By Charles Dodson
It has been a brutal, scorching, scary summer for people around the planet, which includes us Floridians.
I am a proud lifelong Floridian. I was raised in the small town of Sneads, about an hour west of Tallahassee. I was a trial lawyer for 31 years before becoming a circuit judge for 12 years. I retired from my judgeship in 2021. My entire legal career I made decisions based on evidence. As a judge I made decisions based on the evidence presented to me. I’m 70 years old now.
There are many issues facing our state. Blessed to be a father of three sons and a grandfather of six grandchildren, it is clear to me the two most important issues facing us are the future of our planet and the future of our wonderful country. I put the planet first, because without our planet we have no country.
Our planet is scorching. Every year we break more records for extreme heat. We have too many days where the actual temperature is or more than 100° and the heat index is closer to 110°. That is happening around our planet. And the overwhelming evidence says that is because of our heavy use of fossil fuels.
I was blessed to have been raised in an era where we had all the wonderful benefits of what appeared to be an unlimited supply of fossil fuels. But the scientists have been telling us for years that this heavy use of fossil fuels is causing the planet to warm at an alarming rate. Science tells us that if we don’t rapidly eliminate the use of fossil fuels it will be disastrous for future generations.
This is going to be difficult and will require sacrifices. But we have no choice. Think about our children and our grandchildren. We owe it to them to lead the way on this issue, as difficult as it is. We don’t want them looking back in a few years and asking us why we did not do something about this.
If you have not studied this issue, please do it now. Make an informed decision. The overwhelming evidence is that unless we drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels, the earth is going to continue to warm and with that will come those horrible consequences we are already seeing like violent strong hurricanes, huge fires, rising sea level, drought, starvation, and so many other horrible things.
It used to be we could rely on our leaders to be presented the evidence on critical issues and protect us accordingly. I am not confident we still have that leadership. We have some leaders willing to do so, but too many take the easy way out, keep their heads in the sand, and tell us everything is going to be all right. What a dangerous untruth. It may get them elected or reelected because it is such a simple message, but that message is going to come home to roost, with disastrous consequences. And it will simply be too late for our children and our grandchildren and their children and grandchildren.
We have an election coming up. No matter what your party, whether Republican, Democrat or independent, ask candidates what their position is on the rapid warming of our planet. Climate change. What their plan is to reduce drastically our use of fossil fuels. Don’t let them avoid or evade answering that question. We deserve honest answers on this incredibly important issue. Our children, born and unborn, have to be protected by us adults.
Our state and our country have to lead the way. That is what our country has done since its infancy. Americans lead. We owe it to our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren. Don’t let our elected officials run from this.
Charles Dodson is a retired Leon Circuit Judge. He wrote this for the Tallahassee Democrat, which is part of the Invading Sea collaborative of Florida editorial boards focused on the threats posed by the warming climate.
Feature photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.