Tuesday, June 13, 2017

On the front line of climate change, the Frost Museum of Science whose benefactors don't believe in climate change ... by gimleteye

The Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami FL
This is the quintessential Miami story. A billionaire benefactor of a science museum inhibits manager and staff discussion of man-made climate change.

"Quintessential" is not a description to be tossed lightly about the Magic City. Because. Miami in its fealty to speculative real estate development answers the question point-blank: how can a city and county turn its back on remarkable natural resources and attractions -- Biscayne Bay and the Everglades? The answer: Miami does it because visitors and transients fundamentally care about fun in the sun, so long as there is also air conditioning and bug spray.

The commercial obliviousness is also at the heart of the great planetary disturbance called man-made climate change. Miami didn't trademark the paradigm. However. World-wide press has made Miami the photogenic poster-child for whistling past the global warming graveyard. Vice News opens its climate change segments with a mash-up of high tides flooding Miami streets next to cranes piling more condo buildings with a water view. Above. Water. View.

At first I couldn't believe it: the Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science -- a $275 million dollar edifice elbowing the Hertzog & de Meuron showcase Perez Art Museum into Biscayne Bay -- does not feature climate change and its impacts.

The new Miami science museum is ground zero in a city that is ground zero in a state that is ground zero for sea level rise. Florida. Yet its benefactors are deniers of the incontrovertible science behind man-made climate change.

King tide flooding at Matheson Hammock Park, Biscayne Bay, Oct. 2012
Apparently, its billionaire benefactor, Philip Frost -- whose name graces the new museum -- just dismissed man-made climate change on public radio here.
The namesake and single largest booster of Miami’s new $305 million science museum believes that man’s effect on climate change remains unproven and wants to cut through what he sees an “almost religious” fervor around the topic.

Phillip Frost, during a wide-ranging interview that aired Monday on WLRN’s “The Sunshine Economy,” said the Earth’s climate is clearly changing. But he said it’s not yet proven that carbon emissions are accelerating the rate at which seas and temperatures are rising.

Though a broad consensus of scientists believe man-made climate change is real and consequential, Frost said “a lot of people make a living saying that.” (Namesake of Miami’s new Frost science museum is a skeptic of man-made climate change, Miami Herald, June 13, 2017)
The usual suspects in the Miami science-denial camp are real estate barons whose fortunes ballooned after converting low-cost farmland to suburban sprawl. They, their supply chain and builder associations are usually at the front; subrogating South Florida's spectacular natural heritage to profits. Everglades. Wetlands. Destroyed. For. Zero Lot. Line. Housing.

Philip Frost is a different story. A brilliant physician, inventor, a serial entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical space between our cells. How does a senior statesman and benefactor of Miami institutions dismiss climate change with the same rote recitation of Fox and Rush Limbaugh? Hard. Question. To. Answer.

Sierra Club senior staffer Jon Ullman wrote in a discussion group of Miami environmentalists:
Before I came to Sierra Club, I worked in Public Relations for the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium (the longest name of any institution I know of.) We brought in a traveling exhibit about Global Warming. This was in the 90s. I didn't think we'd get a crowd for this exhibit like we would for ROBO BUGS or Robotic Dinosaurs so I tried to make it more personal to Miami. I had heard that Geologist Hal Wanless at UM was the guy to talk to. I met him at his office and he showed me some maps. What I saw was horrifying. It showed most of Miami gone, flooded by sea water. I doubted most people knew this. Remember this was the 90s. So we published the map in our newsletter Sci-lights with the logo of the exhibit, a cartoon of the world and a thermometer in its mouth! The exhibit was not a blockbuster, but it turned me into a Climate Cassandra.

For Miami's new science museum's largest private donor and namesake to deny climate science is indefensible. The Museum and the Board should immediately issue statements that climate change and sea level rise are driven by humans.

The old science museum had a very good, interactive permanent climate exhibit up until the day it closed. The new museum should immediately expand upon that and build a permanent climate exhibit that states the truth about the cause climate change and how this community's people and wildlife will be affected. Also, the county gave $200 million, and we, the taxpayers, demand the truth. Still looking forward to seeing the new museum. Saving my pennies! Say what you want about the old museum, it was $9, and it had a giant sloth. How cool is that!

Frost has company in billionairz climate change denializm. There are the Kochs, whose consumer product and fossil fuel empire rests on throttling environmental regulations. There are the Fanjuls, sugar magnates who similarly depend on wrecking government processes governing pollution. The list goes on. Frost is a scientist.

It is grievously painful that the science museum that bears the Frost name now represents the global warming brushoff that has turned, since Trump, the United States into a pariah nation.

Who knows: either everyone else is wrong or  in the not-too-distant future visitors will be paying to enter a drained-orb-of-an-aquarium to peer at the fish swimming outside where above-ground Miami streets and art works used to be.

Summer reading suggestions for Patricia and Philip Frost: Harvard-educator Naomi Oreskes, "Merchants of Doubt", Jane Mayer's, "Dark Money, The Hidden History Of The Billionaires Behind The Rise Of the Radical Right". And: why not invite this billionaire to lunch: Michael Bloomberg whose philanthropies are focusing on science and public policies to make the world a safer, more secure place for humanity in an age of man-made climate change.


Anonymous said...

Commercial and residential building sector accounts for a percentage of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Mix that in with the filthy tourism industry. Miami is the perfect place to play eco-politics.

Anonymous said...

Early onset dementia combined with too much money in the back pocked leads to weird convictions. After all, if this climate thingy is real, by gosh, one be obligated to actually do something about it.
Hard to do, when most cocktail buddy's are blowing the same horn, and the well established economic system still works like a well oiled machine.

As I see it, this is just a different version of manifest destiny of bygone Years. Exploit the hell out of the natives to build an economy. Except , today's natives are all of us.

Anonymous said...

Frost and Alvarez should leave the board for the sake of the museum and this at-risk community. Their statements are indefensible.

Geniusofdespair said...

If they believed in sea level rise they wouldn't have built this piece of shit here. what is it a foot above sea level?

Anonymous said...

Why is it a piece of shit?

Anonymous said...

Teach Climate Change at their namesake museum and 'hoist them on their own petard'. LMAO!

Geniusofdespair said...

Because the building robbed us of precious waterfront parkland.

Anonymous said...

Have family visiting from the Midwest and visited the museum last week. What a gem! Lots of people too, not only at the museum but also around the area. Miami is a vibrant city!

Anonymous said...

Just read a report from Hudson Bay, the ice there is fifteen feet thick, so thick fishermen are being rescued by the icebreaker that was supposed to escort climate change nazis.

Will you report that?

Gimleteye said...

Yes, asshat, FAKE NEWS.

This is from Canada Broadcast Corp on what's happening: "Typically when people think about climate change they think about thinning ice, but Barber points out the warming action also loosens ice and broken icebergs can travel long distances on ocean currents.

"It's very much a climate-change driven phenomenon," said Barber. "When you reduce the extent of the ice and reduce the thickness of it, it becomes more mobile."

In other words, asshat, severe warming in the High Arctic sent a rush of icebergs to lower latitudes. Reported that, a year ago, after visiting Greenland.

""What happens in the Arctic doesn't stay there. It comes south," he said. "We're simply ill-prepared." http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/climate-change-study-1.4157216

Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones! Read "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer.