MetroFocus

CLIP

RISING SEA LEVELS POSE A THREAT TO NYC

Tonight as a part of our ongoing Peril and Promise initiative reporting on the human stories of climate change and its solutions, Dutch documentary photographer Kadir van Lohuizen takes us inside his exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York along with Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Sarah Henry.

AIRED: September 22, 2021 | 0:12:30
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> GOOD EVENING, I'M JENNA

FLANAGAN.

WHEN THE REMNANTS OF HURRICANE

IDA TORE THROUGH OUR REGION,

MORE THAN 40 PEOPLE WERE KILLED.

ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS, ROADS AND

SUBWAYS WERE SUBMERGED IN WATER

AND THE WIDESPREAD FLOODING

HIGHLIGHTED THE URGENT THREAT

THAT EXTREME WEATHER AND CLIMATE

CHANGE POSES TO OUR AREA AND THE

WORLD.

THAT THREAT IS THE SUBJECT OF A

FASCINATING EXHIBIT AT THE

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

CALL EED "RISING TIDE: VISUALIZG

THE HUMAN COST OF THE CLIMATE

CRISIS."

THE WORK IS OF KADIR VAN

LOH

LOHUIZEN, WITH PHOTOGRAPHS,

VIDEO, AS WELL AS DRONE IMAGES

AND SOUND.

JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS

EXHIBIT AS PART OF YOUR ONGOING

"PERIL AND PROMISE" INITIATIVE,

REPORTING ON THE HUMAN STORIES

OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS

SOLUTIONS ARE KADIR VAN

LOHUIZEN.

WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> AND WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY

SARAH HENRY.

SARAH IS THE CHIEF CURATOR AND

DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR THE MUSEUM

OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.

SARAH, WELCOME.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING

US HERE.

>> SO, KADIR, I WANT TO START

WITH YOU AND JUST SORT OF ASK,

WHEN DID YOU START THIS PROJECT

AND WHERE WAS IT THAT YOU WENT,

BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT NEW

YORK.

>> IT'S DEFINITELY NOT JUST

ABOUT NEW YORK AND I THINK I

STARTED THE PROJECT, IT WAS 2011

WHEN I WAS WORKING ON A

DIFFERENT STORY, WHICH WAS ABOUT

MIGRATION IN THE AMERICAS AND I

WAS TRAVELING FROM THE VERY

SOUTH OF LATIN AMERICA TO THE

VERY NORTH OF ALASKA, BASICALLY,

TO TELL THE STORY ABOUT

CONTEMPORARY MIGRATION AND I WAS

IN -- ABOUT HALFWAY, IN PANAMA,

I CAME TO THESE BEAUTIFUL ISLAND

S AND I WAS INTERVIEWING PEOPLE

THERE, ON THE CARIBBEAN SIDE,

THESE BEAUTIFUL POSTCARD ISLANDS

AND PEOPLE TOLD ME THAT THEY

WERE BEING EVACUATED AND WHEN I

ASKED THEM WHY, THEY SAID, THE

SEA IS COMING.

SO, ALTHOUGH I'M SPEAKING TO YOU

FROM AMSTERDAM AND I LIVE BELOW

THE SEA LEVEL AND WE KNOW LOTS

ABOUT THE ISSUES WITH THE SEA IN

THE NETHERLANDS, I WAS NEVER

AWARE THAT THIS WAS ALREADY AN

ISSUE WHICH WAS HAPPENING TODAY.

I THOUGHT, LIKE MANY OF US, THAT

THIS WAS -- WOULD HAPPEN IN THE

NEXT FEW GENERATIONS.

SO, THAT WAS BASICALLY THE START

OF THE PROJECT AND WHERE I

STARTED TO RESEARCH, BECAUSE I

THOUGHT, IF IT'S HAPPENING

THERE, IT MUST BE HAPPENING

ELSEWHERE.

AND THAT'S HOW IT BECAME A

GLOBAL PROJECT.

>> AND SARAH, WHY WAS THIS AN

EXHIBIT THAT THE MUSEUM WAS

ATTRACTED TO AND WANTED TO MAKE

SURE THAT AS MANY NEW YORKERS

GOT A CHANCE TO SEE IT?

>> WELL, FIRST OF ALL, KADIR'S

IMAGES ARE ABSOLUTELY STUNNING.

THEY ARE HAUNTING.

THEY GET INTO YOUR BRAIN, THEY

GIVE YOU A VISCERAL FEELING OF

THE HUMAN CONSEQUENCES OF THE

CLIMATE CRISIS LIKE NOTHING

WE'VE SEEN BEFORE.

