JOSH FOX: I thought I was making a film about climate change, and then in the middle of it I ended up making a film about the stunning revelation that it’s sort of too late to stop a lot of what we think about as climate change. That we have to refocus our dialogue to be about humanity as we progress through the most difficult period of change that we have ever seen. Do we want to be known as the moment in history that was incredibly violent, that was incredibly insensitive, that created wars, starved huge sections of the population, was selfish, and was racist? Or do we want future civilizations to look at this moment as the time we completely changed the way our civilization operates?
Miami-Dade County faces a number of sea level rise risks, including increased urban flooding, increased saltwater intrusion and contamination of drinking water supplies, and flooding of power plant substations and ensuing power outages.
By 2045, sea level in Miami-Dade County is expected to rise about 15 inches above current levels, according to a projection by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
With this increase, in just 30 years’ time, flood-prone locations in Miami-Dade County’s coastal communities would face roughly 380 high-tide flood events per year, and the extent of tidal floods would expand to affect new low-lying locations, including many low-income communities with limited resources for preparedness measures.
The flood events that today snarl daily life in parts of the county only periodically would become widespread and, on average, a daily occurrence.
As sea levels rise, higher water levels can also increase the extent and impact of storm surge and can permanently inundate some locations. About one-fifth of urban Miami-Dade County (namely, the area outside of the Everglades) lies at elevations that are within one foot of sea level at high tide; a one-foot increase in sea level is estimated to threaten up to $6.4 billion in taxable real estate in the county overall.
Shivaji Competition entrant Lisa Hirmer has been selected to join the Confab for one week in May. Here is Lisa’s competition entry.
Lisa Hirmer is an inter-disciplinary Canadian artist whose work combines visual art, social practice, performance, design and art-based forms of critical research. She creates the majority of her work under the pseudonym DodoLab, an experimental practice focused on exploring and responding to the nebulous, complicated reality of public opinion (acknowledging this is itself a complicated idea). Through collecting, examining, illustrating, annotating, reconfiguring and disseminating this publicly-sourced material, DodoLab aims to not only explore collectively-held beliefs but also disrupt them. DodoLab is particularly concerned with barriers to adaptation and change, the instances where we know we need to change but are not able to do so—particularly those related to human ecological impact. Several recent projects, including Peak Peat (U.K, 2015), The Passengers (Canada, 2014), Lawns of a Speculative Future (Canada, 2014) and Beetle Gardens for Tough Times (Canada, 2013), have explored human relationships with the complex ecological realities of contemporary existence.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 Introducing the Rising Waters Confab | Buster Simpson
4 Captiva’s Outlook | Leonard Berry
5 In the Dry Morning | Gretel Ehrlich 7 SCIENCE & FACT
8 How the Arctic Drives the Climate of the Temperate World | Gretel Ehrlich
11 What Happened 120,000 Years Ago Could Repeat | John Englander
12 Surging Seas | Climate Central
14 We Have Time to Adapt, but No Time to Waste | John Englander
16 Digging for Water | Glenn Weiss 18 COMMONS
18 Is it Fair? | Thomas Ruppert
19 How to Talk About the Climate | Florida Sea Grant College Program
21 Week Two | Jeremy Pickard
22 Climate Change Is Gradual | June Wilson
24 Commons at Ground Level | Anne Focke
27 Commons Reader | Anne Focke
28 Rising Waters Blog | Anne Focke
30 Who Should be Our Allies? | Orion Cruz 31 AGITPROPS
32 Agitprop at Rally | Buster Simpson and Edward Morris
33 Statues of Brave Heroes of Climate Change Skepticism | Lewis Hyde
34 Drowning Man Festival | Lewis Hyde with Others
36 5 Actions to Stop Rising Seas | Xavier Cortada
38 Captiva Island H.V.A.C. Wedge | Buster Simpson
39 Making Ice Bags to Refreeze the Glaciers | Xavier Cortada
40 Glenn Weiss, Jungle Seeds
41 Week Two | Jeremy Pickard
42 L’Arctique est Paris | All Confab Collaboration, Lead Authors Mel Chin and Gretel Ehrlich 48 INTERVENTIONS & ENGAGEMENTS
49 Mangroves | Xavier Cortada, Walter Hood, and Buster Simpson
51 Removing Exotics | Xavier Cortada
Raked Free Zone | Buster Simpson
52 Pine Island Sound Expedition
54 Underwater Affair and Palm Column | Walter Hood
56 Hurricane Remodel…Hire an Artist | Lewis Hyde
57 The Graceful Retreat | Buster Simpson
58 National Midden Mound-ument Preserves | Buster Simpson and Andrea Polli
60 Rising Gas | Andrea Polli
62 Islands and Global Forces – Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary | Andrea Polli and Buster Simpson
64 Voxel Frog // Mangrove | Buster Simpson
66 Limestone | David Buckland
68 Charcoal Sketch 2 for Neptune (A Play About Water) | Jeremy Pickard 70 OPEN STUDIO
72 SOS Life Float & Reliquary | Buster Simpson
74 Suggesting Palm Readings | Laura Sindell
76 Charley and Bob | Andrea Polli
78 Luxury Island and American River Archive | Edward Morris and Susannah Sayler
80 The Water Table | Jeremy Pickard
82 Pinhole Cameras | Laura Sindell
84 More Sugar, Dear? | Laura Sindell
86 Grounding Line – I’ve Seen the Water on the Wall | Lewis Hyde
87 The Manatees at Blue Springs | Lewis Hyde
88 Becoming Water | Gretel Ehrlich
89 Death and Poetry | Gretel Ehrlich
90 Fathom’s Portal | Buster Simpson
91 Stacked Chairs | June Wilson
92 Table to Deploy // The Arctic is Captiva | Buster Simpson
Please read and enter the Shivaji Competition. Shivaji Competition seeks practical and impossible ideas to maintain human habitation on islands and deltas doomed by a one meter sea level rise in the 21st century. Submission as animated GIFs are due March 10, 2016. Shivaji2016.com.
