From left: Jimmy Evans, Sam Van Leer, and Jack Edmondson

Think about this for a moment: a child born today can expect oceans to rise one to four feet in their lifetimes; Miami is projected to experience over a foot of sea level rise by the year 2050 and anywhere from 10 to 30 feet by the end of the century.  Add to this that not a single viable solution has been proposed that would keep Miami above water at current sea level rise projections, then the fact that Miami will likely one day be underwater should start to sink in, pun intended.  That is the reality of climate change.  Whether you choose to believe it or not, we’re already feeling and seeing its effects and here in Miami where we sit upon porous limestone, the future of our city is at great risk.

That’s why filmmakers Jimmy Evans and Jack Edmondson decided to make Urban Paradise, to bring awareness to a topic that effects everyone yet is so misunderstood and downplayed by many.  The film follows Sam Van Leer, the charismatic environmentalist and founder of Urban Paradise Guild (UPG) whose single organizing principle is to fight the causes and effects of climate change in order to protect Miami’s future.  Sam has been planting mangroves both at sea level and above it for the past 10 years in order to protect our communities from massive inundations of water and he’s very vocal about trying to enact changes and policies that will help mitigate the inevitability of climate change and all its causes.  In Urban Paradise you’ll learn more about Sam and why UPG’s work is so important and you’ll hear from other climate change experts explain sea level rise and how it is and will continue to effect Miami.

For their first feature length film, Jimmy and Jack do not shy away from taking on such a contentious issue that is only now beginning to get more recognition in the public sphere.  We hope Urban Paradise and this conversation will only help in continuing to move this topic to the forefront so we can all be better prepared to face this global crisis.

We hope you enjoy the conversation,

Alex and Jeanette
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  • Sam: “We’re now facing an existential crisis – climate change, sea level rise, and so I founded UPG to protect the city’s future.”
  • Sam: “The single organizing principle of Urban Paradise Guild is to fight the causes and effects of climate change in order to protect our future.”
  • Sam: “The reality is we all become climate refugees when Miami drowns.”
  • Sam: “There are no such things as environmental problems, there are only environmental symptoms of human problems and only we can solve those.”
  • Jimmy: “I hope people walk away from the film knowing that there’s this huge issue facing us, this huge problem that needs to be dealt with, but that they can do something about it.”
  • Sam: “Unfortunately, climate change is gonna dominate the life of every child being born today for the rest of their lives.  This is gonna be the single biggest issue that humans deal with for the rest of their lives, for the next 200 years if not longer.”
  • Sam: “Inhabitability is a function of how well, how much we can live here, how long we can live here on the worst days of our lives.”


Jack: The Collected Works of Lu Xun

Jimmy: Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart and This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein 


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