Category Archives: South Africa

The United Nations


Solving our planet’s climate crisis requires that societies all over earth must evolve from a fossil fuel energy economy to a sustainable one during my lifetime. And for many of the most fragile places on earth and their inhabitants, those most susceptible to rising seas and other risks, the stakes are the difference between survival and extinction.

Every citizen of our planet now faces a crisis that has no boarders, one where people’s language, religion or the color of their skin simply, and thankfully, do not matter. For this reason my recent opportunity to address the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City was a unique and important chance to draw global attention to the fact that we need all of today’s world leaders to begin embracing change. The type of positive change that our world needs to solve our environmental problems before it’s too late.


At UNESCO’s invitation, children from all over the world representing their World Heritage Marine sites including some of earth’s most iconic, yet endangered environments, such as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands and South Florida’s very own Everglades National Park, gathered to ask UN members to join us in pledging their support. The diversity of the children was profoundly beautiful but even more impressive was the passion that these children have for our planet.

#MyOceanPledge Ceremony in NYC.

To be asked to speak on their behalf, both for the children that joined me on stage at the UN in New York and children all around the world was the greatest honor of my young life. My speech to the General Assembly sought to define why these special places are so important but to also illustrate that they are at dire risk. As I shared with the audience that day;

“in our increasingly virtual world, nothing can compare to the majestic beauty of our natural environment, those special places on our planet that touch our hearts and that inspire our imagination.

Such places have had a profoundly important impact on our society for generations but they are also fragile and face many challenges, in some cases even extinction, from risks including coral bleaching, our planet’s climate change crisis, overfishing, pollution from plastics or run off from pesticides to name just a few.”

#MyOceanPledge Ceremony in NYC. #MyOceanPledge Ceremony in NYC.

And we called upon the world’s leaders to join us in taking the #MyOceanPledge by signing a petition that recognizes the environment’s importance to our collective futures. To read more about the petition and why having the world’s leaders join us is so important to all of our futures please click here for Andres Oppenheimer’s timely editorial in yesterday’s Miami Herald entitled World May Not Melt, Despite Trump’s Insane Decision on Climate Change.

Mr. Oppenheimer’s editorial brilliantly recounts a recent interview that he conducted with none other than the United Nations General Assembly President Peter Thomson including his thoughts on President Trump’s short-sighted decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. President Thompson knows that the world is serious about solving our climate crisis and he especially knows this based on what he saw and heard from the children and me during the U.N. Ocean Conference. As Mr. Oppenheimer wrote and shared: He said he noticed that movement during the U.N. Ocean Conference held June 5-9, shortly after Trump’s decision. At that meeting, he said, there was a “hugely positive wave” of support for action against climate change, which included “a very big input from America’s civil society, states and cities.”

I noticed it too during my time in New York, at the UN and at the other events leading up to Worlds Ocean Day that we attended. It was everywhere and was what Mr. Oppenheimer quoted Mr. Thompson calling a “tidal wave of support” for action against climate change”.“I think what you’re seeing all the way from Europe to China and in the developing world, indeed everywhere I look, is that people are saying, ‘Hey, this only makes us stronger… I’m confident that people will step up on that. And I remind you that the biggest investors in renewable energy are American investors.”

#MyOceanPledge Ceremony in NYC.

And it was not just ‘talks’ and speeches but people taking action. Important people including heads of state, global business people and many others. People like Prince Albert II of Monaco, the first person to sign our pledge scroll and also someone Mr. Oppenheimer mentioned in his editorial when he wrote: Asked for specific examples of what is being done, Thomson cited the U.N. partnerships with celebrities such as billionaire Richard Branson and Prince Albert of Monaco to petition governments to protect 30 percent of their oceans by 2030. There is already an ongoing U.N. plan to have 10 percent of the oceans protected by 2020, and “I think that’s going to be doable,” he said.’

