Category Archives: CAVU

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Seas Are Rising, and So Are You

 

The last two weeks have been a blur for The Sink or Swim Project but the next two weeks are even more exciting and I have a lot of news to share with you about some amazing events.

Breakthrough Miami

Before I share news about February, I must share the incredible experience that I enjoyed on Saturday, January the 30th as I lectured to a Breakthrough Miami class of Middle and High School students at Palmer Trinity.

The 80 children and their questions were absolutely incredible. In fact, following my presentation they had almost an hour worth of engaging questions about what will happen, and when, as well as many on possible solutions and how they can spread the word. As I often say, today’s children ‘Get It’ and the students at Breakthrough Miami are a perfect example of this and give me great hope that we absolutely can solve our planet’s global warming and sea level rise problems.

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I must admit that this presentation was unlike any I had ever done before because it was being filmed by a crew from National Geographic’s Years of Living Dangerously (www.yearsoflivingdangerously.com) for inclusion in season two of the Emmy award winning series that will air later this year. A crew flew in from New York, Germany and elsewhere to film The Sink or Swim Project presentation for their upcoming segment on Miami that will have actor/musician Jack Black as its correspondent. The students not only learned about sea level rise that morning but had the opportunity to watch the crew work and even ask all sorts of questions about their process, profession and lives. It was truly a memorable experience and I want to thank National Geographic, the Years Project, Jon, Tomek, and Matt, as well as Gus and Brian from Palmer for their tremendous support.DSC_0333

Coming Attractions of The Sink or Swim Project

Now, onto what will be an incredible month (February) for The Sink or Swim Project’s educational work. Here are the coming attractions:

1. February 15th: Ahead of the Tide

I am so very excited to share with you the launch of a monumental 10 part series on sea level rise entitled Ahead of the Tide that drops its first episode on February 15th. This landmark movement highlights the effects of sea level rise and climate change through the stories and voices of local people here in Florida.

Each video (5 to 7 minutes) will showcase different issues related to sea level rise from scientists, engineers, politicians, educators, authors, activists and others. David Smith of CAVU (www.cavu.org) has made many breathtaking environmental films and from what I’ve seen, thus far, the Ahead of the Tide series will be both stunningly beautiful, as well as deeply thought provoking.

Please check out the trailer on our website, www.miamisearise.com, or at www.aheadofthetide.org where you can sign up to join the movment and make a difference today!

2. February 26th: TEDx Youth@Miami

I love watching TED Talks and I am so very honored to share that I will be presenting my own TEDx talk at the Adrienne Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall here in Miami on February 26th! My talk will be about my work on sea level rise and how ‘kids get it’ and how young people, no matter how young, can have an impact in solving the problem. To learn more and even buy tickets, click here!

TEDxYouth-slide3. February 20th & 27th:

On two consecutive Saturdays, the 20th and 27th, The University of Miami will host the Cooper Fellow Training Series two day lecture entitled Empowering Capable Climate Communicators 2016. The training will take place at the University of Miami’s Cox Science Center on the Coral Gables campus from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm both days. It is sponsored by The CLEO Institute, the University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Geological Sciences.

Both days will be filled with presentations, discussions and training by some of the world’s leading climate scientists and communicators who will talk about causes, severity and impacts if humane-induced climate change, as well as what must be done to adapt, stop and reverse trends.

I am deeply proud to say that on the 27th I will be presenting a lecture entitled I Have Found My Voice. You Must Too. I plan to discuss the journey that I have been on over the last two years with The Sink or Swim Project’s educational efforts and will illustrate how anyone, no matter their age, can make a difference. Thanks to Dr. Harold Wanless, Chair of The University of Miami Department of Geological Sciences for inviting me to participate.

To learn more about Empowering Capable Climate Communicators 2016 training please click on the following flyer:  

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In lieu of flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day I am off to Hawaii for a week long Marine Biology Expedition. I can’t wait to see what treasures I discover during my first visit to the Pacific Ocean. I plan to swim with giant manta rays and dolphins, search for whales, hike volcanos and explore black sand beaches and rain forests.

I will do my best to post a picture or two on The Sink or Swim Project’s social media when possible and when I return will share some more BIG news with you about how children are making a huge difference in the world and why I know that my generation can and will solve the challenges our planet faces from warming and sea rise. Until then, please consider telling your friends about The Sink or Swim Project and following us on social media.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

Delaney ReynoldsMuch to be grateful about of late between so many raindrops…

On Thursday September 17th I had the honor to speak before the Miami Dade County Commission, including Miami Dade Mayor Gimenez, during the second reading of its nearly $7 Billion fiscal budget. It was a very important night for sea level rise, perhaps a turning point where local political leaders finally saw how important this topic is to citizens from all corners of the County; men, women, children and every color and language that makes South Florida so special.

As I wrote in my last post, the Mayor’s initial budget barely mentioned sea rise, burying it near the end of a nearly 1,000 page, three volume budget and allocating nothing towards solving the problem. The Mayor took a lot of grief for overlooking sea level rise (including in my last blog) and a few days after the first hearing he announced that he will create a new sustainability position within the County and allocate…$75,000.00. While the step was appreciated the amount was seen as insulting and insincere.

