Hello, my name is JaxDem, I live in Jacksonville, Florida about 4 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and I am striving to be a climate change survivor. I am hoping that I and the other residents of this planet are not completely powerless over climate change.
Rising sea levels make Florida the most vulnerable U.S. state and these sea levels are projected to rise along the coastline as much as 2 feet by the year 2060. Add to that the worries of increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes and you get a pretty ferocious monster hiding in the closet.
The following brief video, just over one minute, is projection of how some of our landmarks would look like with the increase in sea level over time:
A few months ago Rolling Stone published a piece entitled Goodbye, Miami which depicted a grim speculation of what could possibly await the second most populous metropolis in the southern United States.
When the water receded after Hurricane Milo of 2030, there was a foot of sand covering the famous bow-tie floor in the lobby of the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach. A dead manatee floated in the pool where Elvis had once swum. Most of the damage occurred not from the hurricane's 175-mph winds, but from the 24-foot storm surge that overwhelmed the low-lying city. In South Beach, the old art-deco buildings were swept off their foundations. Mansions on Star Island were flooded up to their cut-glass doorknobs. A 17-mile stretch of Highway A1A that ran along the famous beaches up to Fort Lauderdale disappeared into the Atlantic. The storm knocked out the wastewater-treatment plant on Virginia Key, forcing the city to dump hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into Biscayne Bay. Tampons and condoms littered the beaches, and the stench of human excrement stoked fears of cholera. More than 800 people died, many of them swept away by the surging waters that submerged much of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale; 13 people were killed in traffic accidents as they scrambled to escape the city after the news spread – falsely, it turned out – that one of the nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, an aging power plant 24 miles south of Miami, had been destroyed by the surge and sent a radioactive cloud over the city.While the above story is assumptive of what climate change in Florida may bring, what is certainly not are the detrimental changes that have already taken place and others on the brink of perhaps irreparable damage. Below is a brief outline of a few of the jewels we stand to lose all along our treasured coastlines from rising temps and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide, both of which are a direct result of greenhouse gasses.
Manatees, Dolphins and Pelicans: The Indian River Lagoon, a 156 mile long estuary running along the Atlantic coast of Florida, is termed an "estuary of national significance" by the federal government due in part by its vast diversity of marine life, plants and animals and its accessibility and direct link to the Atlantic Ocean. The NOAA declared two Unusual Mortality Events in the lagoon this year due to mass aquatic die-offs, one in April and the other in July. Since July of last year we have lost 112 manatees, around 300 pelicans and 54 bottlenose dolphins. Algal blooms and Super blooms have contributed to other existing problems to this important commercial and recreational fishery which encompasses 40 percent of Florida's eastern seaboard.
"Hummingbirds In Action" are the thousands of volunteers of Florida's Oyster Reef Restoration Project who have laid hundreds of "oyster mats" to help stabilize the intertidal reef system. This group was named Team Disney Hero for their passion and dedication and Field and Stream Magazine "Hero" for their important conservation efforts.
Sea Turtles: Five species of sea turtles call Florida waters their home. Three are listed as endangered and one, the loggerhead, is listed as threatened and falls under federal protection.
“I’m very passionate about the environment,” said Chief Cannon Schider-Heisel with the U.S. Coast Guard. “And my job affords me the chance to do that sometimes, where I get to help educate the public about the environment. It’s a facet of my job that I love.”Everglades National Park: This largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. contain lands protected within the park which are the habitat of some rare and endangered species such as the manatee, American crocodile and Florida panther. The marshes with their grasses and exotic plants like the white water lily are home to more than 100 marsh species. Tree islands with their bay, willow and cypress provide a home to many mammals and wading and migratory bird rookeries. The humid environment is ideal for orchids, bromeliads and ferns of breathtaking beauty. Some 350 bird species have been identified in Everglades like the Snail Kite which survives solely on the apple snail; the Wood Stork, Tricolored Herons, Snowy and Great Egrets are the most endangered
Already we have seen mangroves that line the Everglades migrating landward in response to coastal saltwater intrusion. Without a productive mangrove ecosystem saltwater will move inland and result in a loss of freshwater habitat. With average temperatures rising many bird species will lose their food sources. Migrations have been initiated earlier than normal which in turn impacts breeding habits.
A Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was approved in 2000 to restore, protect and preserve the dying ecosystem. At a committee meeting in April, one of the partners in CERP and "Hummingbird In Action", Eric Bush of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that CERP did not take climate change into account when it was created. He emphasized the importance of morphing the restoration plan into an "adaptation plan" for climate change.
We were looking back, now we need to look forward. I don't think the public really understands the implications of climate change (on South Florida).Bush said while we don't yet know how serious the effects of climate change will be, adaptation needs to begin "now, or it will be too late". It is encouraging to note that Bush's sentiments were echoed by numerous other speakers at the event.
~ What's My Carbon Footprint -- use this calculator to identify areas in which you can reduce your carbon footprint to help ensure a stable climate for future generations.
~ Locate Your Watershed -- Once you've found your watershed get familiar with the groups working in your area and learn everything you can on how to improve the quality of your watershed.
~ Study The Infographic At This Link -- memorize some of the items so that you can cite them whenever possible and appropriate in order to educate others.
~ Identify Your Personal Household Carbon Footprint -- use this calculator to measure your household emissions and find out how to reduce them and save money in the process.
~ Recycle, Recycle and Recycle! -- I am very passionate about recycling and at the link you can use the Recyclometer to learn just how much a difference your recycling efforts have on our environment.
|Thank you for reading about what is happening in my state. I believe in all of you. I believe that each of us has the potential to become a "Hummingbird In Action" so that together we will no longer be completely powerless in the face of climate change.|