As Floridians prepare for hurricane season this summer, attention focuses on the largest bodies of water near Florida.
Just to the west of the Sunshine State, the Gulf of Mexico hugs the Panhandle and parts south. It has been an entry point for several recent hurricanes that made landfall, dating back to Hurricane Michael in 2018.
According to coastal resilience.org, as of today in the Gulf of Mexico, storms, sea level rise, and coastal erosion threaten millions of people, businesses and the overall resiliency of the natural systems and coastal infrastructure.
For students and universities, these matters can often get overlooked during the spring semester and pushed over into hurricane season when evacuations and alerts begin to take place.
Elijah Johnson, an associate professor of Florida A&M University’s School of the Environment, believes that students should be more in the know regarding agricultural practices in their vicinity.
“Twenty years from now when students are more in control, I think that being more supportive of agricultural practices we’re going to have better agricultural practices,” Johnson said. “The thing that students could do is to be more open to certain new ideas, be aware of some of these decisions we make as human beings because it’s going to matter.”
Political science major Michelle Cummings says students ought to be more aware of the environment no matter the issue.
“I feel like a lot of the time students of color we feel like environmental issues are beyond us or like it’s not our place and that’s because it’s unfamiliar to a lot of us,” Cummings said. “But the truth of the matter is that when you think about it in a long-term sense, these kinds of issues are going to be all our problems to deal with you know.”
Cummings’ statement can be challenged, but it can also be proven that the environmental issues on Florida’s west coast could one day become a problem for the entire state.
Environmental catastrophes that take place outside of the country could start making their way into the country if climate change continues to escalate drastically.
If you or someone you might know is interested in keeping up with the current state of the Gulf of Mexico or would like to stay updated on its climate change, visit www.nbcnews.com for more information.