As South Floridians begin to awaken to the reality of King Tides, salty street flooding, and the emerging impact of sea-level rise on their communities, more than 350 residents gathered for a special premiere of National Geographic’s documentary Gathering Storm.
The Miami-based episode of Season Two of NatGeo’s award-winning series, Years of Living Dangerously, was screened before a full house at Little Havana’s Tower Theater on Oct. 27. Starring Hollywood actor/musician Jack Black, the film focuses on Miami’s plight from global warming and sea-level rise.
Hosted by 17-year-old student activist Delaney Reynolds of The Sink or Swim Project (www.miamisearise.com) and by Caroline Lewis of the CLEO Institute (www.cleoinstitute.org) the world premiere event recognized local activists, scientists, and public officials who played a role in the Miami production of NatGeo’s Episode Two, Gathering Storm. The event also featured red-carpet interviews with local politicians, climate-change scientists, students, educators, and activists.
With NBC6 Meteorologist Adam Berg as red-carpet emcee, the event engaged more than 350 attendees in an open discussion on the growing problem of sea-level rise, right here in heart of Miami.
“There are some immediate and long-term challenges facing South Florida, both politically and environmentally, as the film highlights,” said Jon Meyersohn, executive producer of The Years Project, who introduced the film and joined in the red-carpet reception and interviews prior to the screening.
“But there is a solid core of people here in Miami who are mobilizing and speaking out on the issue of global warming and sea-level rise — many of whom were here for the event — working to open the eyes of the rest of their community,” he continued.
Meyersohn is a seasoned network TV producer of ABC’s network news programs including 20/20, Nightline and Primetime. He said he was overwhelmed with the turnout at the sold-out theater.
“So much work went into producing this series,” Meyersohn said. “So to see it play before a live audience for the first time — especially right here in Miami — was really quite an experience. To be able to see and hear the responses among audience members first-hand, was an added thrill.”
Reynolds, event host and founder of the Sink or Swim Project, said she was “humbled and honored” to be included in the series with so many famous people. “I am so grateful to producers Joel Bach, Tomek Gross and Jon Meyersohn for including my work with The Sink or Swim Project.
“South Florida is in serious trouble and faces a catastrophic future unlike any in the history of civilization. The carbon pollution that mankind is pumping into our atmosphere must come to an end, and fast, or else our entire region will be submerged underwater and lost forever,” she continued.
Reynolds, a senior at Palmer Trinity School, also was invited to serve as opening speaker at the Clinton-Gore Climate Change rally at Miami Dade Collage earlier in October.
She was featured prominently in this Miami episode along with a cast of fellow characters who also were in attendance at the event: Philip Levine, Mayor of Miami Beach; Philp Stoddard, Mayor of South Miami; Keren Bolter, climate scientist at Florida Center for Environment Studies at FAU; Nichole Hernandez Hammer, sountheast climate advocate at Union of Concerned Scientists; Harold Wanless, Geologist-University of Miami; Ben Kirtman, climate scientist at University of Miami; Lise Van Susteren, psychiatrist; Reinaldo Borges, architect, and Josh Stein, Realtor.
The 50-minute episode was filmed here in 2015-16 with Jack Black as the featured correspondent. He journeys to Miami to find out if the city and other low-lying coastal areas can survive rising seas. Black finds a political and business community in denial and talks to a few legislators, residents, activists, and scientists trying to do something before it is too late. The episode, which also features a segment shot in the Bahamas with correspondent Ian Somerhalder, also a well-known Hollywood actor.
“Years of Living Dangerously” Season Two, launched on Oct. 30 on the NatGeo Channel Oct. 30. The Miami episode aired Nov. 2. The remainder of the series will air Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
“Young people understand that mankind has been polluting our planet for generations and we want that to stop,” Reynolds said. “We understand that the time has come to change behaviors and to stop protecting the fossil fuel producers and utilities that place short term profit over protecting our environment. We are not going to tolerate so-called leaders that protect special interest instead of our planet.”
The Miami VIP premiere was a dream come true for Reynolds who said she was compelled to celebrate the scientists, educators, and political leaders “who work so hard, and often behind the scenes, to protect our planet and our future. These people are the stars of the show and the ones that we should all thank,” she said.
Join the more than 4,000 Facebook fans who have already viewed the video that was broadcast via live-streaming from the red carpet on event night at www.facebook.com/thesinkorswimproject/videos/1717758638546566/. Also visit the the years of Living Dangerously page at www.facebook.com/YearsOfLiving/posts/1135371919883198.