EDITORIAL: From Change To Crisis

Not too many years ago we began to hear about Global Warming. If we were hearing it in the middle of a northeast winter that didn't sound all that bad. It sounded like, well, Florida.

Over time, and not all that much time, Global Warming morphed into Climate Change. In most recent times Climate Change has turned into Climate Crisis.

All this in about twenty years. But of course the foundation for our Climate Crisis goes back several hundred years. 

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Well, several hundred years of an evolving crisis collided with Florida last week for just a couple of days and the effect on the Sunshine State, its southwest portion in particular, has been tragic and devastating.

Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones, their homes, their dreams.

The same goes for the people of Puerto Rico, Maritime Canada, indeed all areas of the world where people have suffered the hammer blow of violent nature.

Florida, however, is a standout in all of this because of its special and very particular hold on the  American psyche.

Americans have been moving to Florida for decades. If not moving then visiting for sunny vacations under blue skies and palm trees. if neither then just dreaming about the place.

Many who moved are moving again, forced from their familiar places by Hurricane Ian, a meteorological monster that showed no regard for the works of man.

Floridians are facing a number of questions in the aftermath of Ian. For many it is simply how to survive sudden and catastrophic loss.

No effort should be spared in helping those who have suffered these losses. Politics has to be set aside and the resources of all agencies, local, state and federal, should be brought to bear for as long as it takes to set things right for folks.

But perhaps not to restore exactly to the way things were.

Once again a natural event is posing questions about development versus nature. 

Florida has been experiencing a population boom and every day more and more of the state loses natural ground to development.

Can this pattern continue?

Well it can, but the question is should it.

Naturally, there will be rebuilding on a massive scale in the months and years ahead.

But we need to be building other things too such as natural barriers to sea level rises and storm surges.

The Chinese military are building artificial islands in the South China Sea, albeit for nefarious purposes.

Is it possible to create new islands off our coastlines? Barriers to protect barriers.

Should we be building houses differently? Should we be living right on top of our shorelines?

These are questions that have been around for years.

Well, they are back around again, and with added urgency as we move deeper into the time of Climate Crisis and ever more furious storms.

Meantime, we have to help in any and all ways we can those who have had their lives upended, those who have seen their dreams shattered.

They have to be allowed to dream again.