tv Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien NBC September 22, 2019 5:00am-5:28am PDT
announcer: right now on "matter of fact" -- in the eye of the storm. ana: basically, you don't know what to do, because all of it's gone. announcer: coastal cites on the front lines of a water war, racing to find a way to protect their future. dale: we have to realize you can't stop mother nature, and you cannot stop sea level rise. announcer: could the answer come all the way from amsterdam? soledad: what does it feel like to have your name etched in marble? carla: it means quite a bit. announcer: meet the librarian of congress who isn't just protecting american history. she's making it. plus, the blob is back. but this isn't a hollywood monster. it's a real one that has marine biologists worried. ♪ ♪
soledad: i'm soledad o'brien. welcome to "matter of fact." in the bahamas, the long, underway. hurricane dorian has practically flattened the islandll destruction. . -- the death toll is expected to rise. the category five storm eventually weakened while moving up the atlantic coast. dorian could have been a disaster for south carolina, especially charleston, a low-lying port city. scientists say climate change is causing the sea level to rise there, which means more tidal flooding. over the past 100 years, the sea level in charleston has risen one foot, and is predicted to rise more rapidly over the next five decades, anywhere between a footthis map from the national oceanic and atmospheric administration shows how parts of the city could become inundated with water. as part of our ongoingie there are preparing for what could become charleston's biggest safety and economic
jessica: charleston, south carolina, a place developed around water, dependent on water, and now defending itself against water. dr. dustan: this is a really good example of climate change. it's here. ita™s now. it's not something in the future. jessica: fort johnson, across the harbor from downtown charleston. it's where the first canon of -- the first canon -- cannon of the civil war was fired. today, a new battle -- erosion. dr. dustan: what's happening here as a result of sea level rise is this bank is being eaten away. g traffic,he rising sea alreadyl tourism, ad ndhetense storms also blamed on the changing climate. ana: there's actually dirt inside all of the walls because the foundation is sinking. jessica: ana zimmerman. her home flooded in 2015.
two years later, when hurricane irma hit, she knew it was time to leave. like much of the charleston area, it was built on filled marshland. ana: the house just fills with water, and it's dirty water, and then it starts to bury everything, and you just realize you can't even save everything . jessica: while the city is spending millions on projects like fortifying its sea walls and improving drainage systems, it's wrestling with how to handle the thousands of people moving to charleston every year. critics say it hasn't pumped the brakes fast enough on new around them. mark: what you have to do is look at where you are going to build and how you are going to build there, and you have to make smarter decisions in the future. jessica: we met charleston's chief resilience officer mark wilbert in the church creek basin, where the city recently bought and demolished three dozen flood-prone homes. somewhere for the water to go. mark: we have projects going on
in every area of the city. there is more projects than there is money. and even if there is money, it is going to take time to get it done. jessica: some, like margaret peery, who lives with her special needs son, are taking matters into their own hands. her home the first in charleston's iconic historic district to be elevated, 6 feet higher than it was before. margaret: we either had to sell the house or elevate the house. well, who is going to buy the house? goi to buy a house under construction that has water in it? buz: the original heart of pine structure, yes. jessica: builder buz morris says it was a complicated and costly process, about $400,000. but now dozens more projects like it are underway, as flooded historic homes are losing value. buz: people are looking at that from a money standpoint. they're saying, "if my home is going down 10%, 20%, 30%, is it worth putting in the money to raise it?"
jessica: money those on charleston's east side don't have -- an area challenged by flooding and gentrification. derrick milligan -- his mom has lived here for 80 years. her neighbors not so lucky. derrick: they're being forced out because they don't have flood insurance, so they can't get the renovations they need. everybody is not as fortunate as some of the folks. jessica: many left to the mercy of nonprofits like the sustainability institute, which helps weatherproof homes for those who can't afford it, like bedridden tom jefferson, charleston's vulnerable population matyan: there are soy homeowners that need help and don't have the means to afford the types of upgrades they would need in order to fortify their ho stay. dr. dustan: if we stopped emitting co2 today, it would take over 100 years for the atmosphere to cleanse itself and get back to pre-industrial levels. it is like trying to turn around a great big ship. it's like, how do you slow an aircraft carrier and make a
u-turn? jessica: leaving a city racing against time, forced to adapt to tides of change. in charleston, south carolina, for "matter of fact," i'm jessica gomez. soledad: while charleston escaped the wrath of dorian, there's still more than two months left in this year's hurricane season, which officially ends on november 30. announcer: next on "matter of fact," he's a man on a mission. soledad: are you optimistic or pessimistic that cities are hearing and buying what you're selling? dale: i' adapt to climate change? plus, what's the trouble with harry? who's dog is this? it's my special friend, antonio. his luxurious fur calms my nerves when i'm worried about moving into our new apartment. why don't we just ask geico for help with renters insurance? i didn't know geico helps with renters insurance.
