Category Archives: Peter Harlem

A TEDx Talk Mother’s Day Gift


I am humbled and excited to share with you that the video for the TEDx Talk that I gave on sea level rise earlier this year has just been released and I cannot think of a better day to share it with everyone than Mother’s Day.

The reason that sharing this with you today is so appropriate is because of the wonderful support that my mother (and father and brother) has given to me is beyond anything that I could have hoped for and is part of the reason that The Sink or Swim Project has touched thousands of people in such a short time.

I sincerely hope that you will share this TEDx Talk with as many people as possible. The topic and the message are very important to South Florida, our country, and our planet. As you will see, the talk focuses on the fact that our planet is warming, seas are rising, that we must and can overcome political obstacles that protect old habits, and that the children of my generation “get it” and will demand solutions, as well as lead the way during our lifetimes to implement them.

Thank you to my mother for all of her love and support and happy Mother’s Day to your moms. The love of a mother is like no other and should be cherished, and that includes cherishing our environment and Mother Earth.

Rest in Peace Peter Harlem, Sea Level Rise Scientist, Geologist, and GIS Pioneer

6 feet

Map by Peter Harlem

I am sad to learn that Peter Harlem, GIS coordinator at Florida International University, died today. Peter was an innovator in many respects including his creation of LiDAR maps of South Florida flooding that are today widely used to illustrate what will happen to our state as seas rise in the decades to come.

Peter was also one of the very first people that I contacted when I began researching climate change and sea level rise. He was gracious beyond belief in sharing his knowledge with me, then just a 15 year old child, and I will never forget the time that he took to explain how he created his maps, as well as our wide ranging discussions on numerous topics ranging from the Everglades, his work in Biscayne Bay, his concerns over Turkey Point, and many others. When I asked if he would share his maps with me, he eagerly stood up from his chair, walked from behind his desk, and insisted that I sit in his place and download anything that was of interest to me.

I am sad to learn of Peter’s passing, but I am truly honored to have known him. As, perhaps, a very small homage to his legacy I am proud to have used several of his maps in my recent TEDx talk, one of which I have attached here today as a memorial to just a small bit of his work.

Rest In Peace Peter and thank you for what you have done for all of us.