Er, make that “snooze room.” Although I’m not able to attend the Serve to Preserve climate summit, Gov. Charlie Crist’s PR people are keeping my inbox full of the most up-to-date press releases about all the important, meaningful stuff that’s happening at the Hotel Inter-Continental.
Gosh, it’s almost like being there, but without having to pay $30 for a box lunch!
For instance, here’s Crist’s keynote address — titled “Green Technology Drives Green Economies” from this morning’s opening ceremony, or at least a few of the good bits, translated for your convenience:
Just as last year’s summit launched Florida into a new era of action to address climate change, this year’s summit will define our next steps forward. We recognize the undeniable link between our state’s environment and our economy. And this year, we want to gain a better understanding of that link. We must consider all of the possibilities, including those within our reach, and those we can only envision at this point in time.
Translation: It’s been an entire year, and we haven’t done jack, but we’re fixing to get ready to do something soon. The link between the environment and our economy lies in oil reserves off our beaches. Nobody can envision what I’m going to do next because they don’t know what pharmaceuticals I have taken.
Yesterday, I had the honor of officially witnessing the first steps of what will be a historic strategy to save America’s Everglades. It was a moment as significant to our environment as the creation of our nation’s first national park, or the creation of Everglades National Park itself. The South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Sugar Corporation signed a Statement of Principles to begin dialog that — in my humble opinion — can lead to reviving the River of Grass. If all goes as anticipated, we will acquire nearly 300 square miles of the Everglades — and within this historic acquisition, we will once and for all be able to move, store and clean water to re-connect Lake Okeechobee to Everglades National Park. The famed River of Grass is one of the most unique landscapes in our country — and on earth — and it is within our grasp to ensure her protection for generations to come.
Translation: This probably won’t save the Everglades, but it will give Big Sugar a sweetheart deal for the next six years, and lookee — there’s your “green and gold” connection again. Of course, the deal will screw all the farmers and fishermen who live in small, poor communities around Lake Okeechobee, but that’s just the cost of saving our environment.
While tremendous challenges stand before us, we can rise to face them. Americans — and especially Floridians — are capable of extraordinary innovation when we marshal our resources and focus on a common goal.
Translation: As long as that goal isn’t free and fair elections in which every vote is counted, that is.
As I stated last week, only when we are able to do so far enough from Florida’s coast, safe enough for our people and clean enough for our beaches, should we consider increasing our oil supply by drilling off Florida’s shores. Let me repeat that’s far enough, safe enough and clean enough.
Translation: See, I didn’t flip-flop, I was misunderstood.
And there are other industries where Floridians have the potential to reach new heights. This Saturday, the State of Florida will break ground on our newest veterans’ nursing home in St. Johns County. Expected to open its doors in December 2009, it will be the first nursing home in Florida to be LEED-certified. It will be a “green” facility. Its design, construction and operation will meet national standards as a high-performance, sustainable building. Recycled materials will be used, and it is designed to use less water and less energy than conventionally built facilities. Congratulations, Admiral Collins, on your leadership — not only in answering the call to serve your nation and our veterans, but in answering the call of conservation and energy efficiency.
Translation: With two wars under way, veterans needing ongoing hospital treatment is a growth industry. We should build more energy-efficient veterans care centers in Florida.
This legislation protects our natural resources, stimulates our economy and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. We will increase our energy efficiency, support the development of renewable energy, and allow businesses flexibility in meeting our goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol will make up 10 percent of Florida’s total fuel supply by 2010. The Public Service Commission will develop a renewable portfolio standard to increase the use of wind, solar and other renewable energy. Based on the unanimous vote in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, our state is now a leader within the Southeast in advancing the development of a cap-and-trade program. New buildings will be up to 50 percent more efficient by 2019 — like the veteran’s nursing home that breaks ground on Saturday. A Florida Energy Systems Consortium among our state universities will leverage the expertise of Florida’s research community to grow Florida’s green tech industry.
Translation: The drugs are really starting to kick in now.