You might think a very low-lying state regularly smashed by hurricanes would be worried about rising seas and warmer oceans powering up bigger storms. If you think this, however, you would be entirely wrong. Because the state of Florida is not worried about global warming. Not a bit. And to show you just how not worried they are, they've banned any employee from the Department of Environmental Protection from even using the words “climate change” or “global warming.” Because nothing says lack of concern like censorship.
To be fair, the ban appears to have no official status. It hasn't even been written down, and a spokesperson for the governor told the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR): “There's no policy on this.” However, as Tom Cruise reminded us in "A Few Good Men," policies don't have to be written down to have force.
Nor has governor Rick Scott explicitly expressed his disbelief in human involvement in global warming, saying “I'm not a scientist.” But when a group of scientists met with Scott, at their request, to explain climate science to him, he listened but asked no questions and gave no indication of a change of heart.
However, FCIR has had former employees, consultants and volunteers tell them the rule is understood in the department with 3,200 staff. “We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’” attorney Christopher Byrd told FCIR. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”
FCIR's sources say the instructions go back to 2011 after Scott was inaugurated and appointed his own man, Herschel Vinyard Jr., as DEP director.
“It’s an indication that the political leadership in the state of Florida is not willing to address these issues and face the music when it comes to the challenges that climate change present,” said Byrd.
In some states, the effects of climate change may be hard to detect so far, but Miami Beach is now experiencing unprecedented flooding, drinking water stocks are being contaminated by salt and the state's tourist-attracting coral reefs are dying.
Despite its abundant sunlight, Florida is lagging behind not just California and Nevada when it comes to installing solar power, but freezing Massachusetts as well, thanks to a lack of state support. The state has even made it illegal for homeowners to rely entirely on electricity they produce themselves.
In an echo of the more famous scene from the aforementioned film, it seems that Florida's legislators can't handle the (inconvenient) truth.
H/T The Guardian