yeah, and we could save a bunch too. antonio! fetch computer! antonio? i'll get it. get to know geico and see how much you could save on renters insurance. diarrhea?! new pepto diarrhea to the rescue! its three times concentrated liquid formula coats and kills bacteria to relieve diarrhea. the leading competitor only treats symptoms. dprevagen is the number onemild memopharmacist-recommendedng? memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
forefront of dutch government policy. yes, because a quarter of the country is below sea level, the to keep the water out. the city had to adapt and learn to manage water. dale morris spent decades working on water management as a senior economist with the royal netherlands embassy. he now works for the water institute of the gulf, which is based in louisiana. so nice to have you with us. dale: thank you for having me. soledad: as you consult with coastal communities, what's the first thing you tell a city? dale: that their floodworl they're rising quickly along the u.s. east coast and in the gulf of mexico. so the challenges are are existential. they're very real. they're very present. and cities need to adapt. waiting for the grace of god to save you is not going to work. people are going to die. capital is going to be lost. businesses are going to move
away. it's a very serious threat. soledad: now you sound scary. when you're talking to people, it seems to me like you have to start with either embracing the philosophy of "we're going to figure out how to live with and manage water" or what i think has existed heretofore, right? which is either "we don't see it" or "we're just going to build a bigger wall. we're just going to push it out." why is embracing the better philosophy than just either ignoring or trying to push the water away? challenges, these cities are facing the economic loss, and the loss of even life is going to accelerate. and it can become these cities will lose some of'o live there. however, living near water brings these threats. so if we learn how to embrace the water, understand what the various types of flood conditions and causes bring, and then adapting to that -- this will take some time. it will take some investment. but it's possible, and i think it's necessary. soledad: the investment is not small. dale: the investment is not small. soledad: managing water is expensive. dale: it is. it is also expensive to spend
$200 billion, $300 billion a year of u.s. tax dollars to rebuild after disasters, and this is what's occurring. if you look at the trends of federal expenditure over the last 20 or 30 years, it has exploded upwards, and so we're paying for this one way or the riher.ese along the coastal rivers to alog rivers, to adapt, i thinon ieese positive. soledad: are you optimistic or pessimistic that cities are hearing and buying what you're selling? dale: i'm often -- i'm a little bit of both. i'm optimistic that more and more places are starting to understand the risks. i'm a bit pessimistic that they're not doing it quickly enough. the investment is lagging, and these kind of adaptations take a generation. so, you know, i'm hopeful that we're starting to adapt, but we're not making the investments quickly enough. soledad: is there anything communities or even individuals can do sort of as a first step? or is it just, hey, it's a lot of money, long-term investment over a lot of time, and we're
already late? dale: everyone and every level of government has a role to play. so individuals at their household level, they can putcat things that -- that small skill level. dunes and ridges that that mitigate surge. you can develop in places where you can store the storte , infiltrate storm water, so you take the pressure off of your drainage systems. and in certain cities big cities -- boston, new york, possibly around hampton roads, miami, new orleans, houston, these essential places in the u.s. economy, you may have to look at perimeter protection. and that is costly, but the evidence shows, as in the netherlands, that the over time, for sure. soledad: it's nice to have you. thank you so much. dale: thank you. announcer: when we come back, picture perfect. could 3d maps get us one giant leap closer to the moon? and it's been called the most beautiful building in washington. soledad: stained glass windows,
books week. since 1982, the event brings together librarians, booksellers, teachers, and readers to celebrate and support the freedom to read, and draw attention to the harm of censorship. according to the american library association, some popular books that were challenged or banned included "the hate u give," by angie thomas. it was deemed "anti-cop." "13 reasons why" -- it was banned for addressing teen suicide. even harry potter has been
caught up in book banning. a priest at a catholic school in tennessee said reading the spells could, quote, " risk conjuring evil spirits." no one is a better champof here in washington, d.c., and i recently sat down with her about the importance of protecting reading for future generations. thanks for talking with me. carla: it's wonderful, and thank you, because this is the nation's library, and it represents what libraries do throughout the country, and communities, on campuses. soledad: have libraries changed dramatically? i mean, when i was a kid, i think libraries were thought of as very special and important. and in those many years, there was less investment. i think some people think they might be less relevant than they were years ago. carla: libraries are still special and important and in different ways. there are libraries that have sections called "beyond books," where you can check out a sewing machine, you can check out tools that you nsodad: out of the lib?
