David Carlson: The rising tide

A conversation with my son lined up with what I recently read about home insurance. Home insurance is not a subject that I have given much thought to. I have home insurance, I trust my local insurance agent, and then I tend to forget about it.

Our son and his family live along the Atlantic Coast in a state of the Deep South. While visiting recently, we were driving to one of the many beaches when our son drew my attention to the luxury homes positioned on a tidal waterway. The homes were truly impressive until my son told me that insurance agencies were withdrawing coverage from residents of that particular community. The reason? Rising water as well as the greater frequency of hurricanes.

Where we were driving was less than three hours from Tallahassee, where Governor Ron DeSantis had pushed through a bill that will remove climate change language from Florida state records.

Perhaps DeSantis should be called the Governor of Denial. Not mentioning climate change does nothing to lower the temperature, lower the water level and lower the frequency of hurricanes. In fact, ignoring climate change will only make the situation worse. DeSantis can control the language of Florida’s regulations, but he can’t control insurance companies who are reducing coverage and increasing rates around the country. For insurance companies, climate change isn’t a political issue. Climate change is a fact.

These changes within insurance companies was also the theme of the recent article I read. Rates are also rising in areas of California, Hawaii, and elsewhere in the West, where fires have become year around threats because of higher temperatures. Areas prone to flooding are also insurance risks.

Those of us sitting in central Indiana might consider ourselves lucky and unaffected by this news. But insurance companies aren’t local; they are national if not multinational. There is no denying that insurance companies have recently had to pay out for the increased disasters that have been caused by climate change. To stay in business, insurance companies have raised rates not just in the affected areas but also across the country. The article predicted that everyone’s home insurance rates will be increasing.

Which brings my thoughts back to Ron DeSantis and those like him who want to outlaw even the mention of climate change. It’s like being on the Titanic and hearing the captain say that there’s nothing to worry about.

Unless we wake up and face this crisis of our own making, we will leave a far different world to our children and grandchildren. Parts of the United States are likely to be too hot for human habitation, while some of the most popular tourist destinations won’t exist because they’ll be underwater.

With elections coming up in November, it’s the perfect time to ask our leaders to, well, lead. Electing men and women afraid to raise the issue of climate change aren’t leaders. They are followers, and they are following those who have their heads in the sand.

Oh, by the way, that sand is getting hotter and hotter.

David Carlson of Franklin is a professor emeritus of philosophy and religion. Send comments to [email protected].