Exit, Exit, Enter

You know, climate change is real right, Florida?
March 9, 2016, 10:48 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , , ,


It is March 9th, it is 77º Fahrenheit and you’re packing up your car for a spring break day at the beach. This is Florida. In the winter. Oak-lined streets, and fence-lined houses. Glasses – check. More importantly, Sunglasses – check. Sunscreen, Suburbs. A few sandhill cranes slowly walk across the street from St. Augustine grass-covered lawn to lawn as you drive out of your neighborhood.. because the wetlands they used are for whatever reason gone.

The seat’s hot in the car, but not nearly as hot as when it’ll be 90º around 2:30pm. Your shirt starts to cling to your skin like a plastic grocery bag from Publix, a local grocery store, on your sunscreen-covered arm. An hour this way, an hour that way – today’s a short beach day.. you know, cus that’s what people in Florida do. Ah… you finally find a parking spot amidst the sea of Ontario and New England license plates. After all, we’re never for lack of ocean or water here. Seagulls glide over-head waiting for the unwary beachgoer to leave a bag of chips unoccupied. Just please don’t do that. Just a little later in the day mosquitoes buzz, just when the sun starts to set a bit early. You know, because it is still winter.

It’s paradoxical, and involves an odd mix of feelings of awe and indifference, growing up in the outdoors in Florida. Like most states that get a lot of tourism for their nature (e.g. beaches), we Floridians have an interesting relationship with it. On one hand, fishing brings in over a million tourists to the state in a year, and yet many invasive species, with expanding distributions due to changing climate, and overfishing itself threatens it. Beaches are the one of the top draws for tourists coming into the state. Yet, rising ocean levels are predicted to make the most notable of them, along with their accompanied cities, partly disappear within the century. Florida is also one of the few states in the USA that has an increasing number of mosquito-born diseases. You know, because it’s warming.

In this state we’re used to the warm weather – not that that is what climate change necessarily entails. But, we’re used to it being hot and it being erratic. All too familiar are the afternoon summer cumulus clouds that roll in to thundering applause (we are the thunderstorm capital of the U.S., after all).

The question remains: with the economy and everyday habit of Floridians so closely tied to the goings and happenings of the outdoors and climate, why is there such a disconnect between this and legislation geared towards ameliorating these very apparent future problems?

With tourism and recreation, fishing and beach-going, disease-outbreak and livelihood so clearly engendered by our increasingly tropical subtropical climate, what gives?

When will crony capitalism and bunkered-in obstinate politics result in major parts of Florida disappearing and ceasing to be the retirement-home vacation haven that is? Now that I actually type that all out, maybe losing half of Boca Raton, Miami, and Tampa Bay may not be all that bad for our self-image within the country. Who needs an economy or a bougie, care-free beach lifestyle anyway?

It is natural for humans to be short-sighted. It is also natural for Floridians to want to be outside to play or eat or do what have you. Our weather is better than everyone else’s, it makes sense. It isn’t natural however or even slightly comfortable for us admit that many of our coastal cities, both in Florida and around the world, are going to be drastically affected by changing climate (and not in a good way). Whether you believe or not the 97+% of the experts that say we* have caused the climate be more erratic and increasingly warm, at the very least you have to believe that is becoming more erratic and increasingly warm.

That is undeniable.

And if that is undeniable, we have to get off our collective a**es and do something about it (hint – first step: say the words “climate change”). If not for the annoyingly long-term disease or economic benefits, but just to simply enjoy a day at the beach with our kids in the beginning of March. You know, right in the middle of winter.


*Yes, perhaps these experts that have committed countless Ph.D.’s to the subject are all conspiring for a liberal agenda to fund the plethora of corrupt renewable energy companies (hint: those don’t exist).


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