In My Opinion

Fabiola Santiago: Those who deny climate changes will leave us waterlogged

 

fsantiago@MiamiHerald.com

Stranded on a sidewalk with $100 worth of groceries in my cart, I pondered Senator Marco Rubio’s state of denial on climate change as I watched rain waters perilously rising around my car.

When I went into the supermarket around 7 p.m. Thursday, the skies had cleared and the streets dried. When I came out a half-hour later, Miami Lakes was living up to its name.

Only an ideologically-obstinate climate-change denier doesn’t see that flooding woes only seem to worsen year after year, even during ordinary rainy days like Thursday was throughout the southeastern U.S. All you had to do was peek at social media to witness extreme flooding reports from Fairfax, VA, to the Florida Keys.

The region from whence Rubio hails is drowning, but the Florida Republican is busy running for president on faith and the triumphant American Dream speech the tea partiers love. Oratory skills he has, but Rubio must not have paid attention in environmental science class.

Someone aspiring to be the leader of the free world should be highly concerned – not dismissive – of an issue as local as it is global. But when a study by NASA and the University of California, Irvine shows that large chunks of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet have already begun to collapse, when record heat is causing a drought in California that has more than doubled the forest fires, and when a new Third National Climate Change Assessment concludes that climate change is already affecting Florida, what does Rubio think?

“I don’t agree with the notion that some are putting out there, including scientists, that somehow there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what’s happening on our climate,” Rubio said on ABC’s This Week. “I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy.”

I see. His presidential ambitions only extend to addressing the needs of big business.

Prevention and mitigation of catastrophes are not in his agenda – never mind the world’s top scientists. He doesn’t believe human activity is causing global warming and dramatic weather changes, despite evidence that massive amounts of atmospheric carbon generated by industrialization are doing so.

Rubio’s not the only one in denial.

When you step back and look at the scramble to develop the few remaining pieces of our waterfront, it all seems delusional given that, how many serious studies now have put Miami at the center of catastrophic climate change effects?

What do you suppose will happen when sea levels rise the estimated 10 feet?

Neither local nor national leaders can afford to shrug their shoulders instead of planning ahead.

Or our lives will turn into waterlogged Thursdays.

With no relief in sight from the rain, I had to choose between wet ground beef or a flooded new car.

I waded in above-knee water – only the second I let go of the grocery cart to open the car door, the cart began to float away like a canoe.

I dove for it, reaching it just before it struck another car.

I was soaked to the bone, my clothes mucked up, but I made it home, where I found water meter covers floating like dead fish and red mulch turned into algae in what I’m sure Rubio would praise as waterfront property.

Pardon me if I’m a little paranoid, but is that a toad in my picadillo?

Read more Fabiola Santiago stories from the Miami Herald

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