At the start of the recent second hearing that I attended the Mayor again attempted to appease vocal voters by touting that he had just returned from a Climate Conference in California and then announced that he was proposing spending $300,000.00 on sea level rise in the coming year, up from the initial zero allocation and more recent $75,000.00.

And that’s where my comments and those of many others come in…here’s part of what I said to the Mayor and Commission on what was a dark and dreary rainy night;

As I drove over here it was raining, and as it rained, I imagined that there were millions of raindrops falling from the sky, in fact there probably were, and as I thought about coming here, those raindrops were a metaphor for your 6.8 billion dollar budget and I thought to myself that just one of those drops is equal to the small amount of money which you’re allocating in the budget towards mitigating sea level rise. 

 

First there was little to nothing, then seventy five thousand dollars and I think I heard today about three hundred thousand dollars were allocated. I’d like to suggest that that’s not enough. That our community and the environment deserve more and in fact, I respectfully ask that you increase this line item to one million dollars and certainly nothing less than five hundred thousand dollars.

Although Mayor Gimenez chose to chat amongst his fellow politicians while most people spoke about sea level concerns and although most of the Commissioners laughed when I suggested increasing the budget to one million dollars, I learned that speaking up and out matters. I could tell from the audience reaction, as well as what others who approached me after my speech said; a Miami Herald reporter, a film crew from National Geographic, and several County Commissioners’ representatives who have asked to arrange meetings with me and the Commissioners they work for so as to learn about The Sink or Swim Project.

Yes, I’m grateful that Mayor Gimenez and the Commission allocated $300,000 towards sea level rise concerns within the budget but that’s not nearly enough. The money this year is a tiny step, but I will tell you what was big on that rainy night in downtown Miami; the people. Young, old, black, white and brown, those living in the inner city, on the Bay to the East, North, South, and West.

I am not sure that the Miami of my childhood will remain…

What about us? What about the kids that are forced to inherit this fate?  

Cassie Plunket, Palmer Trinity High School Senior Comments

to the Miami Dade Commission at 09/17’s Budget Hearing

A diverse section of Miami Dade County spoke out and demanded that our political leaders do more, take us and sea rise seriously and what I watched gave me hope. Hope that people all over our community are starting to understand how important this topic is to our future. Hope that future budgets will have far larger amounts allocated to real solutions, not to appease those who are vocal but to actually begin to the mitigation that South Florida will desperately soon need. I don’t know if we can get the Commission to increase this year’s sea level sustainability budget to $1,000,000, but I do know this. Next year I will be back and asking for one billion dollars.

Speaking of being grateful, let me also share with you the amazing work of The Sea Turtle Conservancy (www.conserveturtles.org), as well as the fine films made by David Smith of CAVU (www.cavusite.org) including their collaboration a few years ago entitled Higher Ground. Gary and David are collaborating again and on Tuesday the 15th visited my High School to film and interview me about The Sink or Swim Project in our school’s Coral Lab for their forthcoming sequel on sea level rise. I do not know if I will end up in the final film, but can tell you that it was an amazing experience and one that I was humbled to participate in, much less one that could appear on Public Television and help educate gosh knows how many people learn of the serious risks we face from sea rise.

Like I said, it was an amazing week. In addition to the filming on Tuesday and the Commission meeting on Thursday I want to share another encouraging event, one that took place on Wednesday night the 16th, when I attended The CLEO Institute’s Town Hall: Miami Talks Climate at Miami Dade College’s Kendall campus.

Miami Talks Climate brought together some of our region’s most expert thought leaders from the private sector, law, government, science, and academics as they discussed the challenges related to sea level rise in our future. The Dean of the University of Miami’s School of Geology, Dr. Wanless, explained that recent research shows “seas are rising by one inch per year.” Leading environmental lawyer and CLEO Institute Board Member, Mitchell Chester, expressed frustration over the State of Florida’s leadership’s denial of global warming by saying, “Tallahassee is in a coma over sea rise and global warming.

The thoughtful comments of the speakers were wonderful but what was really encouraging was the fact that, despite it taking place after work on another heavily rainy night, was the nearly full room of people filled with questions and passions.  Like the rest of the week, people’s voices are making a difference and, while we are only beginning to address the problem, I sense that people all over our community want sea level rise solutions and for that I am truly grateful.

This coming week I will be attending The Climate Reality Leadership Corp’s training event that will take place here in Miami for the first time. The three day program begins with Climate Reality Founder, and former United States Vice President, Al Gore, speaking to our group. I want to thank his organization for allowing me, likely the rare, perhaps only, child to participate and also want to thank my school, Palmer Trinity, incredible teachers and family for allowing me to attend during a school week.

As I end this post from No Name Key here in the Florida Keys on a warm day that is bright and beautiful, yet seems to have a small bit of Fall in the breeze, thanks for reading, learning and getting involved. As I said, so much to be grateful for…

Source: Board of County Commissioners – Second Budget Hearing – Sep 17th, 2015