Vice founder Shane Smith on sea level rise: Why the f*ck aren't we freaking the f*ck out?
Shane Smith, co-founder of Vice Media, talks to Joe Rogan during a podcast (Screenshot)

The rising sea level is horrible for everyone except the most wealthy and violent among us, according to the CEO of Vice Media.

Vice co-founder Shane Smith said on The Joe Rogan Experience last week that his trip to the South Pole had left him in "an existential crisis."

"The arctic is melting, Greenland is melting. Everyone is now is like, 'Yeah, yeah, OK we will give you that. But Antarctica is actually gaining in ice, so it is kind of evening itself out,'" he said.

Rather than dismiss the climate change skeptics claims, Smith said that Vice took a team of scientist to Antarctica to investigate.

They found that Antarctic sea ice was, in fact, increasing. But the skeptics had failed to note the important difference between land ice and sea ice, Smith said.

"[Sea ice] is like an ice cube that is already in the glass," he explained. "Land ice, the shit that is melting, is like putting new ice in the glass."

Sea level rise is a consequence of global warming, which causes glaciers and ice sheets on the land to melt, adding more water to the ocean.

"So I go down there with all these different scientists, and I go on planes with lasers and radar to fucking measure everything, and all these dudes and scientists are like 'Oh, fuck yeah.' Like, bored. Like, it's a given. It's melting. We're done. It's going to fucking melt. And we're like, well, why don't we know about that?"

The scientists said the sea level could rise by up to three or four meters. "That remaps the world," Smith remarked. "Shouldn't we be making a bigger fucking deal about this?"

"You know me, I'm not a treehugger. I'm a fucking beer-drinking, football-loving, steak-eating guy, but when I see shit like this I go: Uhh, why the fuck aren't we freaking the fuck out? Because all the wars in the world don't matter if we have three or four meters of sea level rise."

The rising seas won't directly result in deaths, because people can move away from the coasts, Smith said. The problem was the massive displacement of people would result in urban chaos, he added, noting the mass migrations of people in Bangladesh.

"You go to the cities and everything breaks down, nothing works, there are 20 million people in a city that's built for 2 million people," he explained. "It is just crazy. When you see it, you go, 'Oh, rich people will be able to move up the hill, or to Colorado, or whatever the fuck it is, and everyone else has to stay in the garbage heaps.'"

A study released last year predicted that more than 1,700 cities in the United States would be partially underwater by 2100.

"If there is going to be hundreds of millions of people forced to move because of this, that is going to cause chaos -- chaos generally isn't good for anyone who isn't a young 20-year-old with a club," Smith said.

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