Opinion: How Do We Stop It?

Austin Belet, Opinions Editor

Whether you are in the warm tropical climate of Cocoa Beach or the swampy underbelly of Gainesville, one thing Floridians love the most is our climate. Sure, we complain about the humidity sometimes and we all know that the sun is entirely unforgiving, but ultimately, not having to shovel snow when winter comes around makes it all worth it.

This isn’t even a politically divided issue in this state; republicans and democrats alike have campaigned on protecting our environment from harmful pesticides, reducing carbon emissions and protecting our wildlife. We even passed an amendment that banned offshore drilling in state waters with over 68% support.

This year, the nation has seen a litany of stories about record floods, tragic tornadoes, massive earthquakes and record high temperatures. Politicians such as Governor (and Presidential Candidate) Jay Inslee, and Representative Alexandria Ocassio-Cortez have been spearheading the conversation on climate change, and how to combat it, despite a generally concentrated effort from across the aisle to fight reform on corporate processes.

The debate has shifted in recent years; it is no longer whether climate change is happening, but rather who is responsible for it and if there is anything we can do to stop it. 

Many people blame corporate manufacturing practices as the reason we have seen such a spike in greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA tells a story of the harms from transportation and electrical production (which contribute to a combined 56.4% of greenhouse gas emissions) with industry falling in third. 

What are some of the things we as a society can do to mitigate this? I mean the fact of the matter is that Florida is going to be among the first to go when the sea levels rise (and unfortunately we will not be able to sell our houses when it does). Florida has a vested interest in making sure that our Earth is taken care of, or else we are going to be a natural air-fryer. 

Where transportation is concerned, we should be finding a way to reduce private transportation costs. This can include creating sustainable public transit that is attractive enough for people to use, encouraging the production of fuel efficient or alternatively powered vehicles or even making our cities/town more pedestrian friendly. While it costs a lot to transport goods, we have the ability to reduce these costs when we allow industries to change and help the to do so seamlessly. 

Where it comes to energy production, Florida has missed its mark on perhaps the biggest resource we have to offer: sunshine. Renewable energy is an industry we should have invested into when it was first rearing its head. The initial manufacturing of the materials to get this industry up can prove to be costly, but we also will not be destroying (literally) the face of our planet to sustain it. When you drive through the state of Indianna you see countless windmills set up spinning constantly, well in the sunshine state we have constant sunshine. 

There are basic steps, costly as they may be,  that we as a society could be making to help protect our planet. Reduce our single use plastic consumption, reduce our use of gasoline burning vehicles, turn off the lights when you leave the room. Private citizens can do a lot, business can do more. It is incumbent on everyone to begin to recognize the issue at hand, get over the partisan question of what caused this issue, and just try to do something to stop it. 

It’s no longer about how it happened, it’s about how we stop it.


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