Republished from FIU SJMC’s The Wire.
One of the many advantages of Florida is that people can enjoy its 1,300 miles of coastline, but with it come the challenges of sea level rise. In order to create awareness and solution for this climate change, many conferences take place around the world, and this year, our SJMC participated in the French American Climate TalkS (FACTS).
Building up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will be held in France in 2015, FACTS hosted its 12th edition this past Sept. 28, where innovations, facts and solutions were the key point of the conference.
As part of the panel, the French Consulate in Miami invited doctors, scientists, politicians and meteorologists to talk about sea level rise. In attendance were Dr. Ben Kirtman, Associate Dean for Research, University of Miami; Dr. Juliet Pinto, Associate Professor, FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communcation; Dr. Anny Cazenave, Director for Earth Science, International Space Institute; Philip Levine, Mayor of Miami Beach; Dr. Eric Rignot Chancellor Professor of Earth System Science, University California. The French Consulate invited NBC6’s chief meteorologist John Morales to act as moderator.
The event started with an inspiring speech from the Consul General of France in Miami, Philippe Létrilliart. He asked that the panel strive for positive solutions, rather than fixating on problems, and working together for a better good.
“We say ‘FACTS’ because we need to create awareness in climate change. With FACTS, we can address the issue not only locally, but also globally (…) Coming together is beginning, keeping together is progress, ending together is success,” Létrilliart said.
After the Consul, the Deputy Director of the United Nations Environment Program for North America, Fatou Ndoye, explained the position and solutions that have been presented before the UN General Assembly. She emphasized that the UN General Secretary acknowledge that this is a “moment of turmoil and hope” and if we stay together, we can prevent future catastrophes on our planet.
Causes, consequences and solutions were presented at the roundtable. Eric Rignot explained that the causes of sea level raise are based on three factors: 42% ice melt, 35% ocean warming and 12% land waters.
“We can see a change in sea level rise since 1950. Societies and countries have been adapting to these changes instead of facing and preventing them,” Rignot said. “We have to think beyond the predictions for 2050 and start a change now. We can try to slow it down, but to reverse it is impossible.”
Our faculty member Dr. Juliet Pinto explained how FIU has been creating awareness among students and the community, plus communicating the climate issue to other audiences. She explained the mission and goals of Eyes on the Rise, a nonprofit organization created by four professors of SJMC: Dr. Pinto, Prof. MacMillin, Dr. Gutche and Prof. Jacobson. She also emphasized the success of the documentary “South Florida Rising Seas Impact” and the launch of a mobile app that allows users to view rising sea levels.
FACTS created an environment of hope and awareness. The statistics and predictions presented were sobering, but the experts at the roundtable suggested that if followed could slow sea level rise.