Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Uniquely American Approach to Discussing Sea Level Rise

Americans know the sea is rising. A good many wealthy Americans own rather expensive waterfront abodes. They've come to "get" the reality of  sea level rise, storm surges and saltwater inundation. They're willing to talk about it. They're willing to plan for it, even to pay for protective measures. But there's one condition. There must be no talk about climate change, especially man made global warming. That sort of talk is a deal-breaker.  From Yale Climate Connections:

To film director Roger Sorkin, talking about sea-level rise – and more importantly, how to adapt to it and build more resilient, forward-thinking communities – without talking about climate change is a well-considered strategy.

For the record, Sorkin is no climate change contrarian. He acknowledges that carbon emissions are responsible for sea-level rise. And that we humans are responsible. But he also believes in meeting folks where they are. That’s why, he explains, his audiences do not hear the words “climate change,” “global warming,” or “carbon” in “Tidewater,” his documentary film about sea-level rise in Hampton Roads.

“Stories matter to us,” Sorkin says. “And the building blocks are the words that you use to tell stories. Certain words press peoples’ buttons and produce visceral reactions.”

When stories about sea-level rise are framed around a narrative “that leads with ‘look at what humans have done this to the planet,’ for a lot of people, that puts their guard up. So, we’re just being conscious of the way the message is crafted,” he explains.

Sorkin's is not an isolated experience. Legislators in Florida, for example, have stated they're willing to engage on sea level rise and responses, provided there's no attempt to link that and anthropogenic global warming.


Toby said...

So, is Jesus making the water rise?

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, Toby, I believe that to be true. The arrogance of thinking mortal man could do such a thing.

Anonymous said...

Anyong....you both are hilarious as in funny. But what is one to do...only laugh.