As temperatures rise and hurricanes become even more violent, we must act. Florida boasts coral reefs, but they are slowly dying due to acidification, and exotic plant and animal species are moving northward on the peninsula as colder weather retreats. Therefore, FWF pushes for action on a state and national level to meet this challenge.
Climate Change in Florida
Global temperatures have been recorded systematically since 1850 and it is clear that the Earth has heated with temperatures spiking since the 1970’s. Land temperatures have risen more quickly than ocean surface temperatures, but these vast watery expanses are also being impacted by the melting ice caps. Global heat records are being set almost every year since 2000, with 17 of the 18 hottest years being recorded since the turn of the century. Increased heat means an alteration in local climates, more severe storms and hurricanes, more droughts and rising sea levels as saltwater expands.
Rising seas are, of course, a great concern for Florida, a state with 3,150 miles of shoreline. Major cities like Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville and Pensacola are on the coast and home to millions of residents. Miami has for years experienced “sunny day” high tides and saltwater in the streets. Moreover, as the heavier saltwater encroaches on the land, it pushes back the underground freshwater we rely on to drink and survive. This is due to our karstic geology: most of the state is underpinned by swiss-cheese like limestone.
This new normal is costing us. The US Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a plan costing $5.5 billion just to save a few thousand homes in the Florida Keys. Our natural landscapes and inhabitants are also feeling the impact.
Florida’s magnificent coral reefs are suffering from ocean acidification and invasive plants and animals, once stopped from northward expansion by cold winters, are now moving up the peninsula. Brazilian pepper is creeping towards Jacksonville along I-95 and giant non-native lizards, like the tegu, now plague our once natural habitats. To mitigate this ongoing threat, FWF has for many years pushed for increased use of renewable energy sources. We are the Sunshine State and should be a leader in solar power generation.
Many nations in Europe have made great strides in changing to renewable, non-polluting energy and we need to do the same. This will lessen our dependence on carbon-based sources that produce greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that trap heat in our atmosphere and cause temperatures to rise.
FWF was also the lead advocate and promoter of the successful effort to completely ban oil and gas drilling in our state’s coastal waters. Not only would a spill devastate our beachfront habitats and decimate wildlife such as sea turtles and shorebirds, but such activity would endanger our tourism-based economy.
Now more than ever, Florida needs your help
Few places on the planet are more at risk from the climate crisis than Florida, where more than 21 million residents are affected by the convergence of almost every modern environmental challenge.Join