Chicago may enjoy a well-earned reputation as a blue-collar, "Da Bears," Old Style-swilling city of big shoulders, blustery winters and world-class corrupt politicians. But it is also a city that knows how to appreciate poet Joyce Kilmer's refrain: "I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree." For when it comes to addressing the threat of global warming, Chicago is a second city to no other. Meanwhile, Florida continues to deal with real-world global warming concerns by blithely sticking its head in the sand — while the beaches still exist.
As the New York Times recently reported, in 2006 then-Mayor Richard M. Daley embraced climatologist predictions the city was warming at such an alarming pace that by the end of this century Chicago could be facing as many as 72 days a year with temperatures in the 90s, along with increasing precipitation. So Chicago has embarked on a massive green initiative with increased tree plantings, environmentally sensitive building efforts and improved reclaimed water systems. And what of Florida, perhaps the most ecologically sensitive state in the union? For starters, there is Gov. Rick Scott, who doesn't believe — despite proof to the contrary from the scientific community — that global warming even exists. As sea levels have risen, Tallahassee continues to whistle past the environmental graveyard, abolishing the Florida Energy and Climate Commission and even attempting to repeal the Florida Climate Protection Act on the dubious and misinformed logic it is no longer needed. While Chicago acknowledges global warming and develops forward-thinking strategies, Florida's leaders ignore scientific reality even as the seas slowly and steadily erode the peninsula.
Scott should consider a trip to a city that is doing something right about confronting the challenges of global warming. While the governor is there he can take in a Cubs game, enjoy a beer and brat and stroll the Windy City's growing arbor, a tribute to Kilmer's reminder: "A tree whose hungry mouth is prest against the earth's sweet flowing breast."