Episode 29: In episode 29 of America Adapts, Doug Parsons talks with Dr. Keren Bolter, Climate, Policy & GeoSpatial Analyst at the South Florida Regional Planning Council.Keren talks about her experiences talking sea level rise with actor Jack Black on the climate change TV series, Years of Living Dangerously (he’s apparently funny in person too – hear about his crank calls to the Florida governor’s office).
Keren digs into the fundamentals of sea level rise and it’s not as simple as it sounds. Basic message: the seas are rising, some areas more than others. She also explains why south Florida has a higher level of sea level rise than other regions of the country (it involves water traffic jams).
“We’re setting off these sea level rise feedback loops. Things are snowballing and snowballing.”
Keren also describes her experiences doing a Tedx talk.
We also hear about the project Keren is leading, literally going out and measuring sea level rise at the neighborhood level. Keren, armed with a ruler, goes into different modeled areas of south Florida to see if the actual flooding aligns with the models.
We also learn how the communities in south Florida are responding to increased flooding and how the affluence of a neighborhood impacts what infrastructure is in place to divert flooding. Yes, environmental justice comes into our discussion.
Keren describes how she’s recruited her own kids to help communicate the topic of sea level rise and shares other examples of clever sea level rise themed science communication techniques. We also hear what an individual can do to address sea level rise.
Although Keren studies one of the most powerful impacts of climate change, she’s actually very optimistic about her work and how local communities can address this threat. In addition, we discuss the economic and tourist impacts of increased flooding and Keren describesthe aggressive planning by south Florida governments to address sea level rise. Yes, it’s a fascinating and funny episode, please have a listen!
Dr. Bolter’s Groundtruthing project (map with locations):
Floating above the rising tides debate: Keren Bolter at TEDxMiami 2013
Building Coastal Flood Hazard Resiliency with a Regional Tools Buffet
Sea Level Rise Impact: Communicating the Risks
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