: “The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We (DoD and EPA) cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”

    More than three months later, the draft study remains unpublished, and the HHS unit says it has no scheduled date to release it for public comment. Critics say the delay shows the Trump administration is placing politics ahead of an urgent public health concern — something they had feared would happen after agency leaders like Pruitt started placing industry advocates in charge of issues like chemical safety.

    Enck, the former EPA official, said she sees one troubling gap in the emails: They make “no mention of the people who are exposed to PFOA or PFOS, there’s no health concern expressed here.”

  3. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Welcome to New Atlantis!

  4. dumboldguy Says:

  5. John Kane Says:

    One of the best long term investments for Miami and the rest of South Florida would be glass-bottom boats for tours. I am being sarcastic but there could well be a niche market for this.

  6. […] via Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Jack Black on Miami’s Sea Level Denial | Climate Denial Crock of th… […]

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