American Survival Guide
FIRST HAND INSPECTION
In an effort to get out of New England’s cold and snow, and to get a good look at how climate change is affecting other areas, I traveled to Florida in March of this year.
What I found really opened my eyes.
Day one found me dealing with air temperatures that were in the mid-30s, not much warmer than what I had left in New Hampshire; not the norm for Florida.
Temperatures were not the only issue. According to some of the locals, this past winter had been extremely dry. Winter is normally their wet season, so this lack of rain would definitely show its effects during the summer.
To inspect the environment, I took to a kayak and made my way down the Homosassa River. Despite the lack of rain, the river was running normal, but the cold snap had changed the habits of the local wildlife, particularly the manatee. Manatees are very vulnerable to temperature changes. Normally they would be heading to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where they feed on sea grass but, because of the cold, they were staying in the relatively warm waters of the river. The rivers are fed by underground springs that keep the water temperature at about 70 degrees (F). Will the impact of rising ocean waters and changing air temperatures have enough of an effect on this environment to endanger this creature’s survival?