President Barack Obama will speak in the Everglades on Wednesday to discuss climate change, a rising concern in Florida that will surely be a 2016 election issue.
When Obama arrives in Florida on Earth Day, he plans to use the Everglades as an example of what the state will lose if serious action is not taken to prevent the effects of humans on the environment. Hopefully Gov. Rick Scott will be near Obama, as Scott needs to hear how the state is at major risk when it comes to the dangers of global warming.
It may be hard for Obama’s message to go far when the governor has a history of not liking certain key words that may come up in the president’s speech. These touchy words include “climate change” and “global warming,” words that, as reported in the Miami Herald, the Scott administration ordered workers at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) not to use.
Forbidding members of the DEP to say “climate change” is a foolish method to maintain ignorance of an issue that Scott for some reason believes is just too complicated to understand.
Using Scott’s least favorite words might make the governor heat up, but some effort must be made to convince the state that global warming is a serious threat. This is especially crucial since senior scientist Jane Long of the Environmental Defense Fund told the Tampa Bay Times the Tampa area will be underwater before the century has ended as sea levels rise due to global warming.
In response to his thoughts on global warming, Scott has pulled the “I’m not a scientist” card, according to the Miami Herald, as a way to halt discussing the issue. Similarly, 2016 hopeful and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also admitted to not being “a scientist” and doubts that humans have as much of an impact on the planet as is claimed, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
There is another politician who is not a scientist, and that is Obama. However, Obama appears to have done the next best thing and actually spoken with experts. As reported in the Tampa Bay Times, he and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy have met with public experts and listened when the Pentagon stated the dangers of climate change.
Obama is able to get over the challenge of not being a scientist, but two leading Florida politicians fail to hear their constituents understand global warming as a real threat.
The Washington Post dissected an analysis by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, and the results show the tide of public opinion rising in favor of admitting humans have a very real effect on the climate. According to the Yale study, 58 percent of Floridians believe humans have at least some impact on global warming.
With a majority of Floridians acknowledging global warming and humans’ role in the issue, it may be time for Scott and Rubio to stop being doubters and start looking for solutions. The Obama administration has been boasting the country’s growth with wind power and solar energy resources, as reported in the Tampa Bay Times. Even Rubio’s premature presidential race rival, Hillary Clinton, is building a platform that will make clean energy and
climate change a top priority.
Floridians can only hope that with more pressure from voters and with Obama’s visit this Earth Day, some of the top Republican politicians in Florida will stop denying and start helping.
Adam Mathieu is a junior majoring in studio art.