Florida “Is In Deep Peril” And Climate Change Can Turn It into the “Sunset State”

by Bobby Reyes

Florida Bay Sunset | Photo by Everglades NPS via Wikimedia Commons

Part XXVI: “Florida, the State of the Future” Series

For this Wednesday’s piece, this columnist features the observations of Diane Roberts, a member of a Floridian family that “goes back eight generations.” Ms. Roberts wrote that her “state is in deep peril.” Today, her article quoted in this column reinforces the various suggestions that our team of writers in the Philippine Daily Mirror had discussed for the past 25 episodes or parts of this series.

After Hurricane Ian devastated a good portion of Florida, the state’s policy, decision-makers, and voters must put their Thinking Caps on — as we said earlier. If Floridians want their land to be the first “State of the Future,” they must pave the way for concrete changes in how they and other stakeholders can save Florida for future generations. Yes, save not only themselves but also for North America and our common matriarch, Mother Earth.

“Despite entrepreneurs’ best efforts at Disneyfication, though, Florida is an actual place, with actual people. Our natural ecosystem can handle wind and flood, but our built environment cannot. At some point, everyone—the chambers of commerce, the construction lobby, Big Agriculture, Floridians old and new—will have to acknowledge that our state is in deep peril. The seas are rising an inch every three years. It’s raining more, flooding more, and staying hotter for longer, keeping the water warm and fueling bigger, badder storms.” Thus, Ms. Roberts wrote Florida’s Fatal Attraction” in The Atlantic.

Ms. Roberts teaches at Florida State University. She is the author of Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America.

“Our natural ecosystem can handle wind and flood, but our built environment cannot. At some point, everyone—the chambers of commerce, the construction lobby, Big Agriculture, Floridians old and new—will have to acknowledge that our state is in deep peril.”

–Diane Roberts

We concur with the conclusion of Ms. Roberts that, indeed, Florida is in peril. But there is time — at least two-to-three generations in the foreseeable future — to implement concrete suggestions, especially those backed by the exercise of suffrage by Floridians. And provided further that the suggestions are turned into viable feasibility studies and environmental-impact reports.

Our first suggestion is for Florida to help in completing the education of medical professionals, train and help them become Board certified so that they can fill up at least half of the expected 13 million shortage of nurses by 2030. The 6.5-million new nurses may not necessarily live in the Sunshine State because they will be assigned to hospitals and clinics in more than 100 countries that employ trained and experienced foreign workers. But these nurses will become stakeholders of Florida’s well-defined bright future — even if most of them will ultimately return to their home state or foreign nations where they come from. Their stake is not only for investment and retirement purposes but also as their token of gratitude for helping them complete their education in the medical field.

Many individuals want to contribute inputs that will improve the collective efforts to turn Florida into a “State of the Future” for the good of humanity. Perhaps, Ms. Roberts may permit us to reproduce her article in The Atlantic in a forthcoming book about this series. The publication will also carry positive comments sent in by readers.

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