Orlando is the place where nature meets human action.
This county seat of Orange County is home to over 100 lakes, most notably the Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. The city is maybe better known for its array of theme parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Seaworld.
This central Florida gateway is one of the perks of living in Florida. Sadly, Orlando's way of life is unsustainable, according to City of Orlando Sustainability Director Chris Castro. The rapidly growing population of now 307 thousand people are wreaking havoc on surrounding nature. Mosquito Lagoon has become home to almost extinct species.
Human activity is expediting the devastating effects of climate change. In 2021, extreme weather events accounted for more than $100 billion in damages across the United States. Florida has some 2.9 million homes facing direct exposure to extreme storm damage, according to CoreLogic's report.
"Global warming is the long-term heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere," per NASA.
If we continue wrecking the planet this way, we stand to love more than 8% of the economic output in the Southern parts of the United States and over 14% in total across the world. On top of everything, half of Florida's peninsula is already flooded underwater. (Flooded underwater as in not coming back to surface anytime soon as opposed to just flooded.)
Striking Down Orlando
Orlando officials have a plan to create a sustainable Florida oasis. The city is adding solar panels to firehouses to collect and distribute clean electricity. Another such instance is adding electric vehicles to the City of Orlando's carparks. More than 1,700 City-owned vehicles run on electricity or some combination of gas and cleaner sources. Some 70 garbage trucks run on natural gas, eliminating the black smoke older trucks used to emit.
“If we can reduce the emissions now, we can still make a difference,” says David Dunn, director of the city of Orlando’s Fleet Management Division.
Orlando city officials are fighting tooth and nail to combat climate change. Sadly, their counterparts in Tallahassee are covering their eyes and ears to climate reality. In fact, State officials are not just standing aside watching Florida flood, burn, and crumble. They're trying to expedite its demise.
The House recently passed House Bill 919, which prohibits cities like Orlando from enforcing parts of the Clean Air Acts. The bill prohibits cities from mandating and restricting companies from using certain types of energy—the overall effects of the bill challenge all efforts to create sustainable policies in Orlando.
Are you worried about Orlando's future?
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