AND WE REALLY -- YOU REALLY HAVE

TO SEE IT TO EXPERIENCE THAT.

AND SECONDARILY, VERY IMPORTANT

TO US AS A MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF

NEW YORK, NEW YORK IS A COASTAL

CITY.

THAT HAS BEEN OUR STRENGTH SINCE

THE FOUNDING OF NEW YORK.

OUR WATERWAYS, BUT IT ALSO MEANS

WE'RE INCREDIBLY VULNERABLE TO

THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE

CHANGE AND RISING SEA LEVELS.

WE HAVE 520 MILES OF COASTLAND

IN NEW YORK CITY.

JUST IN THE FIVE BURROWS.

AND SO THINK ABOUT LOW-LYING

AREAS LIKE THE ROCKAWAYS OR

HUNT'S POINT OR THE SHORE OF

STATEN ISLAND, THERE IS AN

INCREDIBLE VULNERABILITY FOR SO

MANY NEW YORKERS AND IT'S

CRITICAL FOR US TO THINK AS NEW

YORKERS AND AS THE MUSEUM OF THE

CITY OF NEW YORK, HOW TO FACE

THIS CHANGE, HOW TO MITIGATE IT

AS BEST AS POSSIBLE, TO THINK

ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY AND ALSO

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE RESILIENT.

AS THE MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW

YORK, WE CONNECT PAST, PRESENT

AND FUTURE AND THERE'S NOTHING

MORE THAT'S GOING TO SHAPE OUR

FUTURE THAN THIS QUESTION.

>> KADIR, I WONDER WHAT IT WAS

YOU WERE SORT OF SETTING OUT TO

ACCOMPLISH OR DID YOU HAVE A

GOAL IN MIND WHEN YOU BEGAN THIS

PROJECT?

AND I ASKED THAT BECAUSE, WHAT

YOU'RE REALLY SORT OF ATTEMPTING

TO DO, AT LEAST AS I CAN SEE IT,

IS DOCUMENT SOMETHING THAT ISN'T

NECESSARILY VISUAL TO PEOPLE.

AND THE FACT THAT IT ISN'T

NECESSARILY VISUAL YET TO SOME

PEOPLE STILL LEAVES SOME ROOM

FOR PERHAPS DENIALISM.

SO, WHAT WAS YOUR INTENTION

GOING INTO THIS?

>> WELL, MY INTENTION STARTED,

OBVIOUSLY, WITH THE RESEARCH AND

I THINK IT -- THE IMAGES PROVE

THAT THIS IS HAPPENING TODAY,

BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WE ASSUME --

I THINK MOST OF US KNOW THAT THE

SEA LEVEL IS RISING, NO MATTER

IF WE CUT OUR EMISSIONS TODAY,

IT WILL RISE ANYWAY.

BUT I WANTED TO SHOW AND I THINK

THAT THAT WAS THE CHALLENGE FROM

THE START, A WAY FOR THE WATER

TO BE PERMANENTLY IN YOUR HOUSE,

YOU KNOW, IT STARTS WITH

FREQUENT FLOODS, IT STARTS WHEN

THE WATER DOESN'T RECEDE THAT

PEOPLE -- THE SOIL GETS --

>> KADIR, I THINK HE MIGHT HAVE

FROZEN FOR A SECOND, SO, SARAH,

I'LL GO BACK TO YOU --

>> YES.

>> AND ASK, HOW DOES, AT LEAST

IN YOUR OPINION, THE IMAGES OF

THE FLOODING AND THE FIRES ARE

THINGS THAT WE HAVE SEEN WHEN

HURRICANES HAPPEN, BUT HOW DO

YOU THINK THAT VISITORS TO THE

MUSEUM WILL EXPERIENCE THIS WHEN

THEY ACTUALLY VISIT THE EXHIBIT?

>> SURE.

WELL, THE EXHIBITION WAS

ORIGINALLY ON VIEW AT THE

NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM IN

AMSTERDAM, WHO IS ONE OF OR

PARTNERS ON THIS PROJECT, ALONG

WITH THE OCEAN GRAPHIC

INSTITUTION.

THE MUSEUM IS FIRST AND FOREMOST

A SENSORY PLACE, SO, THIS IS

SOMETHING WE HEAR ABOUT, BUT NOT

NECESSARILY SOMETHING THAT WE

CAN EXPERIENCE WITH OUR OWN

EYES, THOUGH EVENTS LIKE

HURRICANES, SUPERSTORM SANDY OR

IDA RECENTLY CERTAINLY DROVE IT

HOME IN THE FIVE BOROUGHS.