Delaney Reynolds preso

And speaking of Prince Albert II, here is a picture of my brother Owen and me, along with our friend Sarah Ramos, with the Prince of Monaco just after he signed the petition Mr. Oppenheimer wrote about, #MyOceanPledge. As you can see, he sure does not look too stressed about President Trump’s lack of vision or recent decision.During what was an incredible week in New York I had the privilege to get to know children from Papahanamokuakea, Hawaii; Lord Howe Island, Australia; Seychelles; South Africa; Sudan; the Great Barrier Reef, Australia; and the Wadden Sea, Netherlands among other World Heritage Marine sites. And no matter which amazing place these children live in we all shared the same undeniable bond; a deep love of the ocean and our natural environment.

IMG_3637And speaking of amazing places, the Everglades National Park is the only environment of its type on earth. The Everglades is a treasure chest filled with magical, mystical creatures unique to its enchanting and diverse environment, from its mangrove lined coasts and sandy beaches along our ocean’s shore to its majestic pineland forest and slow moving River of Grass. And it’s a big part of why I was invited to address the General Assembly.

While working on my book on sea level rise, Sink or Swim?, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Everglades National Park Superintendent Ramos last year about the fragility and importance of this special place. Superintendent Ramos was generous with his time and shared a passion for the Park that left me feeling like the Park is in very good hands with a very good man.

Unfortunately, the Everglades is also at dire risk from all sorts of threats including encroaching development, agricultural pollution and run-off, rising seas and more. Sadly sea level rise alone threatens a large portion of the Park from possibly becoming extinct within my lifetime. As I said, it’s also one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine sites but its also a World Heritage in Danger site too given the many risks it faces to even have a future.

#MyOceanPledge Ceremony in NYC.

The folks at UNESCO in Paris saw a TEDx Talk I’d given a couple of years ago and, thus, invited me to address the General Assembly and have the honor of representing the Park and our region. And, if that was not enough, I was even able to be joined on stage by my brother, Owen, and our friend, Sarah.IMG_3684I have countless memories to share with you in future blogs about the outstanding children that joined me in New York, the time that we spent with people like Sylvia (‘Her Deepness’) Earle at The Explorers Club (only one of the coolest places you could ever hope to visit) and the truly exceptional people at UNESCO. I promise to share stories and pictures about all of those things and a lot more in time but, before I end this blog, allow me thank a few special people who were the reason I was honored to be asked to address the General Assembly.

#MyOceanPledge Ceremony in NYC.

Thanks to UNESCO, The Explorers Club, the Government of Flanders, Stefan and Irina Hearst, The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Dr. Fanny Douvere, Robbert Casier, Vanessa Lucot, Nolwazi Mjwara, Taylor Butz from the UNESCO World Heritage Center, Alison Barrat and Elizabeth Rauer from the Living Ocean Foundation, and Joel Sheakoski (for your amazing pictures).To each of you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you do literally all over the world every day to protect some of the most important places on earth.

Thanks to Mom and Dad for facilitating the trip for Owen and me, much less introducing me to New York for the first time. I know that the entire experience was a bit overwhelming so thanks for not crying too much while we were on stage!IMG_3649Thanks to my #1, my not so little, little brother Owen. Thanks for standing outside the theaters with me to get autographs in the rain but mostly, thanks for standing on stage with me in front of the world and for always supporting my passions and dreams.IMG_3639And lastly, allow me to give a special shout out and thanks to the incomparable and ever so kind Pedro Ramos and his lovely daughter, Sarah. Pedro, it is my distinct honor to know you and to know that such a perfect steward of the environment is helping protect the Everglades. Its habitats, animals and I could never thank you enough.

OK, its time to get back to work on local solutions. Despite the circus that’s in Washington right now all of us have important work to do in our local communities, the regions and towns we live in, and in our states. If you’ve read this far then I would ask you to start local, stay local and find ways to make a positive change in your community. That’s my plan and I hope it’s yours too.

IMG_3689 #MyOceanPledge Ceremony in NYC. unnamed

Out of Africa


“The views were immensely wide. Everything that you saw made for greatness and freedom, and unequalled nobility.”

