Scandal ridden with porn viewing and mismanagement, the NSF accordingly hands out $20million to revive the debunked claim of sea level rise. Focus to be on getting inside classrooms and schoolbooks of kids and young people. Part goes to a Florida professor to promote sea level danger. Says having teachers on their side isn't enough. (Trillions in carbon trading dollars, hedge funds, wait in the wings).
- 9/15, Tampa Tribune, "The Al Gore approach to climate-change education didn't work, says University of South Florida geologist Jeffrey Ryan. Too many charts.
He wants people to see the evidence around them – wells turning salty, beaches and mangrove islands disappearing, signs that billions of dollars worth of waterfront property could be underwater in the next several decades.
- Sea levels are rising, "and that means there are adjustments we have to make," Ryan said.
He received a grant this week from the National Science Foundation
- to persuade Floridians to start considering those adjustments.
- He and partners from the USF colleges of business and marine science have nearly $500,000 to spend over the next two years planning the project.
The University of Puerto Rico is also part of the project, which includes looking at the effects of sea-level rise in the Caribbean.
"We need to pull together a broad swath of the community, not just academics," Ryan said.
His goal is to find ways to educate people, from school children to adults, about the effects of climate change, sea-level rise in particular.
- public school curriculum to encouraging more students
- to study climate science in college.
"We all like having a St. Petersburg," said Larry Plank, secondary schools science supervisor with the Hillsborough school district, who's working with Ryan.
But if the sea level keeps rising as it has for the past several decades, the ocean will begin to overtake St. Petersburg and the state's other low-lying communities in the next 50 years.
"It's not a question of why this is happening but what we're going to do about it," Plank said.
"We want to get good scientific information into the hands of the people in the communities who have to make decisions, and let them decide, based on the science," said Jill Karsten, a National Science Foundation program director.
Karsten acknowledged people disagree about the severity of the change and what's causing it.
"Although there are ongoing discussions on some details of how the climate is evolving, there is a huge consensus that the climate is changing," she said.
"The evidence has become much more concrete. Research groups aren't taking about whether it is happening. It's now a question of what to do."
For centuries the sea level has been going up. Since scientists in St. Petersburg began taking measurements about 60 years ago, they've recorded a steady rise of about one inch per decade.
That doesn't seem like much, but for every inch in sea level rise, the land retreats 50 to 100 feet, researchers say. The loss is even more dramatic in low-lying areas. And it could worsen as the world's landlocked glaciers continue to melt, with the run-off eventually flowing into the oceans.
The rise affects the way fresh water moves through the underground Floridan aquifer, for instance, and that effects whether people can drink well water, Ryan said.
Some roads may become impassable and neighborhoods unlivable. Hurricane storm surges could threaten more and more areas.
"That's what happens when you live so close to sea level," Ryan said.
The most dire effects are decades away, but decision makers need to start figuring it out now if their children and grandchildren are going to be able to adapt.
"We need folks to start to connect the dots," Ryan said.
"There is still a fundamental gap in what people understand about climate change," Karsten said.
"Although there's a consensus among scientists, the public isn't there yet. The goal of this program is to get information into the hands of the average citizen.
- "We're not advocating a certain response," she said.***
"We're trying to help them understand the choices they have to make.""
***Not so, stated in the first part of the article, the grant is to persuade. ed.