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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Geography

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - South

Sinking Cities: Miami


  • This video outlines the serious challenges facing Miami, Florida from extreme weather and sea level rise due to climate change. 
  • Climate scientists, engineers, government officials, and activists share their ideas on the best way for Miami to move forward during the climate crisis. 


  • This video covers many topics, including sea level rise, king tides, mangrove forests, extreme weather, rapidly intensifying hurricanes, freshwater aquifers, climate-resilient architecture, and environmental justice.
  • The video features a concrete example of environmental injustice called climate change gentrification. Developers are buying real estate in historically redlined low-income communities and communities of color because they sit on higher ground. Valencia Gunder, a resident of the predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood of Liberty City, speaks about climate change gentrification in her community.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It is hard to overstate the challenges Miami faces in the 21st century. Make sure students are aware that it is the most at-risk city in the United States from sea level rise.


  • You could have different students take notes on different aspects of this video. Students could then share their notes with their peers.
  • You could have students debate the following question: "Should Miami Beach be abandoned?"
  • It would be valuable to remind your students about the enormous resources (money, technology, highly educated citizens, etc.) available in the United States to build climate-resilient infrastructure. In the video, Roy Coley, the Public Works Director in Miami Beach, shows how one street in South Beach was raised by thirty inches to help prevent flooding. You could have students compare that type of infrastructure with the resources available in places like Tuvalu, Mauritania, or Bangladesh.

This resource spotlights how coastal cities are exposed to climate change. Sea level rise can accelerate their disappearance. Resource is valid, and there is no misconception about the facts presented. Hence, recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.12.6-8 Explain how global changes in population distribution patterns affect changes in land use in particular places.
      • D2.Geo.12.9-12 Evaluate the consequences of human-made and natural catastrophes on global trade, politics, and human migration.
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