President Obama used his weekly address today to highlight climate change and the very real consequences of climate change denial, which is now a cornerstone of the Republican Party's policies.
One of the biggest climate deniers is, of course, Florida's Governor Rick Scott, whose administration suspended a state employee who dared to write the term climate change and sent him for a mental health evaluation as a condition for returning to work.
As Earth Day is this week, the President also announced that he is traveling to Florida, ground zero for not only climate change devastation, but ground zero for the denial of climate change altogether. He's planning to visit the Everglades, which is now the center of a dispute over land buys and restoration that was overwhelmingly voted for in the last election. Republicans in the legislature, predictably, are ignoring the will of those voters (again) in favor of Big Sugar, because money speaks louder than votes here in Florida, and the biggest donations go to those most willing to do their bidding.
From President Obama's weekly address:
And the fact that the climate is changing has very serious implications for the way we live now. Stronger storms. Deeper droughts. Longer wildfire seasons. The world’s top climate scientists are warning us that a changing climate already affects the air our kids breathe. Last week, the Surgeon General and I spoke with public experts about how climate change is already affecting patients across the country. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.
And on Earth Day, I’m going to visit the Florida Everglades to talk about the way that climate change threatens our economy. The Everglades is one of the most special places in our country. But it’s also one of the most fragile. Rising sea levels are putting a national treasure – and an economic engine for the South Florida tourism industry – at risk.
So climate change can no longer be denied – or ignored....
....This is an issue that’s bigger and longer-lasting than my presidency. It’s about protecting our God-given natural wonders, and the good jobs that rely on them. It’s about shielding our cities and our families from disaster and harm. It’s about keeping our kids healthy and safe. This is the only planet we’ve got. And years from now, I want to be able to look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to protect it.
If only Scott and the Republicans in Florida would listen. The window for saving the Everglades is closing fast, yet they're more interested in speeding up the clock for the sake of profits, and apparently, about the only way they're addressing sea rise in South Florida is by letting insurance companies profit from homeowners because of it.
Rick Scott and his blind trust will no doubt be long gone when the consequences of his actions destroy what's left of Florida, leaving those who live and work here, and who love this state, behind to suffer the results. He and the GOP don't care what happens to Florida. They can well afford to abandon Florida for greener pastures once they've reaped the rewards, and they probably will. That's why Floridians need to stand up now and say enough is enough. They're ignoring the will of the people, but our voices need to be heard if we're going to save the state from Scott and the GOP. It's time to turn up the volume.
And as for Rick Scott, who likes to talk tough about President Obama, (most recently by suing him for a Medicaid handout he also claimed not to want) I'd be willing to bet the chances that he'll be around for the President's Earth Day visit are slim to none.
It seems like the prefect time for Scott to take a trip to celebrate Earth Day at Big Sugar's King Ranch in Texas with the constituents he really serves.