Saturday, December 3, 2011

Global warming could devastate Florida, but many unconcerned

Phil McNichol in the Sun Times (Ontario): There are many places on earth where the effects of global warming and climate change could be economically, socially and environmentally catastrophic, depending on the severity of such things as rising sea levels, drought, and the increased frequency of extreme weather events.

Florida is one of those places. Its population of close to 19 million makes it the fourth most populous state in the U.S. It's the state with the lowest elevation on average, with much of the land in south and central Florida along the highly developed coastal areas and inland barely above sea level. Much about global warming and its effects remains inconclusive and needs more study, hopefully with the support of concerned people and governments around the world. But the basic point, that it is happening, and that to some significant extent will have big impact on the world's natural environment and human life as we know it, should be indisputable by now.

But it's not, even here in Florida where I've been for the past week, visiting my sister and her family, enjoying their wonderful hospitality and everything that makes Florida a favorite winter destination for Canadian "snowbirds" looking for a refuge from our still relatively hard winters. I haven't missed our grey late November one little bit.

But one thing Florida appears to have in common with Ontario, and Canada for that matter, is an apparent general public disinterest in global warming and the effects it might have on our separate and shared natural environments in the years to come. The impact may not be that great on the present generation, but our children and their children may live to see the consequences of modern humanity's largely careless attitude toward the environment since the start of the industrial revolution a little more than two centuries ago. They will also see the consequences and pay the price in more ways than one of public apathy government inaction in the face of an unfolding crisis that demanded action....

The beach in Destin, Florida, shot by Mark Griffin

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