You probably know people up north who, when you call or write to tell them you’re sweating out an impending hurricane, say something smug like, “Well, you chose to live there, didn’t you?” There’s an implicit schadenfreude in the statement, as if we Floridians made a Faustian deal to live in the sun and fun, hoping that we’d never have to pay the piper.
Meanwhile, our more sensible friends and relatives denied themselves and stayed put, enduring the northern winters but sleeping more easily in the summers, secure in the knowledge that they’d still have a roof over their heads come November.
It’s becoming harder and harder to maintain that righteous position these days. Thanks to (dare I say it?) climate change, there are some mighty odd weather events occurring to the north of us. Like record heat waves, unprecedented drought, and equally unprecedented flooding. If you look at the areas most affected by the recent cataclysms, they include the broad swath of territory that encompasses the drainage areas of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, anchored by Texas to the south.
Now, superimpose a political map over your disaster map, and you’ll see that these are all rosy red Republican-voting states. If we wanted to draw broad generalities (and we know this is unfair, but why should we care?), we might conclude that these states must be full of climate change-deniers, since one of the most solid and enduring planks of the Republican platform is that climate change is a fairy tale.
Which means that our northern friends have chosen to remain where they are because they refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence that the so-called “anomalies” they have been experiencing will eventually become commonplace.
Just like hurricanes. As a Floridian, don’t you feel better already?