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JU Prof. White to Men’sHealth: We’ll likely learn to adapt to climate change

Over at Men’s Health, writer Bob Drury has an extended piece on the views of JU’s Dr. A. Quinton White as they relate to global warming.

While White, executive director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute, isn’t exactly cheery about the whole situation in the blog post, he’s decidedly philosophical about man’s ability to adapt to it.

JU Marine Science Research Institute Executive Director Quinton White

Drury links climate change to men’s health by stating there aren’t many other things that could be detrimental to, well … men’s health.

He sought out White and sat down with him in a local coffee shop because some scientists calculate that large swaths of Florida could wind up under water if climate change and rising sea levels continue unabated.

White had much to say about the resiliency of the human species and its ability to adapt to troublesome circumstances, which Drury found refreshing.

Here’s a passage from Drury’s blog:

Yet to my surprise the soft-spoken and professorially handsome Dr. White (dressed appropriately in sharp tweeds) proved to be the most optimistic global warming expert I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I was expecting Cassandra. But as we discussed the probability of the main drag of, oh, say, Vero Beach becoming a tourist attraction for glass-bottomed boats — seriously; check the Architecture 2030 map — White edged into a cautious optimism based on his reading of the history of the human race.

Yes, he granted, long-range climate models indicate a sea-level rise of at least one foot around Florida over the next 100 years. This will turn that “flat” southern fourth of the state into an aquarium. But then in the next breath the professor admitted, “We humans have this tendency to think that we can fix things. Often, we can. And do.”

“Sometimes we may just need to learn to live with things, and adapt to them. What exactly will happen to southern Florida? I don’t know for certain. But will we have adapted to whatever occurs? People are amazingly resilient. So I suspect that what’s going to happen is that we’re going to adapt to these rising sea levels.”

He offered disparate examples of this adaption from America’s recent past. Our attitudes toward littering. The clean-up of Lake Erie (now, sadly, backsliding). The staunching of acid rain. Even the uptick in the popularity of hybrid cars. When, and not if, our coasts do go under, of course, White cautions that some people, like Orwell’s equality, will prove more adaptable than others.

“People will move inland. People will build higher. And, yes, that new reality will favor the younger and stronger.”

Read the entire piece by clicking here.