Warmest climes but nurse the cruellest fangs: the tiger of Bengal crouches in spiced groves of ceaseless verdure. — Herman Melville
Another week, another hurricane in paradise. This one is called Maria, and it just ripped through the densely populated area around San Juan, Puerto Rico’s largest city.
Last week, the ever-subtle CNN posted the header NURSING HOME NIGHTMARE for a story about how the post-Hurricane Irma heat was killing people at an old folks’ home in Hollywood, Florida. My God, how could such a terrible thing happen? The talking heads on cable TV and Gov. Rick Scott demanded to know.
I can think of better questions, like why would anyone be surprised by killer heat in a state that would be mostly swampland if not for drainage and mosquito control and, most importantly, air-conditioning. And why should anyone expect Florida to continue growing at its current rate as climate change brings increasingly severe weather and ever larger natural disasters.
Put another way, how long before people from colder climes understand that moving to South Florida and coastal regions of other Gulf states is arrogant and stupid, given what we now know about the importance of preserving wetlands and conserving energy.
As Vox recently noted, “South Florida is slowly, incrementally going to become uninhabitable.” But the lemmings still flock south, even though Miami came within a few miles of suffering the same fate as San Juan, i.e., an almost total wipe-out.
Many Americans seem to think geographic change will bring them happiness and prosperity, even in a rotten time like ours. Real estate hustlers and corrupt climate change deniers like Rick Scott will continue to do all they can to encourage this delusion until real estate values, and the real estate itself, are underwater.