Officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are barred from using the words “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communication, according to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’ ” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”
Another former DEP employee, Kristina Trotta, said her supervisor told her not to use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in a 2014 staff meeting.
The unwritten policy went into effect when Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011. Scott has repeatedly stated he does not believe climate change is a result of human activity.
Despite the DEP’s solid objection that there is no such policy, many former employees say the order was widely known and invoked within the department.
Florida is the most susceptible to climate change with sea levels alone rising 30 percent in the next 85 years. In the conservative politics realm, many U.S. politicians have denied the issue and refuse to work on legislation that proactively addresses and fights climate change.
Florida is clearly no exception, and the DEP’s unofficial policy has taken climate change denial to a whole new level. Not only do conservative politicians refuse to address we have an environmental catastrophe on our hands, but their unwillingness to not even allow the terminology to be uttered limits employees’ ability to educate officials and the public and to work on projects related to the threat. Our environmental progress and collaborative thinking is stunted yet again by ignorant, stubborn politicians.