Want to quickly learn about climate change politics? All you needed to do was watch last week’s Presidential debates from Miami and consider a few numbers:
That’s the number of Presidential debates held in Miami this week. One for the Democrats at Miami Dade College and one for the Republicans at the University of Miami.
The total number of hours the candidates debated here in Miami, two hours at each debate for each party.
The number of candidates still running for President and participating in the debates. Within this number, here’s another; Four, that’s the number of candidates that actually addressed climate change and sea level rise (meaning two, Trump and Cruz were never asked about, nor mentioned the topic).
The total number of questions the media had for the candidates between the two nights on climate change and sea level rise. One each night.
The approximate time at which the moderators brought up climate change and sea rise and within that number, here’s another; 1½ hours, that’s how far into a two hour debate it took before the candidates were asked about this topic each night.
Nine and half minutes.
That is the total amount of time that the candidates and mass media devoted to this critical topic during both debates while here in Miami. Nine and a half minutes on an issue that will define my generation’s time on the planet.
At 10:27 PM the Democrats were asked about climate change and discussed it until 10:32, for five minutes. Senator Rubio was asked about the topic in the Republican debate around 10:30 PM and he and Govenor Kasich spent four and a half minutes sharing their views.
Since the debates, some have expressed being pleased that the moderators even asked about the topic and that some of the candidates talked about it. I don’t see it that way, I feel as if the moderators, Univision and CNN, let our community and country down by not asking more, by not pressing each candidate into sharing their views and discussing the topics in more depth.
The topic also deserved far more time, especially given where the debates were located. We know, and knew, that both Democrats support change, Sanders being very aggressive about what must happen; Clinton seeming more moderate in her views.
I learned that Kasich is open minded and wants, he said, to embrace alternatives including solar power. Rubio was, once again, a terrible disapointment. A total Fail as my friends and I would say. I could write an entire blog about how disapointed I was over his scripted answers and lack of leadership and, although I can’t yet vote, I can say that he will never, ever, receive a vote from me in the future and that the sooner we replace the man as our Senator with someone of substance, the better.
Whoever each party nominates, the candidates and media will be back in Florida before the election in November. And when that happens we must demand that the media and each candidate deeply discuss their views on global warming, climate change and sea level rise.
If we have any doubt that rising seas are a problem in our community, click here to see an article from today’s Miami Herald about the emergency measures that the City of Miami Beach is making because of this growing problem. And if you have any doubts that this is a global problem, click here to read an article about how Alaskan kayak tour outfitters are worried that the glaciers that they guide visitors to see will be gone within just a couple of years.
Now, allow me to end with a few more numbers…
The hottest year on record in 136 years of data.
The year in which it is predicted that seas may have risen by as much as 2 to 3 feet.
The year in which it is predicted that seas could rise anywhere between 6 and 10 feet, if not higher.
It’s time to get started solving the problem and the next American President needs to help us (please) lead the way. Spending more than a few minutes on the topic in coming debates and months would be a good way to start. We and our planet deserve more than the 9½ minutes they collectively spent on it this week. Our country deserves nothing less and our planet, as well as my generation, demand it.