This special series of posts is produced by Juliet Pinto (Florida International University) and Phaedra Pezzullo (University of Colorado-Boulder)
In collaboration with International Environmental Communication Association, FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Center, and eyesontherise.org. Both Pinto and Pezzullo are attending COP21 in Paris.
By Juliet Pinto, from Paris
The week before I left for the COP21 talks, I spent a considerable amount of time driving around my local neighborhoods in Miami and watching water pool on the streets. It bubbled up rapidly through storm drains, spreading across streets, turning green grass into yellow stalks, sloshing across roadways as cars splashed through and people held their shoes in their hands to gingerly tiptoe across.
No, it wasn’t a water main break or a storm: It’s higher sea levels, combined with a rainy year and the passage of annual king tides, which together mean that the infrastructure that was constructed decades ago to deal with flooding is simply being overwhelmed. And it means a glimpse into our future, as seas continue to rise at accelerated rates, when such flooding will be the new normal.
So more than ever, as a scholar who studies interfaces of news media and democracy, as well as a citizen who experiences climate change at a local level, I wonder: What will the news narrative of the COP21 talks be? […]