For too long, too much of the Florida economy has been an ecological Ponzi scheme that depends on bringing in 1,000 new residents a day, including the mortgage brokers and drywall installers and landscapers whose livelihoods depend on bringing 1,000 more new residents the next day. There’s no culture of long-term planning or investing, no ethic of limits or responsibility or risk management. Florida has always been about now, mine, more.
That’s all bad, too, and this week, Mother Nature registered an objection. But that doesn’t mean we’ll learn our lesson.
One thing i’ve learned in my years of whining about Florida’s unsustainable trajectory in the climate era is that most Floridians don’t care. Some certainly do, including some ordinary citizens who get radicalized when their sparkling estuary gets overrun by foul-smelling guacamole glop or they can’t breathe at the beach. But most don’t, especially if they’re new to Florida, especially if they’re newly retired to Florida. They’re here to enjoy the warm weather in a state with no income tax, not to build a better tomorrow for future generations.
I want to be clear: This is all bad, and Florida doesn’t have to be like this. I ended my Cape Coral story with a trip to Babcock Ranch, a new solar-powered, smart-growth, flood-protected community a half-hour inland that was conceived as Florida’s sustainable city of the future. I checked in with the developer, Syd Kitson, after Babcock took a direct hit from Ian, and he had good news: “The power and internet never went off, no flooding and minimal damage,” Kitson wrote. “It’s everything you and I talked about several years ago.”How Florida’s Land Swindlers Won Out | Climate Denial Crock of the Week