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.

Được ăn cả, ngã về không

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In Vietnamese, Được ăn cả, ngã về không is a proverb meaning ‘sink or swim’ and today, Earth Day 2016, I thought that was a perfect title for this blog. Why use a Vietnamese phrase for a blog title you ask? Well, to answer that question I must first introduce you to my new Vietnamese friends.

Lucie and Kamille were referred to me recently by another friend of mine, Dr. Harold Wanless, Chairman of the University of Miami’s Geology Department and someone who has been bravely sharing his concern over rising sea levels and climate change for many, many decades. Earlier this year Lucie and Kamille contacted Dr. Wanless for his perspective on sea level rise and he, in turn, also referred them to me. I was happy to share all of my work from The Sink or Swim Project with both ladies including access to my website, the power point presentations that I use in my lectures and even sat for an interview with via Skype with they there in Vietnam and me here in Miami.

The result, a remarkable video which I am pleased to share with you today as a gift in celebration of Earth Day, is simply stunning. What is perhaps even more stunning is something that I’ve not yet shared with you and that is that Lucie and Kamille are  still students…in 8th grade.

Over the last two years I’ve given lectures to nearly 10,000 people of all ages and one of the most profound points that I try to make to adults is that ‘Kids Get It’. Lucie and Kamille prove this in very impressive ways with the quality of their video (that’s them you will hear narrating it) and their passion. Today’s youth knows that our (my) generation must solve the problems of global warming and sea rise. Today’s children are not tied to special interests but to a desire to protect our planet. Even the youngest children I speak with know that the smoke pouring out of a factory or cars and trucks is unhealthy and must stop before it’s too late. How could they not?

Lucie and Kamille, 8th graders at  Saigon South International School, vividly illustrate that children all over the world understand the dire importance of this issue and that we do not have an Earth Day, or a week or a year, to waste.

So it is with much continued thanks to Dr. Wanless for his long time leadership in our community and world (as well as his ever so kind support and mentorship to me personally) as well as the extraordinary work of Lucie and Kamille that I am pleased with wish you a Happy Earth Day 2016 and share with you the gift from these talented young filmmakers and environmental heroes.

You can watch Lucie and Kamille’s video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1CVI4RKvbE


FAU CES Sea Level Rise Summit


Allow me to also take this opportunity to share with you the news that The Sink or Swim Project will be participating in the upcoming Sea Level Rise Summit that is being conducted by Florida Atlantic University’s Florida Center for Environmental Studies and that I will be speaking at the conference on May 4th.

While Florida and Alaska are on the opposite ends of the spectrum, they share mutual concerns of the imminent challenges presented by environmental changes. The rapid melting of the Arctic ice is threatening coastal locations globally, and impacts include increased flooding from sea-level rise in Florida to infrastructure instability from permafrost melting in Alaska.

Sustainability professionals from the private sector – including insurance companies, realtors, architects and developers – will join leading scientists, decision-makers and members of the public sector for the third Sea-level Rise Summit from Tuesday, May 3 through Thursday, May 5 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, 2301 SE 17th St., in Fort Lauderdale.

Hosted by Florida Atlantic University’s Florida Center for Environmental Studies, the aim of the summit is to compare and contrast the unfolding impacts and response in these different regions to identify and highlight opportunities for building coastal resilience both locally and globally. More information, including a full agenda, can be found here: http://www.ces.fau.edu/arctic-florida/

A Special Report from the University of Miami


Dr. Ben Kirtman, Professor and Director of the Cooperative Institute of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, is one of the world’s leading climate scientists, a co-author of the NOAA Climate Prediction Task Force and the IPPC’s most recent report, as well as someone who has been very kind to help educate me about climate change and sea rise over the last few years. He and many other exceptional educators all over the University such as Dr. Hal Wanless, Professor and Chair of the School’s Department of Geological Sciences, are at the absolute cutting edge of the study of sea level rise science, the social and health impacts that climate change will increasingly have on our world, alternative energy solutions that we must commit to and the policy making issues that will help us solve this growing crisis.

The University of Miami is, in my view, uniquely positioned to both study and help solve this growing crisis and, although I admit being biased (I am a graduate of the school’s Summer Scholars Program in Tropical Marine Biology and plan to study Ecosystem Science & Policy there this coming summer as well as follow my mom, dad and grandfather, all of whom are Miami grads, by applying late this year for undergrad admission), I am deeply proud and excited that the new University President, Julio Frenk, has made climate change a major focus of his administration, of part of what he calls The Relevant University. In his recent Inauguration speech Dr. Frenk made his commitment to helping the world on its climate concerns clear when he said;

    For instance, rising sea levels—a major threat to Miami as well as the rest of the world—was discussed repeatedly during my listening exercise. Climate change is an arena where virtually every academic discipline has something to contribute, and where the institution is already showing the way forward. In the coming months, we will announce a new University-wide effort to expand our considerable expertise in sea level rise. This is exactly the kind of transformative, global contribution that Miami can and should be making to the search for sustainable solutions.

So with these thoughts in mind I am pleased to share the news of the University’s campus wide focus on climate change and to share with you their brand new overview that shows the depth of their commitment and ability to help our community and world. As we say around these parts, it really is “All About The U’!

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