Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Big Thanks to CBC, CBS, and CNN for Sinkhole Coverage

I want to thank a number of news organizations for their outstanding coverage of sinkholes in Florida.

On Monday I had about a dozen interviews on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation including all of the major urban markets and important smaller markets where sinkholes are common.  It was a real pleasure to talk to so many hosts.  I learned a bit more about the types of sinkhole issues that Canada is facing.  For example, Calgary had a number of sinkholes that formed recently due to extreme flooding events.  You can listen to my Calgary interview, which is typical of many of the other interviews, here.

On Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of meeting an outstanding studio crew at CBS News in Manhattan where they filmed an interview segment with me about sinkholes.  The host was the very talented Anne-Marie Green.  She and her producer and technical staff did a wonderful job of making me feel welcome and at ease.  It was a bit daunting to be filmed for national news.  Here is a selfie I took of myself before the interview in the CBS This Morning Studio where I waited before I went on the main CBS News set.  Wow!  What a great experience and what a professional group of people.  My admiration for media talent just went up 11 notches on my Spinal Tap media rating scale.  Anne-Marie and her crew were karst-knowledgeable and extremely kind to me.  Below is a clip of my appearance.

Finally, I have to thank CNN for posting my opinion piece about Florida sinkholes. You can read it here.  Several folks contributed edits to the original draft.  I am really grateful for their assistance.  It has already received a great deal of attention and I have heard from a number of important people in the sinkhole/karst community in Florida in support of my post.  The Website, gave the piece amazing visibility.

Plus, the Hofstra media relations team were extremely supportive in trying to get my message out.  The CNN venue shed light on the issues that many people are facing in Florida.  It is striking to see a tourist resort collapse, but many homeowners are dealing with sinkhole problems every day.  It is easy to overlook the long-term problems of the geologic instability that Floridians deal with on an ongoing basis.

Before my readers think this message is all about self promotion, please note that the whole purpose of trying to get the message out about Florida sinkholes is to try to develop better protection for the people of the state of Florida.  We don't need any more loss of life, any more tragic resort collapses, or any more environmental disasters.  We need research and sound policy.  I hope in some way I have added to a conversation that will result in real improvements in Florida sinkhole science and policy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are adequate geotechnical engineering tools available to assist in assessing the risk of sinkholes developing in a particular site. However, it should be recognized that what is under the surface does not have a consistent pattern. It is very difficult to determine where sound rock of adequate thickness begins and ends. You can only drill holes and hope that you have enough coverage to provide the necessary information. In over twenty years of experience in Orange County, FL, I saw many examples where experienced engineers provided adequate engineering to assess the potential and provide remedial solutions where appropriate. However this is expensive. Disney's EPCOT site is an example of where the investigative coverage and resulting engineering/construction was extensive and to my knowledge has so far proved adequate. There is a huge base of geotechnical engineering available, but it is expensive.