5 Actions to stop the Rising Seas

 Xavier Cortada’s 5 actions to stop the rising seas:
Hit it:  Beat it up and it will run the other way.

Hit it: Beat it up and it will run the other way.

Burn it:  Add heat, then watch it boil and evaporate.

Burn it: Add heat, then watch it boil and evaporate.

Eat it:  All you care to eat; it's there for you!

Eat it: All you care to eat; it’s there for you!

Freeze it:  It was frozen before;  simply make it ice again.

Freeze it: It was ice before; simply refreeze it.

Bury it:  Place entire Gulf  of Mexico in a hole to keep it from being above ground.

Bury it: Place entire Gulf of Mexico in a hole to keep it from being above ground.

On May 11th, 2015 I modeled the  5 actions to stop the rising seas at the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida:

  1. Hit it
  2. Burn it
  3. Eat it
  4. Freeze it
  5. Bury it

Four days later, I presented them in a training seminar at the Robert Rauschenberg Dance Studio in Captiva, Florida. Below is the outline for that May 15th presentation:


This water.

It can tell stories. With incredible fluidity it can spit out data:

  • I was the birthplace of life on this planet.
  • I witnessed sea animals walk on to your shores
  • I sent sea plants to populate your surfaces.
  • I’ve drowned your continents. Then drained them. I grew their edges as quickly as I carved them out.
  • I’ve nurtured storms and traveled with them inland to undo what you had done.
  • Several millennia back swallowed a village you had 150 miles from this shoreline. You moved inland and I swallowed it again.

She’s pretty direct:

  • I will drown you. Right now she’s screaming… And floods are coming with the rising seas.

Too bad few are listening.

The politicians in Washington and Tallahassee are immobilized. Fighting among themselves: Is she lying. Are the scientists? Is she really that powerful. I’m not a scientist. Is this the greatest hoax? Is it better just to keep our head in the sand? Big important debates. Should we decide now to kick the can down the road?

So, while they are deciding on whether to decide, the citizens here in the west coast of Florida have come up with their own solutions on how to tackle sea level rise.

Truth is we don’t need big government to come up with systemic solutions. We don’t need regulations. We don’t need to invest innovation. All we need is action. LOCAL Citizen action. The ocean may be huge. But it is local at every shoreline. And we believe that local solutions can have greatest global impact.

In dealing with sea level rise there are 9 discrete and separate methods GULF COAST LOCALS have used to fight sea level rise…

I call them the “A to I” of citizen action. It’s easy to remember because most of the sea level rise is caused by the melting of Antarctic (the A) Ice (the I). It melts in response to all the pollution humans have put in the air since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The more oil and coal we use, the more we pollute, and the warmer the planet gets. As the planet gets hotter, the ice melts, and the sea rises.   Simple stuff… So, as you can see, the problem isn’t the polluters… Polluters are always going to pollute.

The problem is taming the rising seas.  


So here are the 9 traditional approaches in tackling rising seas: A through I. I’ve seen all nine right here from this balcony in Captiva, FL:

  • Ask: Nuns went to the waters edge and simply asked: ”Mrs. Ocean, please don’t drown us. I saw them beg on knees, their rosaries covered with sand.
  • Bargain: Generals from South Com drove down from Tampa to negiotiate: If you give me a foot, I’ll stop the nuclear testing
  • Cry: Tattooed bikers rode in at noon. In leather, they cried like babies. As they left their bikes their leader reminded them: “make sure your tears fall in water so it feels you.”
  • Deceive: We had an engineer come and flat out lie to the water. Pulled out charts and showed it all the damaged it had done. And that there was no more it could do. An elevation problem. Pulled out a physics formula and a map.
    A week later our Archbishop came and told it that humans had stopped using fossil fuels. That everything was now renewable energies. Even pulled a thermometer from an ice cooler and said that the water temperature was at an all-millennial low.
  • Entertain: Synchronized belly dancers did a water dance. Julio Iglesias serenaded it. A Gospel choir. A symphony. Everything. They even had Disney characters drive from Orlando to perform here.
  • Flatter: I saw a bulked-up body builder with flowers in hand gushing: “You are so pretty, so big. So strong. Your eyes are a deep blue. You have a glow about you.”
  • Guilt: Mother whose son drowned: “Have you no shame? How many more have to die?”   A group of doctors took turns reading all the names of the sailors and swimmers who lost their lives to the sea. Vets also spoke about a few drowned horses and feral cats that washed up on shore.
  • Harass: On a Sunday afternoon, wearing hats and dresses, the ladies from the Captive Island Garden Club came to the water’s edge and began to scream and hurl insults. They did not hold back. They gossiped. They used profanity. Some even farted. It was outrageous!
  • Ignore: A troop of boyscouts came to the waters edge and stood at arms length for a full 24 hour period and gave it their back. The tides went up and down. The waves did their thing. The sun set above it. And they didn’t once look at it. When walking towards it they looked away. When walking by its side, the looked in the other direction. Totally ignored it. Didn’t give an inch.

These are Nine (9) DIRECT INACTIONS. Direct in that you are directing it directly to the sea. But there are no actions. It’s like talking about a problem but not doing anything about it. Indeed, they’re highly INEFFECTIVE because they are INACTIONS. We need actions.

Actions speak loader than words.

We don’t need to raise awareness.

We don’t need to create a cadre of citizens to vote the people in office to do the right thing. That has never worked in any democracy. We know that elected officials only respond to special interests, and there’s nothing special about water. 70% of our planet is covered in it. What we need are citizens to engage in direct actions to stop the Rising Seas.

For this TRAINING SEMINAR, I have designed and modeled 5 highly effective direct actions. They’re effective because more than talk, they actually DO SOMETHING to stop the water.


  • Hit it (Get in water and Slap it. Punch it. Kick it.)
  • Burn it (Light matches and burn the surface of the water)
  • Eat it: (Eat sea water with fork and knife in water)
  • Freeze it (Bring ice tray filled with seawater into freezer)
  • Bury it (Fill hole in sand with buckets of sea water)
Five actions to save Florida from the rising sea:  Hit it. Burn it.  Eat it.  Freeze it.  Bury it.

Five actions to save Florida from the rising sea: Hit it. Burn it. Eat it. Freeze it. Bury it.


I’ve been around a long time. And I know that even when shown successful strategies, people resist. It’s human nature. Most people don’t act until they see the problem. Most say.

  • There’s nothing we can do about it. (We’re f*#ked…)
  • Or, its not my problem. (I don’t give a f*#k…)
  • Or who cares, I’ll be dead by then… “so f*#k it.”

Indeed, most people will go with this approach… It’s an action, but not as confrontational as the other 5 direct Actions.

This one is an indirect action and of the 9 INDIRECT INACTIONS and the 5 DIRECT ACTIONS, this is the one most residents have selected to undertake and the one we most need to focus on:


  • F *#k it
F*#k it.

F*#k it.

copyright 2015 Xavier Cortada

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