Caption: Steve Mello is a farmer on Tyler Island in the San Francisco Bay Delta, Credit: Jan Sturmann
Image by: Jan Sturmann 
Steve Mello is a farmer on Tyler Island in the San Francisco Bay Delta 

RISE: Part II Facing the Rising Tide

From: Claire Schoen
Series: RISE: Climate Change and Coastal Communities
Length: 59:00

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Rising waters threaten the lands of a farmer and of a developer, yet they and their families dismiss all warnings of danger. Why are so many of us unwilling to face this issue? Read the full description.

Part_2_photo_small Farmer Steve Mello and real estate developer T. Jack Foster have two things in common: climate change threatens the land they have made their life's work and neither takes the threat seriously. 

Steve Mello farms an island in the Delta. He inherited the farm from his father and intends to pass it on to his son. The Delta is comprised of sunken islands, protected by levees from the surrounding waters. Mello's land on Tyler Island lies 20 feet below sea level. Without the levees, his farm will become a lake. But levees fail and need frequent repair. And with sea level rise from the Bay and snowpack melt from the rivers threatening to flood the Delta, this task gets steadily more difficult. Federal officials question whether maintaining Tyler Island’s levees is a wise use of tax dollars, but Mello says he is not leaving come hell or high water.

T. Jack Foster Jr. heads a family dynasty. In the 1960's, he and his father created a planned community by diking, draining and filling San Francisco Bay wetlands. Today 30,000 people live in Foster City, which boasts parks, shopping malls and several corporate headquarters. But the fill used to turn wetlands into real estate brought the land just up to the current sea level. Foster City needs to be redesigned to protect it from flooding as the sea level rises, says landscape architect Yumi Lee. Still, T. Jack Jr. isn't worried. He says the levees surrounding the city can simply be built higher and higher.

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Piece Description

Farmer Steve Mello and real estate developer T. Jack Foster have two things in common: climate change threatens the land they have made their life's work and neither takes the threat seriously. 

Steve Mello farms an island in the Delta. He inherited the farm from his father and intends to pass it on to his son. The Delta is comprised of sunken islands, protected by levees from the surrounding waters. Mello's land on Tyler Island lies 20 feet below sea level. Without the levees, his farm will become a lake. But levees fail and need frequent repair. And with sea level rise from the Bay and snowpack melt from the rivers threatening to flood the Delta, this task gets steadily more difficult. Federal officials question whether maintaining Tyler Island’s levees is a wise use of tax dollars, but Mello says he is not leaving come hell or high water.

T. Jack Foster Jr. heads a family dynasty. In the 1960's, he and his father created a planned community by diking, draining and filling San Francisco Bay wetlands. Today 30,000 people live in Foster City, which boasts parks, shopping malls and several corporate headquarters. But the fill used to turn wetlands into real estate brought the land just up to the current sea level. Foster City needs to be redesigned to protect it from flooding as the sea level rises, says landscape architect Yumi Lee. Still, T. Jack Jr. isn't worried. He says the levees surrounding the city can simply be built higher and higher.

Transcript

RISE: Climate Change and Coastal Communities
Part 2 - Facing the Rising Tide

0. Billboard
Narration:
When it comes to tackling tough problems, America is known for innovation and ingenuity. But there are some problems staring right at us, that we seem unwilling to face. Like sea level rise. We know the ice caps are melting: the Petermann Glacier in Greenland, recently lost a chunk, four times the size of Manhattan. But as this rising tide begins to lap at our coastlines, we’re simply not acting.
TJack: If indeed the levels of the ocean rise, we'll deal with it. ... You know, it's not like it's a big deal.
Narration:
There are many reasons why America is in denial about sea level rise. Families have planted deep roots at the water’s edge:
Steve: My father literally worked a lifetime to create a legacy to pass onto their offspring and future generations.
Narration:
And there are fin...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

Series Title: RISE: Climate Change and Coastal Communities
Program Title: Facing the Rising Tide
Total Program Length 59:00

00:00:00 Incue: (Billboard) “When it comes to tackling tough problems, America is known for innovation and ingenuity.”

00:01:00 Outcue: (Billboard) “RISE: Climate Change and Coastal Communities. After this...”

00:01:00 Incue: (News hole) Music.

00:06:00 Outcue: (News hole) Music.

00:06:00 Incue: (First half) Water. Then, “RISE: Climate Change and Coastal Communities. Facing the Rising Tide.”

00:29:11 Outcue: (First half) “You stay here for five years, five years, he starts to get shares in Mello Farms Inc. And he will shortly be owning part of the company.”

00:29:11 Incue: (Station ID break) Music. Then, “You’re listening to RISE: Climate Change and Coastal Communities.”

00:30:11 Outcue: (Station ID break) Music.

00:30:11 Incue: (Second half) “Even if we were to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to a screeching halt, today, the impact of climate change on coastal communities will be severe.”

00:59:00 Outcue: (Second half) “To hear all the stories in the RISE series and to learn about climate change in your area, please visit us online at searise.org. I’m Claire Schoen.” Then, music.

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Original Music Jonathan Mitchell :00

Additional Files

Additional Credits

Associate Producer and Editor, Erica Mu. Original music by Jonathan Mitchell. Special thanks to Jan Stürmann, Stephen Most, Laura Klivans and Scott Koué.

Related Website

http://www.searise.org