President Obama spent much of Earth Day in Florida, a state that recently got national notoriety for barring use of the term "climate change" and all of its related nomenclature because, you know, it's bad for business.
He spoke to the media at Everglades National Park, an area that's been imperiled by bad land-use decisions such as draining of wetlands and the dumping of fertilizer-rich stormwater, among other things.
“You can see what makes this unique landscape so magical,” Obama said, according to the New York Times. “Climate change is threatening this treasure and the communities that depend on it, which includes almost all of South Florida. And if we don’t act, there may not be an Everglades as we know it."
The president even managed to get a few jabs in against Governor Rick Scott's administration for limiting the state's conversation on climate.
"Climate change can no longer be denied. It can't be edited out. It can't be omitted from the conversation,'' Obama said.
Although he was invited, shockingly, Governor Rick Scott was instead hanging out in Tallahassee talking about how terrible it would be if Florida insured the working poor.
South Florida, meanwhile, is an area faced with the threat of saltwater intrusion, which basically means rising seas seeping into the underground aquifers that store the area's freshwater supply. As sea levels rise, as science has actually confirmed they are doing, saltwater intrusion is likely to become a problem for the rest of the state, which is heavily dependent on fresh water from the aquifer.
"This is not a problem for another generation. Not anymore. This is a problem now,'' he said. "It has serious implications for the way we live right now. "
Among those he traveled with was Bill Nye (formerly known as "the science guy"), as well as U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Palm Beach County Democrat who's running for U.S. Senate. He's hoping to win the seat of current U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who is leaving his seat to run for president. Rubio is one of those "I'm-not-a-scientist" guys, something Murphy, a former Republican, sought to contrast.
“I am grateful that the President chose Florida to highlight this important issue,” said Rep. Murphy. “Florida is ground zero for the direct impact of climate change, and to put it simply, there is no Florida economy without the environment. Already, this administration has dedicated billions of dollars to restore our Everglades and waterways, but our work continues. Today is our chance to reaffirm our commitment to protect our environment here and across the globe, increasing our use of renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The President’s commitment to that end is unwavering, and we’re happy to welcome him on his first trip to the Everglades on Earth Day.”