Earth is undergoing a horrifying transformation: as we emit more carbon dioxide into the air, our temperatures get warmer. Hotter temperatures and waters cause seas to rise, destroying inland and coastal communities. If we don’t act now, we may lose our homes and livelihoods forever.
1. Temperatures are Rising Globally
Humans have had monstrous effects on the planet. Our rampant use of fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas has led to Earth’s demise. Fossil fuels release greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere. With more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, heat is prevented from escaping naturally. These gases act as a blanket, trapping the sun’s rays in our atmosphere and in turn, increasing global temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that temperatures will rise by 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. Even with seemingly small changes to temperature, global warming will change life on Earth as we know it. For example, the energy needed to cool homes, buildings, and schools will increase dramatically. Florida families will need to spend more money on their utilities just to survive. And this use of energy, as long as it is powered by dirty fossil fuels, will only continue to warm our world.
2. Warming Waters Cause Sea Level Rise
Global temperature increases cause glaciers and ice sheets to melt, thermally expanding ocean water, and causing sea levels to rise. Sea level rise is the increase in the average elevation of the surface of the world’s oceans. With up to 6.6 feet projected to rise by 2100, we could see our vibrant coastal cities and communities lost in the waves, never to return. It is estimated that more than 120,000 properties in Florida are currently at risk of frequent tidal funding. Sea level rise doesn’t just haunt our coastal areas – it can cause deadly impacts inland as well.
3. Rising Sea Levels Damage Communities
In with the tide comes the terrifying threat of saltwater intrusion, damaging our precious freshwater resources. South Florida, already feeling the burden of high populations and sea level rise, will face continued catastrophy, including flooding, erosion, and storm surge. Sea level rise impacts will flood rivers, lakes, and streams – changing the face of communities forever. Roads will flood and sewage systems and underground utilities will be unearthed, their slimy seepage threatening human health. As seas rise, we will lose our homes, important cultural and archeological sites, and habitat for wildlife like sea turtles and salamanders.
4. Climate Change Intensifies Hurricanes
With continuously warming waters, hurricanes are expected to increase in number and intensity. Dark waves will doom our overdeveloped coasts, bringing heavy rainfall and frightening flash floods. Models project an increase in the frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. Warmer sea surface temperatures could intensify tropical storm wind speeds, potentially delivering more damage as they make landfall and loom over Florida. Rising sea levels exacerbate the threat of storm surge, likely making future coastal storms, including hurricanes, more damaging.
5. Hostile Environments Burden Florida Families
Wildlife aren’t the only ones on the move. Like wayward zombies, human populations will shift too. Florida’s coastal population is estimated at around 14 million people and is expected to grow by 8% by 2020. As seas rise, entire communities will be displaced, with haunted houses left behind in their watery graves. Rising temperatures and intensified weather will make agriculture unproductive in much of the world, and food shortages may follow. Dense cities with asphalt and few parks or water storage areas will become increasingly unliveable. As once-coastal residents hunt for new homes, low-income communities of color will pay the gruesome price of rising rent prices. This financial strain will further stress already-vulnerable families. A hotter Florida means those who work outdoors will be more at risk for heatstroke or other deadly health impacts. It means jobs like construction or farming will become increasingly dangerous. High temperatures also translate to fear-inducing financial costs for Florida families.
Climate change is scary. But you can act now. Use our Find Your Legislator tool to tell your representatives that you want #ClimateAction now!