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Sea Level Rise Expert John Englander, Author of High Tide on Main Street presentation to EARTHCARE
By Gail Woon, Founder of EARTHCARE
Aug 11, 2019 - 8:00:14 AM

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John Englander tells EARTHCARE Eco Kid,Miquel Sweeting about all of the future careers that will be available due to Sea Level Rise — with Safety First Freeport - CPR.

Freeport, Grand Bahama - On July 7th 2019, EARTHCARE was proud to present the world renowned oceanographer and Sea Level Rise Expert, John Englander to a packed audience at the Rand Nature Center.  Mr. Englander advises Governments and the Military on the pressing issue of Sea Level Rise.  John Englander is an oceanographer and author of “High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis.” He is President of the International Sea Level Institute, a nonprofit think tank and policy center.

Quotes from his presentation are:-

“Be adaptive.  That is why I keep this balanced response.  Let’s slow the warming and be prepared for more extreme storms and deluge rain and all that.  Let’s also begin adapting to higher sea levels some of which is unstoppable.

Riveting Speaker, John Englander, enlightens the audience about Sea Level Rise in the coming decades

98% of the ice on earth is located on Antarctica and Greenland.  There is 212 feet of sea level locked up in the ice.  If we let all the ice on the planet melt sea level will be 212 feet higher.  Scientists estimate that this could take anywhere from 500 to 5,000 years.  We are running the experiment now to see how long it takes.  We need to slow it by going to renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gases.  That is the way to slow it.

We also need to be realistic as I am sure you have already gathered.  We can’t stop it immediately, even if we all went fossil fuel free and back to nature.  So, we also have to be adaptive.  It’s happened before.  The good news is we have some time.  We have 50 or 100 years to get our act together and to think of the coastline differently.  Let’s observe what is real, let’s try and understand it and then figure out what we can do about this problem.

John Englander of the Sea Level Rise Institute points out scientific data on ancient Arctic Ice Core Samples

We are already seeing evidence of exponential growth of Sea Level Rise.  By mid-century it could be inches per year instead of millimeters per year.  We can begin changing building codes.  On Grand Bahama, some people are building higher because of all the storm damage you had here going back to Hurricane Matthew and other storms.  I know it was devastating for the island.  People are building houses that have more elevation to be safer during storms.  That’s a great start.  We need to build upon that.  We need to raise all roads, houses and the Port and Utilities so that over the decades they can cope with higher water.

This is not just a Grand Bahama problem.  This is huge in cities like Miami, Jakarta, Calcutta, Dubai and Shanghai that have the same problem you do.  You have lower density here.  You have porous limestone like Miami does.  Each place is a little differenct.  You have to think about what the right design adaptations are.  I think people can be living here in a hundred years from now but they are going to get lots more flooding unless we start designing differently.  Building codes all over the world were not anticipating Sea Level Rise to be this much. 

Author of High Tide on Main Street, John Englander holds up a copy of his often cited book on Sea level Rise

Sea Level does change a lot.  We need to start designing for that.  1. Slow the warming. 2. Prepare for more storms. 3. Adapt to Sea Level Rise.  Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) traps heat.  We have time to act.  We just can’t keep ignoring the problem.  We’ve got to slow it.  We’ve got to be prepared for worse weather events.  We’ve got to begin adapting to higher sea level.  The good news is there really are decades to make that adaptation.  It’s still scary.  How do we turn environmental concern into positive action?  Scientists are drilling ice cores in Greenland to give us data.  Now we have a scientific record of CO₂ and temperature that goes back 800,000 years.  Sea Level Rise is now unstoppable because we can’t get the CO₂ level down quickly enough.

We can slow it and we should try to slow it down as much as possible.  It’s critical to start planning for the extreme scenarios.  Hamburg, Germany is preparing for future Sea Level Rise, almost every public road and bridge and all buildings will be elevated to the minimum height of 7.5 m above sea level.  Similarly, the Netherlands has been constructing flood barriers for centuries.

