Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Protecting Florida without saying ‘climate change’

  • Written by  Chris Fitch
  • Published in Climate
Protecting Florida without saying ‘climate change’
26 Feb
2019
New legislation in Florida aims to solve various environmental issues, and prepare the state for a more unpredictable future. But don’t mention the words ‘climate change’

For Florida, the quality of our water and environmental surroundings are foundational to our prosperity as a state,’ declared new Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, when he took office at the start of the year. Having chosen environmental issues as a key component of his run in the November 2018 election, DeSantis, a Republican,  immediately made action on environmental protection a top priority, including opposing offshore drilling and fracking. He also announced an additional $2.5billion over four years for Everglades protection and restoration.

‘DeSantis did campaign on a stronger environmental platform, and as you saw with the executive order he issued shortly after he’d been inaugurated, it looks like he intends to follow through on that,’ says David Zierden, state climatologist at the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, Florida State University. ‘Most Floridians are very encouraged by that. Almost all the provisions in this executive order are addressing current problems with water quality and water management. Everglades restoration, and trying to get the whole south Florida hydrology closer to its natural state, has been an ongoing problem.’

shutterstock 727764916The aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys

Despite this seemingly strong environmental agenda, DeSantis did not once use the words ‘climate change’, and neither did his executive order. ‘That went along with the previous governor, Rick Scott, who served two terms for eight years, and his culture of not mentioning the words “climate change”,’ explains Zierden. ‘It’s a politically charged subject. It was probably a good transition not to stress climate change and bring that kind of emotion into it.’

Yet the legislation did specifically include the creation of an Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection, to provide funding and technical assistance to communities and habitats adversely affected by the rising seas that will inevitably threaten the Sunshine State in the coming years. ‘With this executive order,’ assures Zierden, ‘I think more Floridians are hopeful that climate science and climate change will be a consideration in all these environmental issues going forward.’

 This was published in the March 2019 edition of Geographical magazine

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter and get a free collection of eBooks!

geo line break v3

Related items

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Climate

Climate change is bringing earlier, dangerous 'false springs', longer summers…

Wildlife

A victory for conservation, South Africa has announced plans to…

Energy

The UK has made little progress decarbonising heating, but a significant source…

Nature

The concept of 'natural capital', where the value of nature…

Geophoto

Prestigious photography competition returns for a fourth year

Climate

Founded in the USA by Denis Hayes, Earth Day became…

Geophoto

Tom Goldner's project Do Brumbies Dream in Red? is an intimate portrayal…

Wildlife

Not your usual tune: translating spider's silk into sound could…

Oceans

Millions of oysters have been rescued from the struggling shellfish…

Climate

History is littered with examples of fungi helping to digest…

Geophoto

The streets of Philadelphia are home to a small and forgotten…

Geophoto

When photographer Matthew Maran first snapped a fox he had…

Wildlife

Coloradans have voted to reintroduce grey wolves to the state

Energy

Covid-19 provides an opportunity to re-assess the supply chains of…

Geophoto

Andrea DiCenzo is a photojournalist, who has covered conflicts for…

Oceans

Field observations of corals around the world reveal that not…

Climate

The Great Plains of the USA are once again getting…

Climate

Attempts to build a digital twin of the Earth could…

Oceans

Food systems will need to change as the global population…