Climate Change By Any Other Name...

Climate Change By Any Other Name...

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#ClimateChange by any other name... via @SaraGBM @greenbuildermag

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Green Builder Media

Green Builder Media CEO, Sara Gutterman

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 9:00am

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living


What’s in a name? As Shakespeare orated in his epic love story Romeo and Juliet, “that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” But in Florida Governor Rick Scott’s world, the perils of a warming planet are somehow diminished simply by changing the words we use to refer to them.

According to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, Scott, recently reelected to a second term, commanded environmental officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)—the very agency in charge of setting the state’s conservation policy and enforcing environmental laws—to stop using the terms “climate change”, “global warming, and “sustainability” in official communications, reports, and emails—an immensely ironic action considering that Scott governs a state that is precariously positioned on the front lines of climate change.

Even “sea level rise” was under temporary siege (provisionally replaced by “nuisance flooding”) despite the fact that rising sea levels are expected to submerge up to 30% of the Florida coast over the next 85 years.

Beyond strange wordplay, Scott seems to be avoiding the environmental realities that his state is facing. Florida has already been hit hard by superstorms and climate events. Sea level rise has already caused extensive flooding at high tide in the southern part of the state. Salt water has already contaminated drinking water. Heavy rain during exacerbated storms has already impaired stormwater drainage systems. And warming temperatures and increasing ocean acidification have caused extensive damage to coral reefs surrounding Florida’s sandy white beaches.

In what seemed like a moment of enlightenment, Scott recently unveiled a $106 million proposal to deal with “the effects of rising oceans”. Sustainability advocates waited with bated breath, but were sorely disappointed: $50 million of that amount was allocated towards a sewage plant in the Keys and $25 million for beach restoration—hardly a viable plan to protect homes, communities, and key infrastructure from the threats of climate change.


CATEGORY: Environment