John Englander, Sea Level Rise Experts speaks to EARTHCARE Grand Bahama audience

Looking for the “silver lining to the cloud”, there is a way to see some positives, perhaps looking for the glass “half full” rather than half empty. with Sea Level Rise. It is going to be slow, fractions of inches per year.  It will get worse.  It will accelerate and if we don’t get educated and educate others about this, it’s going to be a disaster.  We have the opportunity to adapt.  Adapting is not optional.  It affects every coastal community in the world.  It could be the greatest economic engine of the century.  If you think about it once people understand that sea level’s going to be 4 feet higher we are going to spend trillions of dollars adapting -   new designs, new buildings, new infrastructure.  As bad as it is, Nature does terrible things like tsunamis, and hurricanes and fires and all those things that we cannot really prepare for and adapt.  As humans we can always adapt.

Antarctica is changing quickly.  Great ice sheets 2 miles tall in Antarctica and Greenland don’t melt smoothly.  They will melt a little then have a collapse almost like an earthquake.  What’s happening in Antarctica and Greenland tells us to plan for the worst.  Going to Renewable Energy will not directly stop Sea Level Rise here.  The global effect of global carbon dioxide levels does not have immediate local impact.  Reducing carbon emissions locally will not affect melting in Greenland and Antarctica in the next few decades.  Bottom line, if the world went to zero emissions today if we burned no more fossil fuels, we are still going to get some Sea Level Rise because 93% of the excess heat goes into the ocean.  That’s why the oceans are warmer.  Many of you have observed that.  So, we have to do 3 things. 

1. We have to slow the warming and that means getting off fossil fuels, a global effort. 

2. We have to be prepared for more extreme weather events, that’s high heat days, that’s storms, that’s heavy rainfall, droughts. 

3. We need to begin adapting for the ice sheets melting somewhat.  Even if just 3% of the ice sheets melt, we are going to have 6 feet of Sea Level Rise.  I think that’s very likely this century.

Gail Woon, EARTHCARE Founder presents our Speaker, John Englander with and EARTHCARE shirt in appreciation

Your “obligation” for coming here today is that you need to teach 3 people.  It can be as simple as saying now I understand that icebergs don’t cause Sea level Rise.  It could be that reducing Green House Gases is great as a global effort but it’s not going to change Sea level locally.  We do need to make sure that people understand that the amount of ice on Greenland and Antarctica will determine the coastline in Grand Bahama, Florida, Taiwan, India and every place else in the world.  It’s melting.  Greenland is the size of the eastern U.S. 1500 miles north to south and 1000 east west.  That’s the size of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River.  It’s covered by 2 miles of ice still, and it’s melting.

The world’s going to change.  Of course, we knew that.  This brings it home.  It’s where we live.  It’s not just Grand Bahama, it’s all over the world.  This becomes a teaching opportunity.  I want to tell you facts in a way that hopefully your community, and for your house and your investments and your kids, you will think differently.

John Englander of the Sea Level Rise Institute implores audience members to tell 3 people to educate them on Sea Level Rise

There’s lots of opportunity for the younger generation and being concerned about the earth and caring for it is a great start.  The world’s going to change and you all are going to be the one’s doing that, but get the message out to others and we’ve got to start with facts.  Reducing carbon dioxide will not stop Sea level Rise quickly.  We’ve got to do both.  I think The Bahamas should really get to Renewable Energy, my strongest encouragement because that will keep the global contribution down.  But then we’ve also got to design differently without delay.  Building codes should change, engineering, etc.”

Please sign up for John Englander’s free blog and Weekly news digest: Sea Level Rise  Now http://www.sealevelrisenow.com

He is on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/johnenglander/ and Twitter:  Twitter:  @johnenglander


World Renowned Author of High Tide on Main Street, John Englander addresses packed audience in Freeport

EARTHCARE would like to thank profusely John Englander, Sea Level Rise Institute, Ellsworth Weir and Lisa Wildgoose, Bahamas National Trust, EARTHCARE Volunteers:  Jahrin Ellis, Candice Woon and Tyrie Moss, Videographer/Live Streamer.

The EARTHCARE website is:  https://www.earthcare.online/ 

Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/EARTHCARE/.  You can contact us via Twitter @GailLWoon.  The email contact for EARTHCARE is:  earthcare.bahamas@yahoo.com.

Rapt audience members listen to John Englander's presentation on Sea Level Rise


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