Ian still haunts Southwest Florida, the future for sea turtles, and America's detention system
Hurricane Ian brought devastation to Southwest Florida, destroying the livelihoods of many and affecting the region’s ecosystem. Weeks after the storm made landfall, residents are still feeling its effects.
On this week's special edition of The Florida Roundup, we revisited some of the impactful coverage of Ian's aftermath by Fort Myers' WGCU.
Many of those displaced by Hurricane Ian have been living in shelters for nearly eight weeks. In North Fort Myers, as many as 300 people spent the Thanksgiving holiday in a shelter located in a mostly-empty shopping plaza.
WGCU's Mike Walcher spoke to some of the people there about their experience and expectations.
Michael McNeal, 73, said he refused to let the situation get him down. "Home is where the heart is. And my heart is in a good place," he said. "If you want to find God, come to one of these shelters. The way the care-takers take care of the people, and how the people take care of each other — it's something to behold, ya know."
The region's recovery has brought heartbreaking stories about just how difficult the rebuilding process has and will continue to be for many residents. Families are still removing debris from their properties and assessing the impact of the damage.
Many Floridians might have property insurance, however, that doesn’t help them in the event of flooding. Flood insurance is required — and Ian has shown many were not protected.
WGCU’s Sandra Viktorova spoke to one couple near Fort Myers who mistakenly thought their insurance policy would help them start over.
“I thought I was actually covered for everything. You know, I didn't [worry] about a thing. I thought, 'If it ruins everything, I guess maybe we'll get everything back.' But we don't,” said 75-year-old Roy Hansen, who lost most of his belongings in the storm.
Meanwhile, WGCU’s Mike Kiniry spoke with Robert N. Macomber, whose home on Pine Island was completely destroyed by Hurricane Ian. He is an award-winning author of maritime novels, who travels the world giving lectures.
He grew up on the waters of Southwest Florida and has lived his life on its barrier islands. Macomber spoke about his experience with the storm and what he has learned from it.
“It gives you kind of an understanding a little more, of the thousand-yard stare that refugees have,” Macomber said in regards to losing his home and becoming a refugee himself.
Listen to their full conversation here.
Is the future female for Florida's iconic sea turtles? That depends on rising temperatures
It’s no secret that temperatures are climbing around the world. Miami-Dade’s first official heat season ended in October. It was a response to the fact that, as global warming becomes more of an inescapable reality, the days are indeed getting hotter.
As intense heat becomes more common around the world, the potential threat to biodiversity increases. On this week's show, we also featured WUSF reporter Cathy Carter's piece on one species at particular risk that is found right here on Florida’s beaches.
Scientists say global warming is a fast developing risk to sea turtles. That's because the sex of sea turtles is determined by the temperature in which their eggs incubate.
"Warmer temperatures will produce more females and cooler temperatures will produce more males. The adage is hot chicks and cool dudes,” said Jake Lasala, with Mote Marine's Sea Turtle Conservation & Research Program.
It takes about 25 years for sea turtles to reach sexual maturity so it could be decades before we see the ramifications of hotter temperatures on sea turtle populations.
Listen to the full conversation here. For more information on about the effects of climate change on Florida's sea turtles, watch our documentary Troubled Waters: A Turtle's Tale. A clip from the documentary can be heard in this edition of TFR as well.
On The Florida Roundup, we also looked the latest podcast from WLRN, Detention by Design, which traces the origin story of the modern immigration detention system in the U.S. to South Florida. Listen to it here, and the rest of this week’s roundup above.