SO, THAT IS ONE OF THE IMPORTANT

THINGS OF WALKING INTO THAT

STRIKING ROOM AND BEING

SURROUNDED BY THESE VIDEOS AND

IMAGES.

WE ALSO HAVE A SECTION OF THE

EXHIBITION ABOUT SPECIFICALLY

WHAT NEW YORK IS TOGETHER TO

F

DOING TO FACE CLIMATE CHANGE AND

GET PEOPLE TO THINK WHAT ACTIONS

WE CAN TAKE INDIVIDUALLY AND

WHAT WE CAN TAKE COLLECTIVELY TO

MAKE OURSELVES A MORE RESILIENT

CITY.

AND SO, WE GIVE PEOPLE A LITTLE

CHANCE TO THINK POSITIVELY ABOUT

THE FUTURE, EVEN WHILE FACING

THE E NORTY OF THE REALITY THAT

WE'RE ALL FACED WITH AND, IN

FACT, COMING UP IN THE

MID-OCTOBER, OCTOBER 17th, WE'RE

HAVING A GREEN ACTIVIST NEW YORK

SORT OF ECO-FEST, WHERE PEOPLE

CAN COME AND HEAR FROM PEOPLE

WHO ARE REALLY BEING ACTIVE IN

THIS AREA, WHETHER IT'S ON THE

VENDOR SIDE, PERFORMANCES, YOUNG

PEOPLE SPEAKING UP.

REALLY DRIVING HOME THE WAYS IN

WHICH WE ARE ALL IN THIS

TOGETHER AND I'LL SAY, AMONG THE

PLEDGES THAT YOU CAN TAKE IN THE

EXHIBITION, THERE'S A WHOLE

ARRAY OF THEM, ONE OF THEM IS

JUST TO TALK ABOUT THE CLIMATE.

AS WE LEARNED FROM OUR FRIENDS

AT THE CLIMATE MUSEUM, BREAKING

THE CLIMATE SCIENCE IS AN

IMPORTANT PIECE OF THIS, AND I

THINK KADIR'S WORK DOES THAT IN

SUCH A PROFOUND SENSORY AND

VISUAL WAY.

>> WELL, KADIR, I KNOW THAT WE

LOST YOU VERY BRIEFLY FOR A

MOMENT, BUT -- SO, I WANTED TO

GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO FINISH OUT

A THOUGHT THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE

BEEN IN THE PROCESS OF

DELIVERING BEFORE WE LOST YOUR

CONNECTION.

KADIR, I THINK YOU ARE MUTED

AGAIN.

>> OKAY.

>> YEAH.

>> SHOULD I START OVER?

>> YEAH, NO, JUST -- BECAUSE I

KNOW THAT WE LOST YOU AND I WANT

TO MAKE SURE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO

FULLY SHARE WHATEVER THOUGHT IT

WAS THAT YOU WERE IN THE PROCESS

OF GIVING US BEFORE WE HAD TO

RECONNECT.

>> WELL, I THINK WHAT'S

IMPORTANT TO -- WHAT WAS

IMPORTANT FOR ME TO LEARN AND I

THINK THAT'S ALSO IMPORTANT,

WHAT THE IMAGES EXPRESS IS THAT

WE DON'T HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE

WATER TO BE PERMANENTLY IN YOUR

HOUSE.

THE ISSUE STARTS MUCH EARLIER,

IT STARTS WITH SEA WATER COMING

IN BECAUSE OF MORE FREQUENT

HEAVIER STORMS, BECAUSE OF

FLOODS, SEA WATER DOESN'T RECEDE

AND PEOPLE CAN'T GROW THEIR

CROPS ANYMORE BECAUSE THEIR LAND

BEC

BECOMES.

THERE'S NO SAFE DRINKING WATER.

THERE'S MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN

THE WORLD ALREADY WHO ARE

RELOCATING MOST OFTEN BY

THEMSELVES TO HIGHER GROUND.

SO, YOU KNOW, I THINK, I HOPE

THAT IT SENDS AN URGENCY THAT WE

REALLY HAVE TO ACT TODAY AND I

THINK MANY OF US HAVE SEEN THE

REPORT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL

CLIMATE PANEL, WHICH JUST CAME

OUT, WHICH WAS VERY ALARMING.

