• Review: Rising Tides (2016)

    From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Tue Jun 28 17:21:02 2016
    (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: This is a generally well-made documentary
    examining the rising of sea level, the land erosion
    it causes, and how the problem is manifesting itself
    globally. It reports on the crisis and contains
    several interviews with government officials, experts,
    and victims commenting on the size of the problem and
    what is being done to counter it. The film first shows
    the size of the problem facing us and then reports on
    engineering solutions that are being tried to limit
    erosion. Jason Auerbach co-directed the film with
    Scott Duthie and co-wrote the film with Michele
    Loschiavo. Auerbach says that his goal was to start
    conversation and not to scare people, but his facts
    are--and should be--a little scary. Rating:
    low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

    A new documentary looks at the coming fate of the world as the
    planet heats up and human engineering is working to limit the
    disastrous consequences.

    The world's temperatures are increasing, icecaps are melting, and
    as a result sea levels are rising. There are a many aspects to
    climate change and the rising of the oceans is one of the changes
    whose effects are most devastating. There are already island
    nations built on very low-lying islands.

    As the climate has changed there have been disastrous hurricanes
    and typhoons showing the strength of the rising oceans. Hurricane
    Katrina did $135 billion of damages and caused 986 deaths.
    Hurricane Sandy did $20 billion in property damage and caused 149
    deaths. Typhoon Yolanda, the most powerful storm ever to make
    landfall, had 6300 casualties in 2013. Storms are getting more
    powerful as the oceans reach higher levels. And sea level is not
    just rising; its level is accelerating upward. The most commonly
    considered cause of the increase in ocean volume is melting
    icecaps, but as seawater warms it expands and becomes less dense.
    Thirdly, tectonic movement can squeeze out water. Seas can rise
    but land usually will not so water reaches further and further into
    what used to be inland.

    It is not just foreign countries that are threatened. Miami, being
    a low-lying coastal city, is in particular peril. Currently sea
    level rises about 1/7th of an inch per year. That means that in
    one year the edge of the water would advance about 120 feet. Even
    an inch or two of sea level rise would much increase the chances of
    disastrous floods. Right now Miami floods at high tide. Salt
    water is seeping inland, killing animal and plant life that require
    fresh water and filling the aquifers that are needed for fresh
    water supply.

    This film is a call to action. In current United States politics
    there is almost no mention of the coming menace of rising water.
    Little is being done and certainly not what is needed. The longer
    the problem waits for attention the worse it will be when passed on
    to later generations. We need to plan what we will do when the
    oceans inevitably rise.

    Auerbach summarizes engineering approaches to limiting damage and
    to "nourish" the coastline, the most successful of which seems to
    be to create artificial reefs to slow erosion. Auerbach considers
    the question of whether the best approach is to conflict with
    nature or to let it just take its course.

    Structurally the film does have a problem. It begins with the
    frightening realities of rising sea levels and then somewhat calms
    the viewer with engineering solutions (partial ones) to the
    problems and reports of approaches that have and have not helped.
    What we see are limited solutions to what we know are worldwide
    problems, and the solutions clearly do not scale up well. A
    solution that costs just a few million dollars to protect two miles
    of coastline is not going to be a feasible solution for island
    nations. And if the viewer is not frightened by the size of the
    problem and the difficulties in overcoming them, then the film has
    not done its job. I rate RISING TIDES a low +2 on the -4 to +4
    scale or 7/10. RISING TIDES was released on DVD and VOD on June

    Film Credits:

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    Mark R. Leeper
    Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper

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