Competition is authored by Glenn Weiss for the Rising Waters Confab 2016 dialogues.
Flooding could become the norm in Alexandria, the World Bank has warned. It put Alexandria among the five cities across the world most at risk of flooding by 2050 as a result of climate change. The other cities the World Bank lists include Barranquilla, Colombia; Naples, Italy; Sapporo, Japan; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Low-lying Alexandria is also vulnerable to increased salination, or saltwater intrusions on agricultural lands and freshwater resources, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The city’s beaches and waterfront — both major tourist draws and vital parts of Alexandria’s economy — will be heavily affected by flooding because most of the hotels, camps and youth hostels are close to the shoreline, the IPCC said.
Alexandria’s beaches would be lost with a 50-centimeter (20-inch) rise in sea level, the IPCC has warned, and the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change expects that increase on Egypt’s coast by the end of the century. Just a 25-centimeter rise in sea level would displace 60 percent of Alexandria’s population of 4 million, and a 50-centimeter rise would force out millions more in the fertile Nile Delta, which produces half of Egypt’s crops and is vulnerable to saltwater intrusion as sea levels rise, according to the IPCC.
Smith Island comprises the wildlife refuge and a stretch of islands directly south, where roughly 280 residents live in three small villages about five feet above sea level. But erosion nips away at Smith Island’s banks at a rate of roughly two feet each year, and a 2008 report predicted that by 2100 Smith Island will be “almost completely under water as the Bay’s average level goes up nearly one foot.”
Which is why, even though Smith Island emerged relatively unscathed after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development offered Smith Island residents a buyout to move. Most rejected the offer. Some, like Marshall, don’t believe there’s any risk to living on the island. “The whole sea-level rise—it’s BS,” he says, talking loudly over the boat’s motor. “I’ve lived here my whole life and haven’t seen a difference,” he continues, then shakes his head at excavators on barges piling gray stone in front of the refuge’s outer bank. Other Smith Islanders wondered why the state didn’t offer to pay for new protective seawalls and jetties and dredging projects to pile up sediment on the land they believe can be saved.
Most Smith Islanders believe the island can be saved—if there’s the money to do it. There are already some man-made defenses built around the island’s shorelines: A jetty protects the western side of Ewell; a bulkhead and riprap—piled stone that acts as a barrier between a coastline and waves—shield Tylerton. But over on Rhodes Point, on Smith Island’s west side, a narrow island that acts as a barricade between the village and the Chesapeake is eroding away. While a jetty project designed by the Army Corps of Engineers is ready to go, federal and state funding to construct it has yet to be appropriated.
The Rising Waters Confab aims to spark new thinking and influence civic will toward finding and spreading solutions to the rising waters of climate change. It is a collective effort guided by a diverse array of artists and writers in a spirit of collaboration with scientists, activists, advocates, philanthropists and island dwellers. The Confab is live on site at the Rauschenberg Residency from April 27-May 29, 2015.
This is a multi-user site. All Rising Waters participants and staff are able to post. Every post appears in the center. To read all the posts by one person click on their name in the left-hand column. To read posts on a specific topic, click on the topic below. And by all means comment on anything you read. We welcome your thoughts!
The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation fosters the legacy of the artist’s life, work, and philosophy that art can change the world. We increase access to Rauschenberg’s art, offer a residency program for artists of all disciplines, and support initiatives at the intersection of arts + issues.
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