Monday, September 24, 2018
Human Interest

Cut short by Gov. Rick Scott, climate scientist finishes his thought

David Hastings of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg recently traveled to Tallahassee to talk to Rick Scott about how to save Florida.

Hastings, a professor of marine science and chemistry for 20 years, was one of five academics who met with the governor last month, half of the group of 10 that sent him a letter in July. "I'm not a scientist," Scott kept saying. "We are scientists," the scientists wrote. They "respectfully" asked him to listen to them about the reality of climate change and the severity of the potential consequences of doing nothing about it. Scott granted them half an hour. He spent the first half of that half an hour making polite but off-topic chitchat. That left three minutes per scientist.

So I called Hastings with an offer. More time.

He started by saying he was grateful for the time he got with Scott. He acknowledged the governor is a "very powerful person."

He then said he's not at all opposed to concision. Here's his Climate Change For Dummies:

It's real.

Temperatures are going up.

Sea levels are going up.

And it's our fault.

And almost all scientists agree.

But we can fix it!

We just can't wait. We have to do it now.

In Tallahassee, Hastings said scientists can make the maps for fixes, so to speak, but Scott has to be the navigator. It's his task to look at the maps and pick the right route. Hastings suggested to Scott some easy fixes: more energy-efficient cars, more energy-efficient buildings, the elimination of coal-fired power plants, the …

An aide for Scott cut him off. "We have to move on," Hastings was told.

What would he have said had he been allowed more time? He would've talked more about those cars and those buildings, he told me. He would've talked about renewable energy, like wind and rain and sun, and he would've advocated for financial incentives for utility companies to help, not hinder. He would've asked Scott how he plans on addressing the new federal mandate that says Florida has to reduce carbon emissions by 38 percent by 2030, which seems like kind of a long way away but isn't. "I would've liked an answer to that," Hastings said.

Hastings said he's worried that he and the other four scientists more than anything were photo-op props. "My concern is that (Scott) will use this to give the impression that he's doing something when in fact all he did was meet briefly with us," he said. "If this is just a facade and we're playing into his campaign strategy, I don't want to be a part of that."

But the Eckerd professor is no Chicken Little. The sky is not falling. At least it doesn't have to. Florida is unusually vulnerable, yes, our hot, long, flat, porous peninsula, but it's also unusually capable. There's no good reason, for instance, the Sunshine State shouldn't be a solar energy hub, Hastings said. "We can do this. We really can." And it doesn't have to be good for just the planet. It can be good for the economy. It can create jobs, jobs, jobs. All Florida needs is a leader who leads.

Contact Michael Kruse at [email protected] or (727) 893-8751. Follow @michaelkruse.

Comments
Colombia-based body shapewear boutique, Sexy Skinz opens second location in South Tampa

Colombia-based body shapewear boutique, Sexy Skinz opens second location in South Tampa

After listening to the needs of men and women desiring and personally desiring to look slimmer without having to exercise, Colombia native, Elizabeth Muñoz spent years designing top-of-the-line body shapewear at her undergarment shop in Colombia...
Updated: 1 hour ago
I was hospitalized for my eating disorder. Here's what Netflix shows get right and wrong about it.

I was hospitalized for my eating disorder. Here's what Netflix shows get right and wrong about it.

It took me a year and a half to watch Netflix’s To the Bone. The movie, which debuted in January 2017, portrays Ellen, a 20-year-old woman battling anorexia nervosa, and her experience being in and out of various treatment programs. When it w...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/21/18
'Game of Thrones,' 'Mrs. Maisel' and a proposal highlight Emmy Awards

'Game of Thrones,' 'Mrs. Maisel' and a proposal highlight Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES — Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel became the first streaming series to win top Emmy comedy honors and HBO's Game of Thrones recaptured the best drama series award Monday at a ceremony that largely slighted its most ethnically di...
Published: 09/18/18
Lens on Pasco wildlife: Park supervisor shares encounters with his pictures

Lens on Pasco wildlife: Park supervisor shares encounters with his pictures

NEW PORT RICHEY — For Mark Berlinger, getting the best shot is a matter of serendipity. Being in the right place. Looking up at the right time. Hearing a rustle and following a notion to take the lens cap off your camera and shoot.Often, the right pl...
Published: 09/13/18
New Miss America glad she didn’t have to don swimsuit to win

New Miss America glad she didn’t have to don swimsuit to win

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The first woman to win the Miss America crown without having to don a swimsuit says she’s glad she didn’t have to. Nia Imani Franklin, who won the title Sunday night in Atlantic City while competing as Miss New York, said the ch...
Published: 09/10/18
Judy Garland’s stolen ruby slippers from ‘Wizard of Oz’ are found

Judy Garland’s stolen ruby slippers from ‘Wizard of Oz’ are found

MINNEAPOLIS — Federal authorities say they have recovered a pair of sequined ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz that were stolen from a museum in her northern Minnesota hometown 13 years ago. The slippers were taken from the Judy ...
Updated one month ago
Local Loudmouth Lip Attire founder makes a colorful statement, and you can, too

Local Loudmouth Lip Attire founder makes a colorful statement, and you can, too

TAMPAAmber Parker loves to stand out in a crowd.And with a vivacious personality and a funky personal style, the petite 32-year-old certainly makes a bold impression.So it’s only fitting that her makeup line, Loudmouth Lip Attire, features vibrant an...
Updated one month ago
‘What the hell did you do to my daughter?’ He was accused of a crime he swore he never committed; she believed her 4-year-old

‘What the hell did you do to my daughter?’ He was accused of a crime he swore he never committed; she believed her 4-year-old

ST. PETERSBURGOn the evening of the accusation, before the police came, Austin Holcomb walked to his neighbors’ house to get his son.The boy, who was almost 4, had been playing there all afternoon.The neighbors’ house was a wreck. That Saturday, they...
Updated one month ago
Zephyrhills High rallys to support ‘the greatest kid,’ who’s in a fight for his life

Zephyrhills High rallys to support ‘the greatest kid,’ who’s in a fight for his life

ZEPHYRHILLS There was a swelling of Bulldog Pride as students, many donning orange and black school colors and "I Run For Zack" T-shirts, flocked to the gymnasium for the afternoon pep rally at Zephyrhills High. • The marching band played rousing...
Updated one month ago