Waters Rising New Responses


It’s not going away, the waters are rising (see “High Water and People Coming to North Florida,” July 26, 2015 post.)  Florida International University’s response to the the rising waters is to create a new Sea Level Solutions Center,  a large, elaborate, well-thought out unit and located in a “hot-button” area.

Prof. Tiffany Troxler

With rising seas threatening coastal communities all across the world, FIU has launched the Sea Level Solutions Center to help people understand, adapt and persevere. FIU ecologist Tiffany Troxler will serve as director.

The center combines expertise in the natural, physical and social sciences, along with architecture, engineering, computer sciences, law, communications, business, health and tourism management to develop long-term strategies in the face of rising seas. FIU’s Miami location will be key in advancing the center’s mission. South Florida is particularly vulnerable because of the large number of assets exposed to the effects of sea level rise.

“Rising seas are a topic of grave concern around the world, and most societies will feel the effects,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “While successful adaptation to sea level rise is local in nature, it will take international, national, regional, as well as local cooperation to develop and implement the necessary policies and strategies to address this global threat.”

The FIU Sea Level Solutions Center will focus on envisioning and designing safe, resilient, prosperous and sustainable 22nd century coastal communities by focusing on the science behind the rising seas, preservation of governance systems, infrastructure challenges and solutions, business impacts, supply chain challenges, ecosystem dependencies, and personal assets. It will work with local governments, business and community leaders to accelerate adaption planning.

The center has a multi-page website, but nowhere there could we find a reference to global warming or specifics regarding a solution, other than beefing up structures for hurricane protection.

On the other hand, a featured article by Mary Ann Travis ” in the latest Tulane magazine (September 2015) “Water, Water Everywhere” makes it very clear as to a necessary plan of action to save New Orleans.

Torbjorn Tornqvist, chair of the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, writes that:

Prof. Torbjorn Tornqvist

“…if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gases, “it’s going to get ugly.”

Sea levels are rising worldwide.  And this acceleration is directly  related to rising temperature in the atmosphere, which comes from increased emission of carbon dioxide.

In the 20th century, the globally averaged rate of sea-level rise was 1 to 2 millimeters per year, but in the last 20 years it has ramped up to just over 3 millimeters per year.  And in coastal Louisiana, it is rising even faster, more like 10 millimeters per year, due to rapid land subsidence.

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, we see that our leadership in this extremely important issue comes not from our elected and supposedly responsible elected officials (some of whom are still in denial), rather from our universities and private environmental groups.

eyeon miamilogoGimleteye of “Eye of Miami” has emphasized this in an Aug. 25, 2015 article which describes how official boards love to put off the responsibility by mandating a “study” to shed light on the issue at hand:

Always fear that word, “study”, because it portends the resting place in a dusty storeroom in County Hall where taxpayer-funded county studies on protecting the environment and taxpayers are filed.

Gimleteye here speaks words of wisdom.


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