VERY ALARMING FOR ANY COASTAL

REGION, FOR ANY COASTAL CITIES.

AND --

>> WELL, I DO WANT TO ASK THEN,

BECAUSE WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT, YOU

KNOW, HOW PEOPLE IN OTHER PARTS

OF THE WORLD ARE ALREADY

STARTING TO RELOCATE, THERE

DOESN'T SEEM TO BE, AT LEAST A

CLIMATE CHANGE DRIVEN MIGRATION

HAPPENING AS MUCH IN AMERICA AND

THERE CAN BE ALL SORTS OF

REASONS BEHIND THAT, BUT

CONSIDERING THAT THIS PROJECT

TOOK YOU ALL OVER THE WORLD, I'M

WONDERING, WHAT ARE THE

SIMILARITIES THAT YOU SAW IN

OTHER COUNTRIES THAT PERHAPS

AMERICANS WOULDN'T CONSIDER

THEMSELVES HAVING ANYTHING IN

COMMON WITH THAT YOU ALSO WERE

SEEING HERE?

>> WELL, I THINK EXTREME WEATHER

EVENTS ARE STILL OFTEN

CONSIDERED BY TOO MANY PEOPLE AS

BEING NORMALITY.

AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, IF YOU

LOOK AT THE FIRES IN THE U.S.,

IF YOU LOOK WHAT HAPPENED WITH

HURRICANE IDA, IF YOU LOOK AT

THE FREQUENCY OF THE TORNADOES,

THE FREQUENCY AND THE STRENGTHS

OF HURRICANES, IT'S ALL AN

INDICATION THAT WE ARE IN THE

MIDST OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, WE OWE TO

OUR NEXT GENERATIONS THAT WE

ACT, YOU KNOW?

WE -- WE CAN'T DENY IT ANYMORE.

I MEAN, THERE'S SO MUCH PROOF

THAT THIS IS THE CASE AND THAT

THIS IS HAPPENING AND THE ONLY

WAY TO -- AT LEAST TO SLOW IT

DOWN IS THAT WE CUT OUR

EMISSIONS AND THAT WE TRY TO

STABILIZE THE WARMING UP OF THIS

PLANET.

AND OTHERWISE, IT'S GOING TO BE

VERY CATASTROPHIC FOR THE NEXT

GENERATIONS AND I THINK IT'S OUR

RESPONSIBILITY.

WE ARE THE GENERATION WHO REALLY

FLOURISHED, YOU KNOW?

WE HAD EVERYTHING WE WANTED AND

WE HAD IT BETTER THAN OUR

PARENTS, WE HAD IT BETTER THAN

OUR GRANDPARENTS AND I THINK FOR

THE NEXT GENERATIONS TO COME,

THE LIFE IS GOING TO BE -- IS

GOING TO BE DIFFERENT.

AND WE SHOULD BE READY TO DO A

STEP BACK.

>> OF COURSE.

SARAH, WE HAVE ABOUT TEN SECONDS

LEFT, SO JUST, ONE MORE TIME,

YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT IT IS THAT

PEOPLE SHOULD EXPECT OR WHY

WOULD PEOPLE WANT TO MAKE SURE

THAT THEY SEE THIS EXHIBIT?

>> WELL, FIRST OF ALL, TO

EXPERIENCE THE KINSHIP WITH

PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD, THE

WAYS THAT WE DO SHARE THESE

OCEANS TOGETHER AND IT IS VERY

MOVING AND REALLY BEAUTIFUL,

EVEN THOUGH IT'S A TROUBLING --

A TROUBLING -- DEEPLY TROUBLING

STORY, BUT ALSO TO EXPERIENCE A

LITTLE BIT OF HOPE.

AND TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU

AND I AND ALL OF US TOGETHER CAN

DO.

>> ALL RIGHT, WELL, I WANT TO

THANK BOTH OF MY GUESTS, KADIR,

I HOPE I'M PRONOUNCING YOUR NAME

CLOSE TO CORRECT, WHO OF COURSE

IS THE ARTIST BEHIND THIS

AMAZING EXHIBIT TITLED "RISING

TIDE: VISUALIZING THE HUMAN COST

OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS."

AND OF COURSE, THANK YOU TO

SARAH HENRY, THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR

FOR MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW

YORK.

THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US.

>> THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU.

STREAM METROFOCUS ON

  • ios
  • apple_tv
  • android
  • roku
  • firetv

FEATURED PROGRAMS