Karen Blixen, Out of Africa, 1937

On Thursday my brother Owen and I will leave Miami for a two week trip to South Africa and needless to say we are both very excited. Our trip includes visits to Johannesburg, Mpumalanga, Soweto and Cape Town, a camping excursion and safari in Kruger National Park as well as a visit to Mandela House and the opportunity to learn about apartheid by visiting many of its most historic sites. I can’t wait to see the natural environment there as well as meet the people and experience their diverse and historic culture.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to

Change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

Owen and I are fortunate to attend a school (Palmer Trinity) that is committed to developing what they call global scholars. Last year, for example, Owen traveled to China as part of his curriculum and over the years there I’ve been able to visit the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Hawaii.

I’ve scaled mountains, hiked to the top of volcanoes and swam with white tip sharks, sea turtles and giant manta rays as part of the best high school experience I could ever imagine. This week I am especially excited to travel with my brother on such a trip for the first time (and in my case the last one while still in high school since graduation day is nearly here!).

I’d like to thank Palmer for making these amazing opportunities available to its students and want to especially thank Mr. Chapman, our Head of Upper School, Mrs. Sidhu and Dr. Lane who will be traveling with us on this incredible trip. Time permitting I will post during our travels and will most certainly share stories about our adventures when I return.

“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. “

Nelson Mandela



Palmetto Bay Declares February 6th, Delaney Reynolds &

The Sink or Swim Project Day

IMG_7463 IMG_7451 IMG_7467

I am proud to share that my work with The Sink or Swim Project was honored last week by the Village of Palmetto Bay with a lovely Proclamation honoring my work.

Upon receiving the Proclamation from the Mayor and Village Council I took the opportunity to ask them to consider working with me to draft a new law to require that any new construction within the Village and all material renovations require that the maximum amount of solar power be installed so that we can make progress into turning The Sunshine State into THE Solar State. I hope that the Village of Palmetto Bay will join me in writing such a law and in doing so help Florida take a giant step forward towards a sustainable future.

Thanks ever so much to the entire Council for this honor and especially to the Mayor for his kind words as well as to Councilwoman Cunningham for taking such an interest in my work and The Sink or Swim Project.


Miami Dade College Honors College / Earth Ethics Institute: March 2, 2017

I am excited to share that on March 2nd I will be presenting a brand new Sink or Swim lecture at the Miami Dade College Honors College on the North Campus in Room 1373 from 3:30 PM until 5:00 PM.

Since its inception, the Earth Ethics Institute has introduced the Miami Dade College community to the new way of thinking called “Earth Literacy” which constitutes a greater understanding of the evolution of our Universe and how everything in it is connected.

Founded in 1960, Miami Dade College has the largest undergraduate enrollment of any college or university in America.

Thanks to Program Professional Stephen Nesvacil, Miami Dade College and the Earth Ethics Institute for the invitation. I look forward to seeing everyone on the 2nd and collaborating on ideas for a sustainable future.


MAST Academy Solar Update: Green Leadership Grant


Exciting News! As an update to my recent blog ( following my visit to MAST Academy on Key Biscayne I am pleased to share with you that the school is installing a ‘solar hub’ and has won a grant from the Dream in Green organization to help fund its costs. The solar hub is planned for the school’s dining room and will allow students to charge their electronic devices from the sun’s power through a solar system. Congrats to MAST’s Principal Ms. Otero and the entire student body for winning this grant and beginning your solar powered journey! Way to go Makos!

I am extra proud of this news not only given my recent lecture for MAST’s 1,500 students but because I am proudly a Dream in Green Youth Ambassador and in that capacity was happy to advocate for this project.  The Dream in Green Leadership Grant program makes available monthly grants for elementary, middle and high schools that participate in the Dream in Green Academy and does so to support green teams in bringing their project ideas from conception to creation.

I look forward to continuing to help MAST in any way possible in hopes that the solar hub is just the start of a wider scale solar and sustainable program that can be used to educate it students, other schools and the Key Biscayne Community about the power of the sun. Working together we can surely turn The Sunshine State into THE Solar State!