“I have felt the power of Nature and I know what it can do and how it can transform a community,” she explained. Because she also knows the threat posed by climate change and sea level rise, she felt an obligation to share that knowledge, especially with parents. As a mother, she was drawn to Moms Clean Air Force, whose work Climate Progress has often featured.
Hammer has spent a lot of time mapping the most endangered low-lying areas in southeast Florida and learned that many Latino communities are especially threatened. She takes political leaders, scientists, and the media to visit some of the most at-risk areas during high tide, where people can see them flood even on cloudless days. In 2013, Grist wrote up one of those trips with Hammer, who was then assistant director for research at the Florida Center for Environmental Studies.
What are people’s responses to these tours? “People are stunned how much investment is going into areas that are already flooding,” she told me. “Even researchers in climate change are stunned.” And since Southeast Florida rests on porous limestone, you can’t protect it from sea level rise the way you can protect many other places in the world. That’s why, as many leading experts have pointed out, parts of southeast Florida may simply be unsaveable, especially if we don’t cut carbon pollution sharply ASAP.
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