carla: out of the library. the number one thing that people are going into public libraries for now is information about health. and so they're relevant in different ways. soledad: you are the first woman to be the librarian of congress, and when you think about the number of women who are in the field, that's a bit of a shocker. you're the first person of color. and you're the first librarian since 1974. carla: i'm a three-fer, because librarianship is a profession that is a feminized profession. 85% of the workforce is female. however, the top management in most libraries doesn't reflect that fact. so as the first woman to be librarian of congress since 1802, that's something. and the first person of color -- i descended from people who were forbidden by law to read in this country. and to be a person of color at owlehelm of this symbol of
kne and reading and learning and literacy is personally very significant for me. soledad: you famously kept the library in baltimore open during the protests after freddie gray's death, and i think a lot of people would have said, listen, shut it down. tamp it down. just don't open. and you said, "no, we're going to open." why? carla: because we knew in this city that the library was a lifeline. it was directly across from the burning building and the car, and people use that library to really connect with things that help them in their lives. and so the morning after, 10:00, there was a young man there to fill out on the computer a job application, and then two days later, he came back and said, "thank you. i have an interview." so that's why we knew in that time that the library had to be open.
soledad: do you have a favorite volume? i know it's sort of like -- you run the library of congress. you have access to everything. but still -- carla: my favorite book is actually a children's book. it was called "bright april," and i was an eight-year-old little brown girl with pigtails. i was a brownie. and this book was about a brown girl with pigtails. who was a brownie. and that was the first time that i saw myself in a book. it was a window to the world --reading, for me. but it was never a mirror. and that's why "bright april" will always be my favorite book. soledad: you've been in the job for a little over two years. what are you most proud of what you've been able to accomplish? carla: what i'm most proud about is that we are going to really make a push to make our collections accessible online. we've digitized the papers of
rosa parks, the papers of and diary of teddy roosevelt. we've been able to digitize the papers of billy strayhorn, who was the composer that worked with duke ellington. so that's what i'm proud about. we're going to open up this treasure chest. we're going to make it relevant. and so that is what i'm really excited about. soledad: well, congratulations for all that you've accomplished, and all that you still have yet to do. carla: and we want everybody to celebrate and visit their local library. announcr: coming up next, beware of the blob! sounds like sci-fi, but it's a real problem for our oceans. plus, how an out-of-this-world animation will give you a close encounter with earth's nearest neighbor.
♪ one pill makes you larger ♪ and one pill makes you smaller ♪ ♪ and the ones that mother gives you ♪ ♪ don't do anything at all ♪ remember what the dormouse said ♪ welcome aboard. ♪ feed your head soledad: now to a weekly feature we like to call "we're paying attention even if you're too busy." the blob is back. scientists with noaa, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, say a marine
heat wave is building off the west coast. it extends from alaska through california. and it's similar in size to one that appeared in september five years ago that was nicknamed the blob -- the infamous hollywood movie creature that devoured everything it touched. well, sadly, scientists fear this real life marine blob could do something similar. the 2014 blob was blamed for the deaths of millions of fish and thousands of baby sea lions, which starved. that's because the blob raises the water temperature and oxygen levels in the water, thereby damaging the marine ecosystem and making food scarce. government scientists say they are monitoring the heatwave, but hope that the weather will shift and break up the blob before it can do lasting damage. announcer: when we return, buckle up for a tour of the moon. ♪
you know, baker, i can help you with -- with that. oh, no, it's fine. thanks, though. a man should cut his own lawn. [ lawnmower engine rattling ] [ engine starts ] [ lawnmower engine rattling ] sfx: upbeat music a lot of clothes you normally take to the cleaners aren't dirty dirty. they just need a quick refresh. try new febreze clothing quick dry mist. it eliminates odors and refreshes lightly-worn clothing. breathe happy febreze... la la la la la. dprevagen is the number onemild memopharmacist-recommendedng? memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
soledad: and finally, we've seen some incredible images of the moon over the years, but never like this. nasa recently released its most detailed and accurate models of the moon, ever. the researchers created the pictures using what they call "the cgi moon kit." they combined several layers of flat maps that show color, depth, and texture of the moon, including the peaks and valleys on the surface. the maps were then wrapped around a sphere to generate a 3d model. but these are more than just pretty pictures. these 3d images will now serve as a tool. as nasa prepares for the next moon mission, these pictures will help scientists tar the goal is to put the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024. [captioning performed by the i caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ ♪
we start with a river runs through it. the guadalupe river has been a part of the south bay scene for as long as i can remember, but never utilized the way it could or maybe should have been. but guadalupe river park is in the midst of a huge makeover. we'll talk to the designer behind it. then we focus on one of our favorite groups celebrating its 20th year. the kearny street workshop and its upcoming showcase event, apature, first with poet and writer jennifer s. cheng. but we'll talk about the inspiration behind her award-winning work. and we wrap up with musical artist known as versoul, a bay area hip-hop artist, producer, and sound engineer who will be featured at apature. we will talk to her about her new album,