But there is plenty to be concerned about with Key West and the Florida Keys lately, including:
- Big budget shortfalls at the state and local level that will likely mean significant cutbacks to services.
- Cruise ships could abandon Key West should Federal rules currently under review change as some have suggested. Cruise ships account for 12% of Key West's budget. Many local businesses are dependent on cruise ships for survival. If cruise ships abandon Key West, the city would be in dire financial straits. (Changing the cruise ship rules may actually be a good thing for Key West and the US, but that is a subject for a future post)
- The Monroe County Commission is a bad joke - with three commissioners apparrently so devoted to developers that they appalingly let them write recent development agreements. Shame on you Dixie Spehar, Mario Di Genarro, and Mayor Charles McCoy. Their combined fiscal mismanagement is nothing short of sheer lunacy. Voters are very aware of the fiasco and should vote the two who are up for re-election out of office. And also worrisome - Key West's mayor, Morgan McPhearson (McFearsome?) is "best friends" with Digenarro, who's behavior on the County Commission more often resembles a thug than an elected representive.
- Florida, for the most part, doesn't recognize evolution in its public schools. Egad. Do I really live in Florida? That's why I think Key West isn't in Florida - it really is different here. Applause to Monroe County for taking the lead - but it is embarassing that 80% of schools in Florida don't include evolution as part of the science curriculum.
- The real estate market is overbuilt, overpriced, and collapsing. Affordable housing is nearly non-existant, and employees are moving away in droves. The community, for the most part, is dwindling.
According to a new study released by the University of Buffalo, "...the sea level rise estimated during this century could be twice as high as what they (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) are currently projecting." The IPCC is currently estimating a 17-23 inch rise in sea levels over the next century. But if Greenland, whose massive ice fields are on land, melts significantly, sea levels could rise 20 feet (this is not currently projected for this century, but the data keeps moving and evolving).
Tuvalu, a tiny island in the South Pacific, spoke at the United Nations this week - appealing for help in the face of rising sea levels due to global warming.
According to the country's deputy prime minister, ""I only need to highlight the fact that our highest point above sea level is only four meters (a little over 13 feet) to emphasize our vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, especially sea level rise"
Today, Tuvalu is feeling the effects of rising sea levels. In a few decades, the islands could disappear.
One must consider if the Florida Keys are in real danger of disappearing under rising sea levels. In the long geologic history of the islands, it wouldn't be the first time.
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