bibleThe Evangelical Environment Network (EEN) is urging Florida Governor Rick Scott to acknowledge climate change and support policies that protect the state against rising sea levels.

Scott was once a vocal disbeliever in man-made climate change. In 2010, he stated publicly that he had “not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change” affecting Florida or the globe. Since that time his public commentary has diminished to telling reporters he’s “not a scientist” and unqualified to speak on the subject. (In July, ten scientists from universities throughout Florida offered to sit down and explain the science of global warming to the governor, but he has yet to take them up on the offer.)

But sea levels are rising in the Sunshine State. Harold Wanless, a geology professor at the University of Miami, says the sea level has risen 10 inches since the 1800s, which has led to increasing flooding throughout Miami Beach. Despite Scott’s lack of support, four counties in southern Florida have joined together to build new infrastructure that factors in the rising tides.

The EEN, which describes itself as “a ministry dedicated to the care of God’s creation,” wants the governor to join in that effort. It has gathered 60,000 signatures in support of climate change initiatives and its president, Reverend Mitch Hescox, has requested a one-on-one meeting with Scott. In his letter to the governor, Hescox writes:

“Our shared belief in Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, protect the vulnerable (‘the least of these’) and care for God’s creation. These commands are directly linked to a great moral threat to humanity, climate change. Climate change just isn’t in faraway places. Florida, your home, literally represents ‘ground zero.’ Sea level rise, more extreme weather, saltwater contaminated wells, loss of farm land and increased air pollution all pose significant threats to the health and well-being of Floridians.”

Scott’s office originally agreed to the meeting, but earlier this month Hescox was informed that the governor would be too busy to keep the appointment.

After the cancellation, Hescox reviewed Scott’s new environmental agenda on his personal blog:

“Governor Scott of Florida recently released his environmental agenda for the upcoming years. It shows progress by the Governor in at least talking about caring for God’s creation. But, to paraphrase Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, it is one small step for the Governor’s image, but hardly the giant leap needed to protect Floridians and God’s creation. It fails to address current creation-care needs and ignores climate change and its current impacts to Floridians and the increasingly more severe threats. It’s a lukewarm attempt at best.”

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