South Florida is facing the flooding of 9 billion dollars of real estate in less than 15 years. The latest NOAA Report states South Florida's streets will flood every year by 2070. One out of every eight homes in Florida will be underwater by 2100, a loss of $413 billion dollars. Hurricanes and flooding get media attention in the moment, but shortly afterward, it's business as usual. The largest obstacle is the one our politicians haven't wanted to face, and our scientists have struggled with for decades: creating a sense of urgency. This failure to act has played itself out in the latest hurricane disasters just off South Florida's Coast this year.
More than 2.7 million people in the Miami area live less than 4 feet above the high-tide line. Flooding is destroying water-front property, but the problem is far bigger than that. Many of its 90,000 septic tanks are already malfunctioning, tainting our beaches and our fresh water supply. With every storm, with every heavy rainfall, with every King Tide, South Florida is already experiencing flooding. Both science and common sense tell us that with the rise of water, will also come the rise of disease. Even the most conservative estimates show that millions of Floridians will soon be forced to move and will become climate change refugees.
Florida can become the green energy leader for the United States. The demand for technological advances required to meet the climate crisis will create an industry to meet it. Florida can be the next Silicon Valley of that industry.
Forces of Nature is not looking to destroy our economy–we are looking to save it. The escalating costs of sea-level rise and other climate impacts now pose a serious threat to our economic stability and future habitability of South Florida. If we don’t make the necessary changes now, there will be a slowdown of the local economy caused by the climate reality. Changes now to energy, forestation, diet, population education, and mass transit and power infrastructure, will, in the long run, save our economy, not destroy it.
We treat our planet's beautiful resources as if there are endless--but nothing ever is.
--Alexa G, age 12 climate photojournalist