The appalling destruction of Hurricane Ian on Florida will not, alas, be an isolated event.  There will be more such hurricanes in the near future.  That is what global warming and climate change promise.  (Just this morning there was an article in the news about how a town of 16,000 people in the heart of the agricultural part of the state of California will have not water by the end of this year.*)

Hurricane Ian at peak intensity. Wikimedia Commons.

I alluded in a previous DM to a weekend conference on climate change I attended in northern Florida a few years ago, where indigenous leaders and scientists and myself, as a creation-centered spiritual theologian, presented.  (To read previous DM, click HERE.) On the opening night a scientist presented slides of what Florida looks like today and then what it will look like in 10 years; in 20 years; in 30 years.  The ten year date from today had the bottom fourth of Florida chopped away; the 20 year date had another 25% of what was left of Florida chopped out; and the third, had 25% more cut away.  What was left standing was about 25% of today’s Florida. 

It was stunning.  If was an eye-opener.  And it was scientifically factual.  The Insurance industry in Florida already knows this.  Today, only 18% of Floridians can afford flood insurance. 

Surface temperature changes in last 50 years. By NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio. Wikimedia Commons.

What about the politicians?  Should they not be as well informed as insurance companies?  I am speaking specifically of Governor Desantis and Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Scott.  They have been peddling denial about climate change for years (Scott as the previous governor).  Should they not be held responsible for their denials in upcoming elections?

Denial is a kind of lie.  Thomas Aquinas, a great mind and soul who introduced the term “common good” into Western jurisprudence, says this about denial: That to choose to be ignorant of an important truth is a “mortal sin”, i.e. a deadly virus that will kill community and kill the common good.

Aerial footage of flooding, wind damage, and fire in Florida , all caused by Hurricane Ian. Guardian News on YouTube.

Clearly the endangerment of the state of Florida is an endangerment deriving from politicians as well as from the ire of Ina and Mother Nature.  As waters warm, hurricanes will be more frequent and more fierce and more deadly.  And it is folly to talk about “we will rebuild” when the fact is that more hurricanes are on the way and no trillions of dollars will be found from the nation at large or the state of Florida to do all that rebuilding.  Especially when Insurance companies have already fled the scene. 

There are many lessons to be learned from Hurricane Ian and one has to do will electing truth-telling leaders.

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 224, xxiii-xxvii.

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner image: Miami (How sustainable is it to live here?) Image by tammon from Pixabay

Queries for Contemplation

What are your responses when hearing about the sad future of the state of Florida?  Can these realities finally awaken people, their governments and their favorite media in denial about climate change?

Recommended Reading

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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8 thoughts on “On Florida’s Endangerment”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, Today you speak to us about climate change and point to the recent hurricane in Florida. And being the prophet that you are you say: “As waters warm, hurricanes will be more frequent and more fierce and more deadly. And it is folly to talk about ‘we will rebuild’ when the fact is that more hurricanes are on the way and no trillions of dollars will be found from the nation at large or the state of Florida to do all that rebuilding. Especially when Insurance companies have already fled the scene.” It doesn’t look good… Though it may seem that Governor Desantis, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Scott (also former Governor) have been peddling denial about climate change for years, I think the bottom line is the money they are making while the people live in ignorance to what is really going on. Remember, “the love of money is the root of ALL EVIL.” And if Aquinas would have judged the people ignorant, he would be wrong, because they didn’t choose to believe that there was no such thing as climate change, they were deceived into believing that climate change was a lie created by the “liberals.”

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    Denial does not negate the truth of reality! Acceptance of what is, is the first step in creatively seeking and finding diverse solutions, in response to the truth of reality… which urges us forward into necessary changes that support transformation. Acceptance helps us to see the truth of what is unfolding, so that we can evolve, which leads to new possibilities and the potential of these emerging.

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    The sad fact is that DeSantis is Catholic and I suspect the same of Marco Rubio. Scott is another story. Have they not listened to the scientists and Pope Francis whom they think of as a dotering old man messing in politics? We, thePeople, need to take charge at the ballot box and in all other political forums!

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Joseph, I totally agree with what you say that needs to be done: “We, the People, need to take charge at the ballot box and in all other political forums!” Thank you!

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      Yes, it is sad that DeSantis and Rubio are Catholics and have a poor regard for the planet and the commonweal, but it would be equally disappointing if they were Presbyterians or Buddhists or members any spiritual path that purports to honor God’s creation. We all must pull together to achieve the common good.

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    I became more consciously aware of our climate/environmental catastrophe around the world a few months ago after a Webinar with Michael Dowd, and his website / Conversations where he interviews 87 scientists, environmentalists, deep social thinkers, and authors. One of them is Carolyn Baker and this is a quote from the back of her latest book, “Undaunted: Living Fiercely into Climate Meltdown in an Authoritarian World” (2022):
    “By 2050, or sooner, large parts of the Earth could be uninhabitable. We are indisputably living in the Sixth Great Extinction. Countless humans are reeling with climate anxiety and experiencing fear, anger, grief, despair, dread, and are attempting to cope with potential human extinction with massive denial. This book offers an alternative to being consumed with either denial or despair. At its core is the existential issue of climate catastrophe and how to live into it with compassionate, clear-eyed, vibrant, awakened intention… “Undaunted” assumes that both the reader and the author will face moments of despair going forward, but it offers skills and practices for living undaunted in the face of humanity’s most unprecented ordeals.”

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    We have known about climate change or it’s prospects since the 1980s or before. Seems, however, many of us have believed that technology would solve the problem or it wouldn’t be that bad or others need to change since I am doing my part having bought LED light bulbs and recycling. Making money and greed fuel our ongoing huge carbon footprint. If change is going to occur it will require all of us to become more politically active and to seriously reduce our consumption of resources which contribute to the degradation of our planet. We have a choice each day.

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    Since I live in Florida (for my sins, if I believed in reincarnation), I am well aware of the multitude of the abuses of power by those in the governor’s office and the legislature. As we know, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Pleas for them to address the insurance crisis in the state over the past few years and to address the lack of affordable housing have been ignored in favor of restricting multiple rights, including the right to vote, to teach the truth, or to speak the truth. A huge cohort of election police was created, and so far they have “arrested” a few black people, but those from the state’s wealthiest community who actually committed provable voter fraud are given a pass. All of the Republicans in the House voted against the recent bill to increase FEMA aid to Florida, as did Scott, but Rubio was absent as is quite common. The outrages go on and on, but the only recourse that I can see is a huge voter turn out to turn out those who deny climate change and have passed some of the most egregious bills I have ever seen. We shall see. We can all do something. Vote Forward still needs letter writers to address voters in Florida, for example.

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