By John Hocevar
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew ripped through southeast Florida, doing more than $26 billion in damage and killing at least 65 people. At the time, I was working on a masters degree in marine biology in southeast Florida; several of my close friends lost their homes during the storm.
Our marine lab was at the end of a barrier island and there were so many overturned Australian pines along the road that it looked like someone had dumped a giant bag of Lincoln Logs. I remember helping friends move their belongings off houseboats and out of trailers to higher and safer ground, and the mint green color of the sky just before our transformer blew up.
Houses surrounded by water in St. Augustine, Florida Oct. 8 in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.Marc Serota / Greenpeace
Strangest of all, I remember being asked to shoot holes in the deck of a yacht to try to put it on the bottom and prevent it from destroying everything else by being thrown around by wind and storm surge.
Two decades later, another devastating storm—Hurricane Matthew—has wreaked havoc in the southeastern U.S. and claimed more than 1,000 lives in Haiti.
The Link Between Climate Change and Hurricane Season
For a long time, the science has been clear that our reliance on fossil fuels has not only been heating our planet, but also fueling bigger and more devastating storms.
It has also been clear for a long time that Florida, with its expansive coastline covered with high rise hotels and condominiums often just a few feet above sea level, is among one of the most vulnerable places in the world to extreme weather heightened by climate change.
Property damaged along the coast in St. Augustine, Florida Oct. 8 in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.Marc Serota / Greenpeace
I studied coral reef conservation in grad school. At the time, coral bleaching was a new phenomenon, and no one had yet imagined that coral reefs might be driven to extinction in the coming decades. Much of Florida's reef tract has been given State Park or National Marine Sanctuary status, but in recent years it has been dying so quickly you can almost watch it happen.
Climate-driven bleaching is one of the main culprits, with implications for a tourism industry that brings 100 million people and $50 billion to Florida each year.
Climate Change and the Politics of Denial
By outright denying the science of climate change and the threat it poses to his state, Florida Gov. Scott has utterly failed the people of Florida.
Now that the waters receded and the power is back on, we need to think carefully about whether climate deniers like Gov. Scott are suitable candidates to take responsibility for our future.
Instead of working to reduce carbon emissions and build strategies to cope with climate impacts like sea level rise, erosion, flooding, saltwater intrusion, insect-borne disease outbreaks and extreme heat, he has stuck his head in Florida's sand. Famously, Scott even banned state employees from using the phrase climate change. This would be irresponsible anywhere, but in a state like Florida on the frontlines of the climate battle, it borders on criminal negligence.
Boats are damaged and sunk in St. Augustine, Florida, Oct. 8 in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.Marc Serota / Greenpeace
Scott has been busy dealing with the impacts of Hurricane Matthew on Florida's people, environment and businesses, which left more than 1,000 dead in Haiti and is the worst to hit Florida in decades.
Now that the waters receded and the power is back on, we need to think carefully about whether climate deniers like Scott—and his party's presidential nominee Donald Trump—are suitable candidates to take responsibility for our future.
"Yes - Donald Trump Is a Threat to the Planet" | My latest commentary at @EcoWatch: https://t.co/Uhzxwsvlo1 #MadhouseEffect— Michael E. Mann (@Michael E. Mann)1475500481.0
For a growing number of people who suffer at the hands climate-denialist politics, the answer is clear.
John Hocevar is a trained marine biologist and an accomplished campaigner, explorer and marine scientist, John has helped win several major victories for marine conservation since becoming the director of Greenpeace's oceans campaign in 2004.
By Brett Wilkins
One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Scientists Discover New Population of Endangered Blue Whales ... ›
- Endangered Blue Whales Make 'Unprecedented' Comeback to ... ›
- Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale Calves Spotted Off Coast ... ›
- Only 366 Endangered Right Whales Are Alive: New NOAA Report ... ›
By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson
The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.
Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.
- Guardian/Vice Poll Finds Most 2020 Voters Favor Climate Action ... ›
- Climate Change Seen as Top Threat in Global Survey - EcoWatch ›
- The U.S. Has More Climate Deniers Than Any Other Wealthy Nation ... ›
By Tara Lohan
Fall used to be the time when millions of monarch butterflies in North America would journey upwards of 2,000 miles to warmer winter habitat.
A monarch butterfly caterpillar feeds on common milkweed on Poplar Island in Maryland. Photo: Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program, (CC BY-NC 2.0)