Reporter Jim DeFede and I were office buddies at Miami New Times back in the mid-90s. He sat in his tiny cubicle, digging up dirt on crooked politicians and fending off threats from the angry subjects of his no-holds-barred exposés.
I sat a few seats behind DeFede at the copy editing desk, tidying up commas and occasionally contributing a feature story on something offbeat, like full-moon drumming circles on South Beach.
We were two very different writers; he was a hard facts, investigative guy who'd risk anything to expose corruption in high places. I was a cultural critic and short story writer without a muckraking bone in my body.
Besides being a fierce reporter, DeFede is blunt, funny and opinionated -- qualities that enabled him several years ago to reinvent himself as a South Florida television TV news reporter and a talk-radio host. 1000mg Retin A Treatment, I hadn't seen him for years when we bumped into each other in December at a Christmas party for the Miami Herald.
He was still the same old DeFede: big, sarcastic and sharp as a whip. I figured he'd be interested in my recent focus as a writer -- investigating melting glaciers and climate change in the Andes, Retin A Treatment. Granted, my getting the scoop on ukukus as Qoyllur Rit'i isn't as juicy as his catching Miami-Dade politicos red-handed.
Still, I expected my friend to be concerned about climate change. After all, he lives in South Florida where rising temperatures in the Atlantic are predicted to create larger and longer-lasting storms throughout this century. And then there's the nasty business of Florida's already-eroding shoreline, which will be in bigger trouble as Arctic ice melts and feeds more water into the oceans, Retin A Treatment us. Talk about a major story. Retin A Treatment, But the topic made his eyes glaze over.
"Oh, that," he said.
"You don't believe in climate change?" I asked quickly, my Denier Radar on alert.
"Of course, I do. 250mg Retin A Treatment, But, look, it's not something that's going to affect me now or in my lifetime. So why should I care?"
"What about rising sea waters?"
"Hah, Retin A Treatment. Hah!" he barked into my face. "You tell me when the sea level is going to rise? When. Huh?" DeFede was shouting at me -- all 300-plus pounds of him -- over the raucous bar music in the other room.
Through an archway I caught a glimpse of Dave Barry and other Herald staffers doing a cramped version of the Twist. Retin A Treatment, "In five years?" he continued. "Fifty. A hundred?"
"They are rising and they will rise more, Jim." I was trying to fight two contradictory urges -- one to laugh, 200mg Retin A Treatment, the other to smack him.
"Tell me when."
"Scientists can't say exactly when. Definitely by the end of the century."
"So what. I'll be dead by then!"
I got out a napkin, Retin A Treatment. "I'm writing this down. I want it on record that today, December 20, 2008, Jim DeFede laughed in my face when I said sea levels in Florida could rise in his lifetime." (See photo above.)
"You wait, 50mg Retin A Treatment, " I said, waving the napkin threateningly. "The sea level is going to become a problem in Florida faster than you think, and then you'll realize that I was right and you were wrong and there."
"Hah" he said one last time.
Then he started talking to El Fotografo about the weird stout beer that EF had ordered that tasted like sewer water.
So much for my attempts to rouse a Miami reporter's interests in the future effects of climate change on his environment. Retin A Treatment, That encounter forced me to admit an uncomfortable truth: Most Americans do not care about climate change and do not believe it will affect them. My friend is smart and engaged -- no, make that embroiled in current events. If someone like him thinks global warming is unimportant, what about the millions of uninformed people in the United States. How is the current Administration going to press upon them the importance of the issue, 20mg Retin A Treatment, let alone coerce them into changing their lifestyles to reduce emissions?
Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson told me last year that people only tend to respond to a crisis when it's in their backyard. He's got a point. The psychological mechanisms of denial and procrastination are strong in our species. In the case of global climate change, however, the scale of the problem is so huge and catastrophic, we cannot afford to wait until the flood tides are lapping at our front doorstep, Retin A Treatment. Mitigation has to start now.
And it's up to reporters, bloggers and informed people to stay on message and reiterate the obvious:
The coastline of Florida will be transformed by 2100 due to the effects of climate change. And if we do not start caring about and addressing the problem now, our generation will be remembered as The Jerks Who Stood By and Did Nothing.
Are you still with me. Here's some useful reading material to bone up on the facts:
1. Retin A Treatment, Less than two months ago, it was announced that climate change was going to impact the United States harder and sooner than previously predicted:
A recent report released by the U.S. 40mg Retin A Treatment, Geological Survey paints abrupt climactic shifts, including a more rapid climate change with global sea level increases of up to four feet by the year 2100 and arid climatic shifts in the North American Southwest by mid-century.
Previous estimates anticipated a global sea level rise of 1.5 feet by the end of the century. The current survey, commissioned by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, estimated that the compounding effects of the loss of Arctic Sea ice will more than double previous projections by the end of the century. (See "American Shores Face Threat of Rising Sea Levels," AP, Dec, Retin A Treatment. 26, 2008)
2. A new report by the EPA concludes that Florida and Louisiana are the U.S, Retin A Treatment mexico. states most vulnerable to sea-level rise.
3. A 2001 report by the National Resources Defense Council lists some of the threats global warming poses for Florida's people and resources by 2100, including:
- As glaciers melt and warming waters expand, sea levels will rise anywhere from eight inches to two-and-a-half feet over the next century. In Florida, seawater will advance inland as much as 400 feet in low-lying areas, flooding shoreline homes and hotels, Retin A Treatment craiglist, limiting future development, and eroding the state's beloved beaches.
- As salt water encroaches inland, freshwater supplies feeding Florida's cities, agriculture, and tourist centers will be at risk of saltwater contamination.
- Saltwater encroachment will also likely inundate coastal wetlands, gravely threatening the lower Everglades and its wildlife.
- Tourism will likely suffer. Sea level rise, climbing temperatures, and alterations in rainfall will combine to damage beaches, the Everglades, Retin A Treatment uk, coral reefs and other unique ecosystems that make Florida such an appealing tourist destination.
- Global warming will pose specific health threats to Florida's citizens, likely increasing the incidence of heat-related illness, exacerbating poor air quality, and perhaps even making it easier for infectious diseases to spread. Florida's seniors will be particularly susceptible to these effects.
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