Florida is pretty much screwed. The Gulf coast is going to be covered in oil. All those hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf since April 20 are going to start sifting onto the sandy beaches before long. It is only a matter of time. I was on that coast in March and it was lovely. We have planned to return, to visit family again, this fall. Maybe so. Maybe not.
I once took a charter boat out to fish off the reefs in the keys. It was a good time. We caught barracuda, among other fish. I can’t imagine that industry will not be hit. All those condominiums and hotels won’t be full. All those flights to Sarasota will have spare seats. Those beaches will have plenty of space to spread a blanket.
The New York Times reports today that tourism is already taking a hit, with reservations at a serious low for sport fishing and other pursuits. The article quotes a fisherman who see the Florida keys “emptying out like an abandoned mining town.” Oil towns have booms and busts, such as is happening in North Dakota right now. Florida may have its own bust cycle due to oil–not because the state decided to allow drilling but despite it. The state could be slammed and not rebound for decades.
Granted, Louisiana and other Gulf coast states are getting hit harder by this disaster, but Louisiana chose to drill for oil. Florida chose not to. The whole situation is insane. If we have to seek oil a mile below the surface of the ocean, doesn’t that say something about our addiction? I am as complicit as the next United States citizen, so I am part of the problem, yes. I am lucky not to live where this will affect me so directly. It will, I am sure, effect all of us in ways we cannot anticipate, however.
Eventually, unless we face up to our addiction, we might all be screwed.