The Sacred Texts

3ft4ndI am a HUGE Star Wars fan and for those of you who also love the iconic George Lucas franchise, you will remember the scene from The Last Jedi in which Luke Skywalker attempts to burn the sacred Jedi texts (the books Luke curated that contain the wisdom and knowledge of the Jedi way).

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Listening to today’s excellent interview by Axios reporter Jonathan Swan with President Trump made me think of “the sacred texts”. Mr. Swan asked our President “When can you commit, by what date, that every American will have access to the same-day testing that you get here in the White House?”, and although the President never provided an answer to the question, here is how the exchange proceeded:

President Trump: “…there are those that say you can test too much, you do know that?”

Mr. Swan: “Who says that?”

President Trump: “Read the manuals, read the books.”

Mr. Swan: “What manuals?”

President Trump: “Read the books.”

Mr. Swan: “What books?”

President Trump: “Well, let me explain…”

Of course, the President never does explain what books or manuals that he’s referring to or, for that matter, what date we will have testing. No, none of those things exist anymore than do the sacred Jedi texts.

But, the point of all of this is not related to the President, the interview, or even Star Wars, but that the facts matter. That science matters. That the sooner we embrace science and move away from politics and being lied to, the sooner we can solve this problem and others like it, including our climate crisis.

If the facts matter to you like they do to me, and if there is any hope that we will be able to save places like South Florida from our climate crisis, please vote.

Summer “Vacation”

Just after sunrise today, the water here in the Florida Keys is flat calm, glass-like, and the world is still and silent except for the occasional Blue Heron flying by or tarpon rolling in the shallow water. It’s a tranquil scene for sure, but it’s also the start of a busy day here at The Sink or Swim Project in what has been a busy week working on our climate crisis including lecturing, advancing our Florida legal case’s appeal and an incredible prospective plan for Florida and America’s future energy policy that I am excited to share with you very soon. Our climate crisis and the assault we are witnessing on science does not take a summer vacation and thus I’d like to share a couple of upcoming events with you, one that takes place today and one next week, that I’d love you to consider joining me for.

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Today I am very excited to work with my friend Vic Barrett from the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) who will be hosting a Climate Conversations Happy Hour on ACE’s Instagram account (@acespace). You can join, chat with, and ask us questions at 3pm EST today by watching live here: www.instagram.com/acespace.

Thanks to Vic for both being such a good friend and for having me participate and thanks to Jennifer for your support of our concerns over the climate crisis.

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On Monday, July 13th, I am ever so excited to join The Global Summit, as part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. I will be a panelist along with George Cummings, Ai Futaki, Ombretta Agro’ Andruff, and Jose Luis Sanchez where we will be discussing our work in relation to climate change and our ocean as part of the One Planet – One Team – One Mission panel. I do hope that you can join; register by visiting www.theglobalsummit.org/voices365.

I hope to see everyone at these events and that you’re all having a great and safe summer vacation.

The Shameful Price of Saving Paradise

Kew West Big Pine Key Marathon

As America ended last week by considering how to celebrate the 4th of July amidst the continued COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its initial plan to address one aspect of another crisis: rising sea levels from climate change that threatens Monroe County, home of what’s been called the American Caribbean, our precious and fragile Florida Keys. The Keys are at the very real risk of disappearing over the next few decades due to sea level rise principally caused by the world’s use of fossil fuels. The damage has already begun and local leaders are desperately looking for options to save the region.

You can read more about the it here but the Army Corp’s initial $5.5 billion plan includes:

  1. Raising and strengthening six areas of highway U.S. 1, the only road from the mainland to Key West.
  2. Raising the elevation of 7,300 existing homes.
  3. Flood-proofing 3,800 buildings.
  4. Using eminent domain laws to have the government take (purchase) and then destroy 300 homes.
  5. Retreating from certain areas where maintaining roads and other infrastructure is deemed too costly and thus allowing climate change induced sea rise to claim those properties.

The plan is both costly (initial estimates being $ 5.5 billion) and controversial. Local leaders have already expressed an unwillingness to invoke eminent domain laws to take people’s homes (the government would buy them for fair market value) and has asked for a waiver from this requirement to make it voluntary. Government officials and property owners alike are faced with what will surely be gut wrenching decisions over renovating or selling and destroying one’s home or business and being forced to abandon past memories, much less future dreams in the process. It’s all just tragic and it’s happening because of our society’s use of fossil fuels over the past 120 or so years.

And the worst part of all of this is that the insane costs like these initial estimates for Monroe County, costs that will borne all over our society, much less people’s pain, can largely be avoided if we become serious about quickly transitioning away from fossil fuel use by embracing sustainable energy everywhere. Not 50 or 100 years from now but today. This year. This decade. Now!

If we can, as a nation, decide to place men on the moon as happened in less than a decade in the 1960’s, then we can surely take the world by the hand by transitioning to sustainable energy today just like we did into outer space. If we truly want to avoid those costs and that pain, it is absolutely possible to avoid the worst of the sea level rise if only we were to be serious about solving this crisis. If only.

Those that fight that transition, the businesses that cause or protect fossil fuel consumption, or capitulate until it’s too late to save places we love and need will have that “blood” on their hands for not having had the foresight to foster and demand the necessary changes today. No, not mitigation measures such as raising roads and buildings, or destroying property the sea renders useless, but actually eliminating the core issue that’s causing the problem: fossil fuel use.

Allowing those that produce fossil fuel products (cars and gasoline) or use them as utilities (gas and coal) or protect them (fossil fuel oriented business leaders, lobbyists and politicians) to drag their feet and fight the required transition will only escalate the cost our society will bear and the pain and suffering people will be subjected to and that’s a solid shame.

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