The Florida Keys Are The Canary In A Coal Mine Or Something

The Florida Keys Are The Canary In A Coal Mine Or Something

One can always depend on the UK Guardian to provide the crazy Leftist point of view. Here we have them providing a platform to climate scientist poet and writer Joanna Guthrie

The Florida Keys are the canaries in the climate-change coalmine

The Florida Keys are still closed until further notice. On the far side of the blockade that inhabitants of the lower Keys negotiate to return to their homes, the US One highway, a tarmac spine over the limestone vertebrae of the islands, makes its way 127 miles down to Key West, battered and torn. Key West, final south-easterly outpost of mainland North America and the self-styled “last resort”, is, still, four days after Hurricane Irma hit, almost completely out of contact with the outside world.

Images have been surfacing all week. In Marathon, the sea draining away from an entire bay like dishwater off a dirty plate, leaving the ocean floor exposed to the daylight, while a woman films it from her balcony and screams: “My God! My God! The sea is gone!” In Key Largo, a stretch limousine banked crosswise across the highway. Big fridges stranded on plinths of trashed seagrass and mangrove leaves, their doors open, still full of food. Cars blown the short distance from road to shoreline, sideways in the shallows in a rusty puddle of their own fluids. Boats that have cracked the road with the force with which they’ve landed; in Islamorada, someone’s house being thrown along a lagoon and landing crooked in a new spot. (snip)

As the search-and-rescue operation moves further into the devastated Keys, I’m watching from England to see how this first-world humanitarian disaster unfolds. It’s an extraordinary corner of America: sub-tropical, subaqueous, and not especially suited for habitation. I’m wondering if its 70,000 inhabitants may be the canaries in the coalmine for the realities of climate change as it hits the developed world.

Canaries! Hey, I wonder if they are also canaries for the almost 12 years when no major hurricane hit the United States, the longest stretch on record?

Hurricane season lasts from May to November, during which time everyone is on evacuation alert. Inhabitants are below or only just above sea level. It’s scorching nearly all the time. Humidity is high. Reliance on air-conditioning is total. Machines roam the streets misting inhabited areas with mosquito repellent. The sewage infrastructure is questionable.

Wait, wait, so there is something called “hurricane season”, denoting that hurricanes happen during that time period? Weird.

Living there is a kind of conjuring trick, a process of mind over matter. It demands a hefty measure of denial in your margarita – eyes half-shut as another perfect sunset commences and the steel band strikes up beside the cruise liner.

Denial is also there in the recent news that the US Department of Agriculture is censoring the term “climate change”. Call the weather what you want, the past few days have shown that the Americans in these outposts may find themselves living in a whole new kind of frontier: involuntary pioneers in the face of these new “weather extremes” and their unprecedented storms.

And they may not. Because weather happens. Or, as the past 12 years show, doesn’t happen. In the meantime, members of the Cult of Climastrology will continue to find ways to work everything that happens into their cult talking points.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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