May 29 2014
Jillian Kay Melchior
Columbia University is spending a $5.7 million federal grant to produce fake voicemails depicting people calling friends and loved ones during emergencies caused by climate-change. The effort is part of a National Science Foundation backed project to educate American adults about climate change.
Campus Reform’s Kat Timpf reports on the taxpayer-backed campaign:
“If the tsunami doesn’t get us, the heat might,” a man says in a voicemail to his mother set in 2065. “I’m just calling to say I love you and I miss you and it might be the last time you hear my voice. Bye.”
Other callers include a man screaming as he is suddenly swallowed up by a giant tsunami and a woman desperately gasping for air because she is “out of CO2 credits.”
. . . The website featuring the fake voicemails, called Future Coast, was created in response to these guidelines.
Other predictions foretold in the voicemails include that all of the glaciers in the Sierra Nevada will be gone by 2038, and that most of the coasts and beaches will “have disappeared” by 2059.
In a voicemail set in 2020, a frustrated man tells his mother he can’t afford to attend Thanksgiving dinner because a family member spent all of his money on hurricane-simulation booths which are now useless because “everyone has been in a gosh darn hurricane now.”
Columbia received the grant in September of 2012, and it expires in August 2017.
Read the whole thing here.
— Jillian Kay Melchior is a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. She is also a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.